Johanna Sauve, PCP

Town of Canmore – Canmore, AB

Johanna Sauvé is a payroll professional who followed her love of sports across the country.

Born and raised in smalltown Quebec, Johanna was a serious figure skater — her first foray away from home was to attend a Toronto high school for gifted athletes. Later, after attending McGill University, she went to Whistler B.C. to work “for a summer.”

“I fell in love with Whistler,” she says of her seven years in the coastal mountain town. “I learned to ski, rock climb and mountain bike. I just couldn’t leave.” That is, until her next love — her husband — took her to Canmore, Alberta, where he established a sports equipment business. Johanna’s payroll career also started in Canmore, with a job as the payroll administrator for Canadian Mountain Holidays, a heli-skiing company.

Twenty-one years later, Johanna is the Human Resources Manager for the Town of Canmore. Data analysis fascinates her; she is currently crunching Canmore payroll numbers as part of a cross-Canada reporting project on living wages. The project leverages payroll insights to analyze the minimum amount people need to earn to live in different communities, based on the cost of certain staples — e.g. food, clothing and housing costs — in those communities.

“From an internal point of view, this is important to Canmore’s town council to make decisions on many areas, including compensation,” Johanna says, adding that cost of living in Canmore is very high, so employees have to be appropriately compensated. She helps the corporate strategic team and council realize the implications of all decisions, including those affecting direct and indirect benefits and the taxable implications of services offered to employees. “We help stretch where we need to stretch and shrink where we need to shrink, always keeping in mind how all these decisions regarding payroll impact the community.”

And Johanna recognizes her impact on the town’s business: “We’re not answering to a company where it’s about profit, we answer to the taxpayer so we have to demonstrate the value for their dollars. I draw a clear line between what happens in payroll and what value that brings to the business.”

Johanna loves the challenges of her job; she applies a growth mindset in all things, including new sports. She is currently learning the water sport of wingboarding, urged on by her two very athletic sons. “I’ve told them they have to do hard things,” Johanna says, adding with a laugh, “And now they use it against me.”

National Payroll Institute

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