Top Employers 2023
Best Benefits, Pension, and Institutional Investment Service Providers in Canada |
Service Provider Awards 2023

Transformative titans lighting the path forward

BPM’s first annual Service Provider Awards recognize 2023’s top organizations nationwide for their outstanding commitment to providing innovative solutions and responsive service to solve their customers’ most pressing needs. 

The inaugural 24 award winners have demonstrated a deep understanding of their clients’ business environments, enabling benefits, pension, and financial industry professionals to work more efficiently and achieve long-term success. 

Across BPM’s award categories, this year’s honourees are driving change and progress in their fields by:

  • group and specialty health providers: disrupting the retail pharmacy experience by harnessing technology to create the largest online pharmacy nationally, providing employers with the peace of mind that their team is getting the medication they need

  • HR and benefits software: leveraging sophisticated risk-analysis tools and deep knowledge of the employee benefits landscape to empower HR leaders to build benefits plans that employees appreciate 

  • group benefits and pension specialists: introducing exclusive technology that empowers employees to access their benefits, savings, and HR information in real time through an app, allowing HR leaders to update and disseminate information paperlessly

  • benefits brokers, advisors, and consultants: embracing technology and innovative solutions to revamp dated benefits programs, streamline employer administration, and enhance employee communication

Service Provider Awards 2023


Gahnic Services and Consulting – emergency relief pioneers

The benefits management consulting firm is leading the way by harnessing innovation rather than imitation to address market disruptions. 

The Montreal-based company has won the Service Provider Award in two categories: 

  • group benefit and pension specialist

  • HR and benefit consultants


It has earned a positive reputation for offering:

  • benefits management 

  • innovative HR and consulting services 

  • process and technology optimization 

  • retirement calculations


The company specializes in emergency relief and consulting throughout North America, acting as a trusted partner when clients suddenly lack resources. It helps clients navigate these challenging times with a unique and holistic approach that prioritizes collaboration, highlighted by:

  • a thorough understanding of group insurance, pension plans, and other employee benefits in the ecosystem 

  • a customer-focused operational and strategic service that supports on-demand and remote service 

  • a focus on the operational optimization of clients’ benefits policies

  • a culture of responsiveness and agility


“We aim to help our customers meet unexpected challenges and find solutions quickly when they need them the most,” says Danielle Varela, CEO and managing partner. “In today’s dynamic market, clients generally react to any disruption – COVID-19, inflation, or recession – by aggressively imitating, first in response to new service offerings, then to each other, in a self-reinforcing process that creates a new competitive dynamic that threatens their bottom line.”

The company’s creative and collaborative recruitment solutions help HR leaders overcome labour shortages while also promoting operational excellence and saving time and money. Its business philosophy is grounded in the understanding that flexibility has become an essential lever in the modern workplace. 

Gahnic focuses on strategy rather than technology to stay at the forefront of the industry. 

“Not only must we act more boldly, but we must also react boldly to digital newcomers,” says Varela. “This means adopting a dynamic and proactive strategy. Rather than defending existing lines of business, we must develop new customer segments.” 

As a start-up, the consulting company holds all the cards regarding going on the offensive. It emphasizes the use of technology to reinvent and disruption to redefine the value chain. By adapting quickly to the dynamic benefits and pension industry, Gahnic assists its clients in maintaining an advantage and ensuring the continuity of their group benefits policies and pension operations.  

“We believe that every mandate is an ongoing journey toward the unknown, where we constantly ask ourselves how we can do better,” Varela says. 


Danielle Varela
“Embracing change is at the heart of our philosophy; in an age where technology and strategy evolve daily, we remain unwavering in our commitment to helping clients by staying a step ahead”
Danielle VarelaGahnic Services and Consulting


Gowan Consulting

The Ontario-based award winner is one company whose total number of monthly referrals has grown by 25 percent year over year, with a projected revenue increase of 40 percent by the end of 2023. 

As a leading provider of workplace health, productivity, and inclusion solutions, it is at the forefront of providing employers with occupational therapy services to maximize their employees’ health and productivity, including physical, cognitive, mental, vision, and hearing. 

Gowan Consulting, a WBE Canada-certified organization, maintains its competitive edge through: 

  • in-depth knowledge of the workplace, job demands, and employee function

  • creative solutions for the most challenging disability management cases 

  • engagement of all stakeholders to ensure employees with a disability or health condition can maintain a sustainable stay at work or return to work 


Through objective assessments, recommendations, and strategies for accommodations to stay at work or return to work, Gowan influences change at every level by empowering businesses with individualized support for employees and coaching for leaders. 

With two decades of success behind them, the organization constantly strives to understand its clients and their unique needs. Its success is evidenced by its reputation and word-of-mouth referrals, which remain key drivers of growth and prosperity. 

Service Provider Awards 2023



This outstanding service provider stands as a pillar of excellence within the virtual healthcare benefits space. The tech-driven pharmacy has developed an easy-to-use app and website that help plan members conveniently fill prescriptions and schedule automatic refills with free delivery anywhere in Canada. 

With a passion for redefining the pharmacy experience, the company is at the cutting edge of technological innovation, with key differentiators that include:

  • a national presence, with physical locations in five provinces so far 

  • bilingual customer support 

  • a member-first focus 

  • unyielding dedication to privacy

It prides itself on achieving a 4.9 Google rating with an over 90 percent plan member retention rate. Its sizable in-house tech team counts among its successes building a fully integrated member-first digital pharmacy, covering everything from pharmacy fulfillment to member experience, complemented by a suite of enterprise product offerings. 

The number of employers associated with Pocketpills has nearly doubled in the last year. 


Service provider award winners delivering high quality 

BPM’s premier list of service providers includes award winners who have built trust with their clients by delivering exceptional work and service. 

Testimonials show they are setting new standards for excellence by:

  • understanding their clients' business priorities

  • offering exceptional support and responsiveness 

  • consolidating payroll operations 

  • possessing a depth of knowledge of industry-related laws 

  • providing unique and customized financial wellness initiatives

They share the hallmarks of award-winning service providers, highlighted by industry experts as offering a unique value proposition, staying abreast of industry trends and dynamics, and being true partners in and critical contributors to their clients’ success.

These top-tier service providers have also experienced significant growth and expansion within the past 12 months, with several recording new client uptake and revenue growth of 30 percent or higher. 


Best Benefits, Pension, and Institutional Investment Service Providers in Canada |
Service Provider Awards 2023

  • Acera Insurance
  • Actuarial Analytics
  • Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association
  • Aria Benefits
  • benefitsConnect
  • Blake, Cassels & Graydon
  • Blue Cross
  • Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso
  • Ceridian
  • CIBC Mellon
  • Gowan Consulting
  • Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie
  • iA Financial
  • Matheis Financial Group
  • OneLife Benefits & Consulting
  • Open Access
  • People Corporation
  • Pillway
  • Pocketpills
  • RWAM Insurance
  • TFG Global Insurance Solutions
  • Vita Assure
  • Wawanesa Life


In August 2023, BPM opened the window to nominations for its first-ever Service Provider Awards, inviting service providers across Canada to put forward their companies for consideration. 

The awards spotlight the providers that are delivering the most effective and transformative solutions across areas such as technology, consulting, financial planning, and other services. 

The editorial and research teams reviewed the vendors’ submissions, and nominees were evaluated mainly on the strength and process of their service delivery, with the most important factor being how these providers made benefits and pensions professionals’ lives more efficient through their products and services. 

In the process of selecting the best providers for 2023, the BPM team also conducted one-on-one interviews with benefits and pensions professionals and surveyed hundreds more within BPM’s network to gain a keen understanding of what these professionals think about current market offerings.  

A total of 24 organizations stood out based on these criteria, becoming the 2023 winners of the BPM Service Provider Awards.