Employers who assist with transit costs to receive special designation

Vancouver transit pass initiative said to offer a boost for recruitment, retention, and climate action

Employers who assist with transit costs to receive special designation

Employers in greater Vancouver have a new benefits offering that may also include gains for reputation and ESG.

Public transportation network TransLink has launched a program that certifies and recognizes employers who subsidize transit passes of their employees.

The Transit-Friendly Employer certification will recognize companies that shoulder at least 50% of their employees' transit costs.

Companies with more than 200 staff members need to sign up at least 10% of their employees, according to TransLink, while smaller employers would need a minimum of 25%.

The new certification comes as surveys show that commuting has emerged as one of the biggest cost concerns among employees who are returning to offices.

"Need a retention and recruitment perk? With affordability being one of the largest concerns in the region, Transit-Friendly Employers are providing a valuable benefit," TransLink said on its website.

An employee perk with a climate action extra

In addition to providing a valuable subsidy, TransLink said the Transit-Friendly designation will assist employers' sustainability goals by encouraging public transit over private vehicles.

In Metro Vancouver, transportation contributes approximately 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in the region, with the biggest contributors being cars and light trucks.

Kevin Quinn, TransLink CEO, said the program will help employers reduce their "carbon footprint" and contribute to their actions in protecting the environment.

"Organizations around Metro Vancouver are saying they want climate action. This program enables businesses to join us as leaders in taking tangible steps to help reduce the carbon footprint of our region," TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn said in a statement.

The program, touted as the first of its kind across Canada, will provide participating companies with an official stamp that recognizes their commitment in supporting transit.

A handful of organizations are already on board: Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, the Vancouver Airport Authority, Intel Canada, and the Provincial Health Services Authority.

"For many of our employees, taking these kinds of proactive steps reach beyond financial subsidies and speak to their personal values. We hope to encourage other organizations to take collective action and help reduce our environmental impact," said Dr. David Byres, CEO and president of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

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