BC Hydro

Chris O'Riley, President & CEO

Accessibility Leadership

Chris built his career at BC Hydro, starting as an engineer-in-training fresh out of university in 1990. During his more than 30-year career, Chris has held positions throughout the organization and across the province, including roles working with customers, leading operations, overseeing capital projects, and working at BC Hydro’s trading subsidiary. He has been a member of BC Hydro’s Executive Team since 2007, and was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 2015.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Chris’ family relocated to B.C. in 1974. Why? His dad was inspired by the growth in B.C. and in particular, a Time Magazine article featuring W.A.C. Bennett, the driving force behind the development of our hydroelectric assets in the province. With great appreciation for the sense of history and legacy of our province’s crown jewel, Chris feels honoured to be leading the company today.

Chris is a Professional Engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Chris lives in Vancouver with his wife and three children, where he is active in his local community.

Our Organization

Who We Are

BC Hydro is the largest provincial Crown corporation in BC and generates and provides clean, reliable and affordable electricity safely to 95% of the population, or 4 million people.

Why We Are Involved

As a Crown corporation owned by the people of British Columbia, we want our workforce to reflect the diversity of our province. We do so many things incredibly well here at BC Hydro, but recognize there is always room for improvement. Ultimately, we want to learn from others in the hopes of making our workplace an even stronger, better place to come to work to every day.

Distinction and Awards

  • 2021: Top Employer in BC, Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • 2020: Canada’s Best Diversity Employers
  • Top Employer in BC, Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • Top Diversity Employer, Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • Best 50 Corporate Citizen’s List, Corporate Knight’s

Accessibility Initiatives

  • Dedicated a role in Human Resources to support the strategy and implementation of Inclusion and Diversity programs.
  • Initiated a diversity working group to work on organization-wide diversity related issues and concerns.
  • Initiating an accessibility project team to action our plan in support of the Accessible B.C. legislation for job seekers, employees and customers.
  • Applying tools like GBA+ to support design of programs and services.
  • Creating an employee network called AccessAbility to provide a community for employees living with or managing a disability.
  • Measures our progress through a diversity census: at the time of hire all employees are asked to self-identify with any of the protected groups in the Human Rights Code. The results enable us to assess the effectiveness of our programs.
  • Maintains strong relationships with local Universities and Technical Schools to support co-op, youth hires, and engineer in training programs.
  • Provides Inclusive Leadership, Respectful Workplace and Mental Health Awareness training to all managers, and make it available to all employees.
  • Maintains robust accommodation practices including alteration of physical premises, job duties, work schedules, and a provision for adaptive technologies/equipment.
  • Engages in an early intervention approach when employees sustain an injury or disability, to ensure employees receive support for mental and physical disabilities, including: disability benefits, recovery and return to work coaching and support and accommodation as required.
  • Created a highly successful drug and alcohol treatment program which includes funding 75% of the cost of a residential treatment program and ensuring employees can safely return to work.

Accessibility Highlights

  • Established a cross-functional working group to provide input into updating diversity and inclusion policies and programs.
  • Currently developing a corporate strategy for mental health.
  • Ensures succession planning includes both diversity and engagement profiles of leaders.
  • Expanding recruitment diversity outreach including disability employment partnerships.