PowerStream Recognized as Smart Commute Regional Employer of the Year; Caroline Karvonen Champion of the Year

Toronto, Canada (November 20, 2015) – Last night marked the 9th Annual Smart Commute Awards recognizing workplaces for outstanding efforts in helping employees explore alternatives to driving to work alone by walking, cycling, taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, shuttles, and telework. One exceptional leader, community-owned energy company PowerStream, was chosen as the Regional Employer of the Year. The company was also selected as the Smart Commute Employer of the Year for York Region, and PowerStream’s Environmental Coordinator Caroline Karvonen, was named Smart Commute Champion of the Year for her outstanding support and delivery of the Smart Commute Program.

PowerStream at SC awards
From left to right: Leslie Woo, Chief Planning Officer, Metrolinx; Barb Gray, Senior Vice President Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, PowerStream; Caroline Karvonen, Environmental Coordinator, PowerStream; Lauren Bates, Executive Director, Smart Commute NTV; Lawrence Bouchard, Board Chair, Smart Commute NTV.

Smart commuting is firmly embedded in PowerStream’s culture. This is the energy company’s fourth time being recognized at the Smart Commute Awards, but first time winning the overall Regional Employer of the Year award. The company operates the largest vanpool fleet in the province, with 9 vanpools currently running. An additional 110 of PowerStream’s 550 employees carpool to work, utilizing 19 designated carpool parking spaces. In the last 12 months these high occupancy vehicle choices reduced emissions by over 500 tonnes of pollutants, or what 200 acres of new forest would sequester in a year. This past summer PowerStream also piloted a remote work program which is now being evaluated for scaling into a larger, permanent program, and the company has always been an active participant in all regional campaigns such as Bike to Work Day, Carpool Week, and Smart Commute Week.

Of PowerStream’s many environmental programs, Karvonen explains, Smart Commute is the one she is most proud of, with almost 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide saved during her five years of involvement with the program at PowerStream. Karvonen supports Smart Commute – North Toronto, Vaughan (NTV) as a Board Member and vice-chair of its community advisory committee.

PowerStream joined Smart Commute NTV in 2008 after opening a new head office in Vaughan. PowerStream is a community-owned energy company that provides power and related services to more than 375,000 customers residing or owning a business in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario.

Smart Commute NTV is an award-winning, non-profit Transportation Management Association committed to reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and taking action on climate change. Smart Commute NTV encourages individuals to ‘Travel Smarter. Cleaner. Better.’ by considering alternatives to single occupancy vehicle commuting such as cycling, transit, carpooling, walking, and telecommuting.

Smart Commute is a program of Metrolinx and the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area whose goal is to ease gridlock, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making commuting less expensive and more enjoyable. To date, more than 325 employers with 706,000 employees have signed on to the program and are designated as Smart Commute workplaces.