Gold – Health in Common

Congratulations to the 2014 winner of the Commuter Friendly Workplace Award: Health in Common. This uniquely Manitoban award, presented annually by Green Action Centre, recognizes workplaces that support their employees to choose green commuting options year-round through a mix of policies, programs, infrastructure and benefits.

Janice Gair (left), Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services at IISD, recipient of the 2013 award, presents the 2014 award to Cathy Steven (centre), Executive Director at Health in Common, accompanied by Tracy Hucul (right), Executive Director at Green Action Centre.

There are many reasons why Health in Common was chosen as the 2014 award recipient. They offer inspiration as a role model for other small workplaces. Staff can pick up bus tickets at the front desk as needed when heading to an off-site meeting during the work day. An annual $300 per employee Sustainability and Healthy Living Fund can be applied to the cost of bus passes, a bicycle, running shoes, or other related items that support an active and green commute to work.

As a framework to these policies, Health in Common has developed a healthy workplace document, with sustainability goals included in the indicators. These are discussed and updated annually with all staff.

To support staff in being able to choose an active commute, indoor bicycle parking is provided in a secure room and showers plus change rooms are available to all employees. With two former bike mechanics on staff, Health in Common built an office bike that is available for staff to cycle to off-site meetings that are close by (but too far to walk) when someone has not brought their own bike to work that day. The bike is outfitted for winter use as well.

Health in Common’s decision to move their office into the Exchange District was a big boost to their employee’s ability and motivation to walk, bike and bus. From this central location, staff are within walking distance of many amenities plus within a short walk of bus stops serviced by numerous routes. In addition, a bike lane runs by right outside their door, with City bike racks conveniently located on the sidewalk for visitors to the office, and a bike shop nearby.

Employees are actively engaged as volunteers in the active transportation community and stay on top of current best practices in sustainable transportation options. This runs the gamut from subscribing to the Manitoba AT Network listserv and participating in Green Action Centre’s Commuting Ambassador training sessions to assisting with planning for Ciclovia and last year’s International Winter Cycling Congress.

Staff are also active participants in annual events such as the Commuter Challenge, Jack Frost Challenge and Bike to Work Day.

Congratulations and well done!

A big thank you to our 2014 Judges Panel for their generous assistance:

  • Jonathan Borland, Transit Information Supervisor, Winnipeg Transit
  • Mark Cohoe, Executive Director, Bike Winnipeg
  • Sean Madden, Community Climate Change Coordinator, City of Winnipeg
  • Juliane Schaible, Senior Economic Development Consultant, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship