Canadian Employers not Doing Much to Ease Commuting Costs

August 14, 2008 ( - Canadian employers are implementing only limited measures to provide employees with relief from commuting costs, according to a new survey conducted by Hewitt Associates.

A Hewitt press release said that for the 236 Canadian organizations that responded to the online survey, almost half offer flexible work locations or telecommuting, while 64% provide flexible work hours, including condensed work weeks and flexible start times. However, employer feedback suggests that the main reason for providing this flexibility is employee wellness, not the high cost of gas.

“Only a handful of employers provide company-sponsored transportation to and from mass transit or parking subsidies for alternative fuel vehicles or carpool vehicles,” stated Jeff Vathje, a senior compensation consultant with Hewitt, in the press release.

Commuter cost-cutting initiatives cited by respondents include:

  • 11% of organizations provide a subsidy for mass transit;
  • 20% provide non-financial support for car poolers, like a bulletin board to facilitate car pool arrangements; and
  • 36% provide bike racks, change rooms, or other non-financial support for bicycle commuters.

Canadian employers are doing a better job of addressing the impact of rising gas prices on business travel. Almost two-thirds indicate they have increased their mileage reimbursement rate in the last year for employees who use their own vehicles for business-related travel, and 53% plan to review those rates over the next six months.