Environmental Law Centre picks regulatory path forward for B.C. commute reduction program

(October 02, 2020) There’s a straightforward, quick way for the BC Government to authorize a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program – bringing shorter, greener, cheaper, more active commutes to tens of thousands of BC commuters – according to a report just completed by University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre Clinic.

Commute Trip Reduction Transportation for a Greener Future” also examines provincial and federal privacy laws, and the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms – generally concluding that there are no problems in those areas.

The ELC report was sponsored by BeTheChangeEarthAlliance and closercommutes.org

“The clinic’s researchers investigated BC legislation covering transportation, labour, health, environment and other areas, and they identified an existing law – the Climate Change Accountability Act – as the ideal mechanism,” stated Bruce Batchelor, chief organizer for closercommutes.org. “Cabinet can declare a regulation under CCAA that would add reporting on carbon emissions from employee commuting to the current CO2e reporting requirement of public sector organizations (PSOs) such as school boards, colleges, universities, health authorities and crown corporations.”

The regulation would require PSOs to make ‘best efforts’ to reduce the carbon burden associated with employee commuting, rather than offsetting these emissions as the PSOs do for other emission sources.

“After this program is up and running well for PSOs,” said Batchelor, “another regulation could extend the reporting and best efforts to medium- and large-employer organizations in all other sectors.

“We project the cost to Government to implement and operate a best-in-the-world CTR program at about $3 million annually,” said Batchelor. “Our analysts expect employers’ actions will cut BC’s transportation emissions by around 10%. Co-benefits include a half-billion-dollar boost to the economy from less traffic congestion and increased productivity. There will be less pollution (lowering health care costs), while commuters will enjoy more time and money with less stress.”

The ELC report can be downloaded at: http://www.trelawnyconsulting/CTR/ELC-Commute-Trip-Reduction-Transportation-for-a-Greener-Future.pdf

The research by ELC was sponsored by BeTheChangeEarthAlliance (www.bethechangeearthalliance.org)

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