Employers reap rewards of “Smart Commuting”

Smart Commute Awards logoToronto, Canada (November 19, 2010) – At the annual Smart Commute Awards last evening, it was clear that the Smart Commute program, established in 2004, is transforming the culture of commuting across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

“Smart Commute is a concept that has clearly captured the interest of some of the most innovative organizations in the GTHA,” says Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO, Metrolinx. “They understand that we can no longer afford to ignore the huge toll that commuter gridlock is taking on our health, our economy and the environment.”

The fourth annual Smart Commute Employer of the Year awards were handed out last night at St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto. Ten workplaces, from Caledon to Hamilton to  Ajax, were recognized for their outstanding efforts in helping employees create alternatives to driving to work by walking, cycling, taking transit, carpooling and telework.  One exceptional leader – the City of Mississauga – was chosen as the Regional Employer of the Year.

“The City of Mississauga is a leading partner and a strong supporter of Smart Commute Mississauga’s initiatives,” says Janice Baker, City Manager and CAO.  “Working together, we have established an Employee Smart Commute program that encourages employees to consider and use alternative transportation options. The Carpool Zone ride-matching website, an alternative work arrangement policy, employee bike share program, discounts on transit fares and reimbursements for cycling during the day for business are some of the services available to City employees that support sustainable commuting choices.”

Other winning employers include the Town of Caledon, State Farm Insurance, aircraft landing gear manufacturer Messier-Dowty, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Philips Electronics Ltd., Enbridge Gas Distribution, vaccine producer Sanofi Pasteur, WorleyParsons Minerals & Metals-Toronto, and the Liberty Village Business Improvement Area.

Winners were selected by an independent panel of community members from various sectors across the GTHA.  Nominations were evaluated based on the employer’s commitment to the program, leadership in their communities, innovation and results.

The Awards were introduced in 2007 to officially recognize employer members or partners who have put forth exceptional effort in implementing their Smart Commute programs.  These awards recognize outstanding commitment, leadership, innovation and results.

Smart Commutes from across the GTHA nominated their top employers and 10 local Employers of the Year for 2010 were selected:

  • Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon                   Town of Caledon
  • Smart Commute Central York                                State Farm Insurance
  • Smart Commute Durham                                          Messier-Dowty
  • Smart Commute Hamilton                                       St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
  • Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill      Philips Electronics Ltd.
  • Smart Commute Mississauga                                  City of Mississauga
  • Smart Commute Northeast Toronto                    Enbridge Gas Distribution
  • Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan        Sanofi Pasteur
  • Smart Commute Pearson Airport Area              WorleyParsons Minerals & Metals – Toronto
  • Smart Commute Toronto-Central                         Liberty Village B.I.A.

The Regional Employer of the Year was selected from these winners to recognize the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s top Smart Commute employer.  The 2010 winner is the City of Mississauga, a member of Smart Commute Mississauga.

In addition, a Smart Commute Champion award was given to an individual or group that made an outstanding contribution to the Smart Commute program.  The 2010 recipient of this award is Open Streets Hamilton, a collaborative team of community-focused groups, NGOs, city departments and entertainers that came together to plan a series of events aimed at creating an urban park on a street closed to car traffic and open to cyclists and pedestrians.

For more details on the winning programs, visit http://www.smartcommute.ca/en/success-stories/awards.

Smart Commute Awards Review Panel

The Smart Commute Award winners were selected by an independent review panel comprised of community members from various sectors across the region.  This year’s panel was led by Metrolinx Vice-President, Policy & Planning, Leslie Woo and consisted of representatives from the following:

  • Durham Sustain Ability
  • Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation
  • York Region Transit
  • McMaster University
  • Hatch (the 2009 Smart Commute Regional Employer of the Year)

Smart Commute is a program of Metrolinx and the municipalities in the GTHA.  To date, more than 150 employers with 350,000 employees have signed on to the Smart Commute program.  Services such as the Carpool Zone online ride-matching service are also available to the public at http://www.smartcommute.ca.

Metrolinx is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

 


About Smart Commute
Commuter benefits program for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

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