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Driven by purpose over profit

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CPCS is a thriving, purposeful employee-owned business that finds better infrastructure solutions in the areas of transport and energy.

Purpose is seamlessly woven into our work. It’s what gets us out of bed and motivates us to do awesome work. Profits follow but are secondary.

As employee owners, we get to define our North Star without external interference. We’re not beholden to chasing quarterly financial results. On the contrary, we believe it’s a myopic pursuit and doesn’t sustain our pursuit of impact.

Back in 2018, we decided that we wouldn’t become one of those companies that choose blind pursuit of growth and profit at the expense of our purpose and principles. Sure, growth and profitability are important for our sustainability as a company, notably to provide pathways for team member progression.

But we’re very comfortable building the company on purpose before all else. This is what makes us a trusted provider of management consulting services and acclaimed top employer. Getting here has required a series of intentional decisions.

Purposeful jobs and company

While we may not be finding cures or saving lives, CPCS is in the business of making thorough diagnoses, educating, and providing clear evidence-based solutions for decision makers to help them envision the benefits of what healthier and superior infrastructure can achieve.

For CPCS, contributing to the greater good means supporting local, national, and international initiatives to decarbonize transportation, make public transit more reliable, or improve the distribution of clean energy, among others.

That’s the company we’re building, and that we believe in. One that improves how the public and private sectors work together to plan, develop, invest, prioritize, adapt, and build better infrastructure for everyone’s benefit.

Purpose over profit in action

For example, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we kept our team intact. As a true team, we shared the pain. There were no layoffs and senior positions took the biggest pay cuts.

Our clients don’t always share our values. For example, in some jurisdictions in which we work, women are less respected than men. This hasn’t stopped us from promoting women to senior positions, or having them lead projects in those jurisdictions, because we believe respecting our values is more important than the negative impact it could have on business. We also believe that CPCS can be a change maker.

Similarly, we believe integrity is paramount to achieving sustainable impact. CPCS management and staff have faced very concrete choices where “doing the right thing” had significant and unambiguous impact on existing and future opportunities. We believe this isn’t a calculation – there’s only one right choice. And we take it. Because purpose should always trump profit.

What motivates us

As advisors to infrastructure leaders, one of our core beliefs is striving for impact. We call them our DEEPER-IF beliefs.

For CPCS, when purpose meets impact, it can range from decision makers announcing multimillion – or even multi-billion-dollar investments following one of our studies, to seeing passenger rail services in operations after having designed the rail master plan.

Putting purpose over profit has downsides too. It means that sometimes we don’t pursue projects, even lucrative ones, if they aren’t going to make a net positive difference.

There’s no point in doing work that goes nowhere or achieves nothing. So, we get excited about projects that are more than likely to have a positive impact.

Impact is clearly articulated in our hiring practices. CPCS looks for team members that are motivated by the idea of improving lives through better infrastructure solutions, and who share our beliefs. We believe this passion and purpose make us better consultants. And our clients have noticed this too.

No purpose without integrity

The policies, programs, and action plans that we develop and implement for clients can have long-lasting impacts economically, environmentally, and socially.

Overhauling our integrity practices with the help of an external firm was eye opening. It was a perfect opportunity to deal with outdated policies, legacy matters, clunky processes, and turn what’s typically a boring compliance thing into something concrete.

Today, our Integrity Program includes an integrity code and related integrity standards, plus a:

  • Dedicated Corporate Integrity Officer.

  • Board of Directors comprised of external members to ensure sound governance and oversee compliance, including a dedicated audit, risk and integrity committee.

Corporate stewardship

Striving for impact comes with a high level of environmental and social responsibility (ESR). Our ESR policy says that “well-planned, funded and managed infrastructure is critical to improve economic growth, improve peoples’ lives and protect the environment.”

CPCS has an impact in two ways:

  • Through advice to clients, including better enabling economic growth and competitiveness, improving community mobility and access to electricity, creating better opportunities for disadvantaged groups, and promoting better, more efficient use of resources. This also includes CPCS’s climate change advisory services for the transportation and energy sectors.

  • Through everyday operations. CPCS tracks its operating impacts, such as how much carbon emissions it emits from things like air travel. CPCS has remained carbon neutral since 2020 and will continue to honour this commitment year-over-year.

CPCS also implemented a corporate volunteer program in 2023 to make a difference in the communities where we work. The volunteer program has consisted of two events so far, including cleaning up a local park and putting together hygiene kits for refugees.

Inclusive and transparent workplace

CPCS has a diverse client base and team and works in a wide variety of contexts. One of our key objectives is to attract, retain and nurture the most talented individuals. We regularly seek to be as transparent as possible, including by publicly sharing our total compensation package.

The three priorities outlined in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy are:

  • Actively promote DEI

  • Remove barriers

  • Be committed to progress

Thanks to our inclusive talent strategy, which is transforming all facets of our company culture, CPCS is now attracting and hiring more women compared to 2018. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee keeps our firm on track by planning educational internal events, measuring what matters, and looking for ways to continually improve DEI at CPCS.

Our transparent, inclusive and fun culture is one of the reasons CPCS was selected as one of Canada’s National Capital Region’s Top Employers and one of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Enterprises in 2023 and 2024.

Dedicated to constant improvement

“Excellence” is a component of CPCS’s DEEPER-IF beliefs, and this means we reflect on our shortcomings and continuously focus on improving, progressing, and developing. CPCS is continuously reviewing its operations, policies, processes and more to identify areas to enhance.

“We’re dedicated to continuously improving to deliver even better infrastructure solutions while staying true to our mission,” says Marc-André.

For more information: communications@cpcs.ca

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