Environment Canada is a workplace doing things right when it comes to active and green commuting. They have combined a central location with infrastructure requirements that see 100% of their employees biking to work in the spring, summer and fall. Those employees not keen to cycle the Winnipeg winter then switch to transit, which drops them right outside of the building.
Located in the VIA Rail train station at Broadway Avenue and Main Street, this picturesque workplace is conveniently located with bike routes along the rivers and is walking distance to amenities at the Forks. The building is shared by several organizations, making it easy to cost-share infrastructure for cyclists, including indoor bike parking and showers. Car parking is available for those who choose to drive, but it is not subsidized and costs $9 per day ($180 a month for those working full time, 5 days a week over 4 weeks).
Zach Branscombe, a cycling enthusiast and Environment Canada employee, notes that there is a strong culture encouraging active commuting in their workplace, where Managers also ditch their cars to bike to work each day. Zach is pictured in their bike parking room, which is accessible only with an access card. He notes that there are lockers in the shower area to easily store a change of clothes. During peak biking season, Zach said there will be an average of 50 bikes parked each day.
While Environment Canada is certainly a leader in sustainable commuting, there are still a few areas that they could consider to further encourage their employees. For example, a reduced rate for bus passes would be highly valued. Winnipeg Transit offers the EcoPass program to encourage workplaces and employees to ditch their cars and hop on the bus.
Environment Canada is certainly a role model for other workplaces. All employees join together to take part in the Commuter Challenge each year, and they are previous winners of the Commuter Challenge in their population category. Congratulations to the staff and management of Environment Canada for leading the pack!
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