Altis Recruitment is one of Canada’s largest, and most celebrated, independent staffing firms. Founded in 1989, we stand at the forefront of our industry, providing recruitment services, thought leadership, and consultative HR support across a broad range of sectors and disciplines nationwide. Canadian owned and operated, we are a certified diverse supplier and Women’s Business Enterprise®, dedicated to giving back to our country by creating job opportunities for Canada’s diverse and talented workforce.
Our 180 team members provide recruitment and staffing support to 2,900 clients across Canada in a range of sectors from IT, construction, engineering, finance, accounting and healthcare. That’s over 8,500 high-performing, qualified candidates annually in both the private and public sectors. And, as one of the largest staffing suppliers to the Government of Canada, those are numbers that we’re really proud of.
We not only started off small—we started off in other directions, including… cereal.
Ours is the story of two energetic young entrepreneurs in the staffing industry hoping to make a difference. They began by dreaming up a few business plans: they would start a funeral home, create small trinkets for cereal boxes, change the real estate model. But all these ideas required considerable capital, which was far out of reach for a 21–year–old in university and a recent grad.
So, in 1989, they finally turned to what they knew best: permanent and temporary recruitment and placement. From a messy apartment in Ottawa’s Byward Market, with a $7,500 youth venture loan from RBC spurring them on, our co-founders Kathryn Tremblay and Toni Guimaraes set out to make a difference for candidates and employers with a fresh, positive take on staffing.
Practical and tenacious, they walked resumés door–to–door to save money and interviewed candidates from their homes. Hungry for success, their energy and hard work gradually started paying off.
Adding incredible staffing talent to their small team of two—many of whom continue to power the business today—they set out to grow their company with guiding principles that stand the test of time.
As our company grew, we overcame a number of key challenges, including raising capital, developing a proprietary database to hold—and quickly find—growing numbers of talented candidates, and making a name for ourselves among the big staffing brands.
At each growth milestone below, we applied everything we learned to capture new markets, refine our internal capabilities and processes, take on more job requirements,and place more candidates—all while maintaining a consistent and reliable price and service model.
We became the largest supplier of temporary staffing to the federal government, expanded from Ottawa to Toronto, increased our placement of senior executives on contract, launched Altis Technology Recruitment (IT Staffing division) to adapt to a growing and changing technology landscape and became ISO 9000 Certified. We also nurtured our staff with extensive learning and development opportunities, growing from two to 29 employees.
We added offices in Mississauga, North York and Vancouver, won several contracts valued at over $5 million each, were first designated one of Canada’s Best Managed companies by Deloitte (an award we’ve since received for 15 consecutive years—we’re now a platinum honouree!)and launched Altis Professional Recruitment (Professional Services division) to focus on senior and specialized contract placements.
Our co-founder, Antonio (Toni) Guimaraes was diagnosed with Stage 4 advanced prostate cancer in 2014 and sadly, passed away in September 2016. However, the company’s guiding principles and devoted leadership provided the foundation from which to keep growing. We grew to $140 million in revenue and more than 8,500 candidate placements annually, while increasing our focus on IT and Professional Services. The pandemic tested everyone—clients, candidates and consultants alike—but we adapted quickly and continued on our growth track.
The pandemic brought our team closer together while working apart. It also made us more resilient, kicked our ingenuity up a notch, and reaffirmed our commitment to our guiding principles.
And while COVID-19 initially caused sudden job losses for hundreds of workers we had placed, we quickly switched to a streamlined, virtual outreach, assessment and onboarding model that helped us get them, and thousands of other talented Canadians,back to work—and our business back on track.
This new virtual setup has proven so flexible and effective, it will be central to our business going forward, enabling us to remain resilient regardless of future market volatility.
We’re all about people, but we like numbers too—especially when they reflect what our clients and candidates say about us. Our 2021 Net Promoter Score (a snapshot of how likely our clients and candidates are to recommend us) indicated a resounding YES, more than double the rating given to staffing firms in the US and Canada overall.
This explains why we have so many repeat customers, with some clients remaining loyal for decades and many temporary and contract workers staying engaged with us for one assignment after another, year after year.
And when it comes to our employees, the engines that power our business, we’re always looking for ways to care for their health and wellbeing, so they can stay engaged and productive, and help drive us further every day.
As we continue to grow, meeting and setting new goals and building a growing roster of clients across key industries, we’re gaining momentum and looking ahead to serve Canada’s emerging markets.
We have our sights set on being the largest independent staffing company in Canada and will keep climbing that ladder, always looking at the top.