Government of Canada helps Calgary workers go green



    CALGARY, May 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada will partner with
the City of Calgary, Calgary Economic Development and the Calgary Regional
Partnership to support a new telework initiative, "WORKshift - Think Outside
the Office," the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport),
announced today.
    WORKshift will receive a contribution of up to $800,000 under Transport
Canada's ecoMOBILITY program. The initiative will develop a plan that supports
telework programs throughout the Greater Calgary area by raising public
awareness of the benefits of teleworking, and providing businesses with
specific guidance and support in planning, designing and implementing telework
programs.
    "Our government supports innovative ways to deliver results for the
environment while stimulating the economy," said Minister Merrifield.
"Telework initiatives like this will benefit employees, businesses and all
Calgarians by cutting commute times, increasing productivity and reducing
greenhouse gas emissions."
    "WORKshift will change the way Calgarians work, where they work and how
they work," said Ms. Diane Colley-Urquhart, Deputy Mayor of Calgary. "By
reducing traffic and infrastructure pressures, pollution levels and our
overall environmental footprint, Calgarians and their employers will be able
to improve their productivity and consequently their bottom line, while making
more time to enjoy our city's one-of-a-kind lifestyle."
    "WORKshift will give Calgary businesses the necessary tools, support,
research and best practices to successfully design telework solutions for
their organizations," said Mr. Bruce Graham, president and chief executive
officer of Calgary Economic Development. "Through the WORKshift initiative, we
will continue to foster Calgary's reputation of innovation, global
competitiveness and sustainability."
    The ecoMOBILITY program works with provinces, municipalities and regional
transportation authorities to help develop initiatives that encourage
commuters to choose public transit or other alternatives to personal vehicles.
Through the program, the federal government is taking action to find ways to
meet transportation needs, reduce costs to Canadians and protect the
environment.
    A backgrounder with more information about ecoMOBILITY and WORKshift is
attached.

    Backgrounder
    ------------
    ------------

    TRANSPORT CANADA'S ecoMOBILITY PROGRAM
    --------------------------------------
    AND WORKshift
    -------------

    ecoMOBILITY

    The Government of Canada's $10-million ecoMOBILITY program seeks to cut
urban passenger transportation emissions by helping Canadians choose public
transit or other sustainable transportation options like walking, cycling and
carpooling. By working with municipalities and regional transportation
authorities across Canada, this initiative helps develop programs, services
and products that improve transportation choices and quality of life for
Canadians in their communities.
    While respecting provincial and territorial jurisdictions and planning
priorities, the government is committed to finding ways to work together more
effectively to improve transportation and mobility for Canadians in urban
areas.
    Funding is available to municipalities and regional transportation
authorities as part of the contribution program. Examples of the measures that
the ecoMOBILITY program encourages include:

    
    - policies such as land use guidelines that complement increased use of
      sustainable transportation options (e.g. development approval policies
      that mandate access to transit services);
    - programs to raise awareness and motivate changes in personal travel
      choices (e.g. workplace-based commuter options programs that engage
      staff and market new incentives to reduce single occupancy vehicle
      trips to and from work);
    - services that offer individuals a tangible benefit related to the use
      of particular travel modes (e.g. guaranteed ride home programs for
      carpool members or reduced parking rates for carpool vehicles); and
    - products that make sustainable transportation more convenient (e.g.
      enhanced transit information services or online ride matching systems
      for workplaces).

    The ecoMOBILITY program complements ongoing efforts to address air
emissions and congestion from all transportation sectors. It is an important
element of the Government of Canada's ecoTRANSPORT Strategy, which aims to
improve the health of Canadians and the environment by reducing the
environmental impacts of transportation; secure Canada's future prosperity and
competitiveness by making critical transportation infrastructure sustainable
both economically and environmentally; and promote an efficient transportation
system that supports choice and the high quality of life that Canadians
expect.
    For more information about the Government of Canada's environmental agenda
and the ecoMOBILITY program, visit www.tc.gc.ca/ecomobility.

    WORKshift

    The Calgary Regional Telework Initiative, known as "WORKshift," will
develop an integrated telework action plan that supports workforce mobility
throughout the Greater Calgary area. WORKshift will develop a three-year plan
to encourage businesses and commuters to adopt telework programs by raising
public awareness of the benefits of teleworking, and providing businesses with
guidance and support in planning, designing and implementing telework
programs.

    The plan is made up of six key components:

    1. Awareness and Community Engagement - This component will address
       awareness and understanding of telework, targeting both employers and
       employees in the Greater Calgary area.
    2. Competency Development - This aspect will design and deliver a series
       of telework skills programs for Calgary-based employees and managers.
    3. Program Planning and Implementation - This component will provide
       local organizations with guidance and support in planning, designing
       and implementing telework programs.
    4. Impact Assessment and Reporting - This element will establish
       measurement standards and tools for data capture, analysis and
       reporting.
    5. Telework Distributed Work Centres - This component will partner with
       local real estate and technology providers to develop an integrated
       network of third workplaces.
    6. Public Policy - This part of the plan supports measures to encourage
       the public sector and employers in the region to adopt teleworking.

    There are many benefits to teleworking. For individuals, teleworking can
enhance the quality of life by improving work-life balance and reducing travel
costs associated with commuting. Businesses that offer employees the option to
telework may increase their ability to recruit and retain employees, as well
as reduce costs through a decreased need for commercial real estate and lower
employee rates of absenteeism. Less strain on public infrastructure and less
traffic congestion are advantageous to the community. Reduced greenhouse gas
emissions from cars benefit the environment.
    WORKshift will provide information that can easily be used in other
communities across Canada. Calgary plans to share information about the plan
and its results with other cities interested in implementing their own
regional telework initiatives.

                                                                 May 2009
    




For further information:

For further information: Chris Hilton, Office of Minister of State
(Transport), Rob Merrifield, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Media Relations,
Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055


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