Latest U.S. Initiatives Show Washington Far Ahead of Ottawa
in Cutting Carbon Emissions from Commuting Government Employees
TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Tomorrow's Throne Speech is a great opportunity
for the federal government to begin "catching up" to the Americans when it
comes to environmentally-friendly commuting programs for government workers.
SuiteWorks(R) Inc., a leading provider of flexible workplace solutions,
is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to emulate some of the
distributed work (or telework) successes put in place by the Bush
"As Canadians, we may find it difficult to laud George W. Bush on
environment issues but when it comes to reducing commuting and reducing
harmful emissions from employees of his government, the Bush Administration is
far ahead of many Western countries, especially Canada," said George Horhota,
co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of SuiteWorks.
The facts speak for themselves:
- In the U.S., 19 per cent of telework-eligible federal employees -
140,694 people or 7.7 per cent of the total workforce - now work from
home or satellite offices at least one or two days per week;
- An Act of Congress withholds departmental funding to agencies that
don't have telework programs or meet participation thresholds. This
forces bureaucrats to track numbers, something which is not done in
- The House of Representatives recently passed, as part of an energy
bill, a new measure that further encourages its federal agencies to
get as many employees to telecommute as possible;
- One of the largest federal agencies, the General Services
Administration (GSA) announced last month that by 2010 it wants
50 per cent of eligible workers telecommuting, up from 10 per cent
- The GSA - the equivalent to Public Works and Government Services
Canada - operates 14 distributed work centres outside of Washington
where federal workers from all agencies can go and work and reduce
carbon emissions and traffic gridlock around the capital.
"The Canadian federal government has dropped the ball with telework for
itself as an employer, despite a great start in the early 1990s. And
externally, as part of its country-management mandate, it is doing virtually
nothing," said Bob Fortier, President of the Canadian Telework Association.
"It's a shame."
There are 250,000 Canadians who work in the public service's federal
departments and 180 agencies.
U.S. federal agencies instituted many formal distributed work programs
after the 2001 terrorist attacks as a means to keep the government running in
the event of another national disaster.
The U.S. federal government soon discovered other benefits, such as
higher worker productivity, reduction of energy in both vehicles and
under-used buildings, environmental wins and taxpayer savings, GSA
Administrator Lurita Doan said in a speech last month in Washington.
It is estimated Washington's distributed work programs in 2005 saved
115,000 gallons of fuel and 2.3 million pounds of emissions from getting into
"It is time for Ottawa to acknowledge the benefits and roll out similar
distributed work programs for its employees and to show leadership to others
across the country," Mr. Horhota added.
"We're not urging Ottawa to do this so we can get its business in our
satellite offices. We're speaking out because it is the right thing for Ottawa
to do and it should have been started long ago along with the Americans," he
About SuiteWorks Inc.
SuiteWorks Inc. is Canada's pioneer in distributed work solutions and
consulting services. Since 2003, SuiteWorks has been helping companies
maximize their financial and operational objectives while increasing employee
productivity, satisfaction, and retention. SuiteWorks operates professional
satellite offices, providing office space, meeting rooms, and a full portfolio
of business and support services on an as needed basis. www.suiteworks.ca
For further information:
For further information: George Horhota, Chief Financial Officer,
1-866-967-5711, firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob Brehl, abc2 communications, (416)