Smart Commute Awards

About the Awards

The Smart Commute Awards were introduced in 2007 to officially recognize employer members or partners who have put forth exceptional effort in implementing Smart Commute programs. The awards recognize outstanding commitment, leadership, innovation and results.

In previous years, the 13 transportation management associations (TMAs) from across the GTHA were invited to nominate their top members and partners. This year, for the first time Smart Commute workplaces were asked to self-nominate. Our expert review panel determined a Smart Commute Employer of the Year Award winner for each of the five regions from which nominations were received: Halton, Hamilton, Peel, Toronto and York.  From these winners, one has been selected by the panel to receive the top honour: the overall Regional Employer of the Year.

In addition, a Smart Commute Rising Star Award was given out for the first time this year, acknowledging a workplace that is achieving outstanding success in their first year in the program.

The Smart Commute Champion Award celebrates the ‘above and beyond’ achievements of an individual or group whose contribution has been integral to the success of a Smart Commute program anywhere in the region.

The awards were given out on November 26, 2014 at St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto. Scroll down to learn more about the winners.

Awards Review Panel Members

We extend our gratitude to our expert panel of volunteers who evaluated all of the nominations:

  • Antoine Belaieff – Director, Innovation, Metrolinx
  • Alan Griffiths – Manager, Sustainability Office, Mohawk College – 2013 Smart Commute Regional Employer of the Year
  • Brent Kopperson – Executive Director, Windfall Ecology Centre
  • Nancy Smith Lea – Director, Toronto Centre for Action Transportation (TCAT), a project of the registered charity Clean Air Partnership
  • Mike Spicer – Director, Burlington Transit

2014 Award Winners (To see details, click below)

Regional Employer of the Year (GTHA) – Mississauga

The City of Mississauga was one of the founding members of Smart Commute Mississauga in 2005. The goal in joining Smart Commute was to support commuting options that minimize impacts on the environment and help make the City an employer of choice, a leading example in the community and to provide employee support for commuting alternatives. Year after year, the City has continued to strengthen its program, which is led by dedicated staff that work with Smart Commute Mississauga to help deliver the program.

The City has invested in the Smart Commute program and engaged employees in a number of ways. It continues to support a Discount Transit Program (employees get 50% off transit passes), a car share program with AutoShare, a Discounted Carpool Parking Incentive Program, a Cycling Reimbursement Incentive Policy and more.

Paid parking was implemented in 2011 – a bold strategy to de-incentivize solo drivers. Free parking is a key factor in whether people choose to drive to work. By removing that option, and   encouraging staff to opt for more sustainable modes, the City showed real leadership.

Throughout the year, hosting workshops and encouraging employee participation in all of the annual Smart Commute campaigns maintains visibility for the program among a large number of staff (3,500) spread across the City.  A dedicated Smart Commute intranet page is used to communicate to staff, and all new hires are debriefed on the City’s commuter benefits program.

This year, the City continued to strengthen its program by launching a bike fleet program at the Civic Square. The concept behind the CycleLoan Program is simple: provide employees with free access to bicycles during business hours, thus promoting active modes of transportation at the workplace.

Over the past nine years, the City of Mississauga has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to continuous improvement of the Smart Commute program that is resulting in significant benefits for staff and the entire organization.

Learn more about Smart Commute Mississauga.

Smart Commute Rising Star Award – Honda Canada Inc.

Honda Canada Inc.’s head office campus in Markham, Ontario has the distinction of being the first auto manufacturer to join Smart Commute.

With more than 700 staff travelling to this location, it was felt that by encouraging more sustainable transportation options, road and parking lot congestion could be alleviated, staff could save time and fuel costs, and there was good potential for fostering meaningful interaction among coworkers during the commute. Honda has implemented a broad range of initiatives to generate awareness about commuting options since joining Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill in late October 2013.  These include teleworking, designated carpool parking, on-site public transit, electric vehicle charging stations, bike racks, shower facilities, and more – the company even maintains a 1.5 kilometre walking track!

Within the first month of launching the carpool program, the number of reserved carpooling parking spots was nearly doubled, from 10 to 18, in response to high demand. It is evident that employees were engaged and interested in the Smart Commute program right from the beginning, and the future looks bright with this kind of endorsement.

Learn more about Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill.

Smart Commute Champion Award – Rebekah Jackson-Gravely & Joceline Turner

Rebekah Jackson-Gravely and Joceline Turner have shown their dedication by serving as the volunteer co-chairs of the Smart Commute program at, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), since 2005! They have acted as ambassadors for the program, actively promoting commuting options and Smart Commute campaigns to their colleagues at this large, 10,000-employee workplace, without any additional resources.

Thanks to the hard work of these champions, HHS has installed four bike shelters (one at each of the main sites), with secure access and video surveillance. Joceline and Rebekah have also helped facilitate the installation of dedicated carpool parking spots, and have successfully promoted carpooling and the use of Smart Commute’s tool (formerly Carpool Zone). In addition, they managed a trial of subsidized transit passes for staff.

Rebekah and Joceline exemplify the spirit behind the Smart Commute workplace program and what makes it a success. While spearheading the Smart Commute program for the last nine years (18 years if you add them together), they have invested considerable energy beyond their regular duties at HHS and we look forward to celebrating their 10th anniversary next year!

Learn more about Smart Commute Hamilton.

Smart Commute Employer of the Year, Halton Region – L-3 WESCAM

L-3 WESCAM has taken progressive steps towards providing sustainable commuting options for staff. The company, located in Burlington, Ontario, designs and manufactures dynamic visual information systems. In the last 12 months, L-3 WESCAM has removed 368 single occupant vehicle trips from the road, eliminated 29, 492 kilometres of vehicle travel and prevented 6,406 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.

These impressive results were achieved through a number of initiatives. The Smart Commute program runs out of the Human Resources department where weekly communications are issued to staff promoting sustainable transportation options. In November 2013, a pilot bus route was launched to provide better transit access to L-3 WESCAM employees. This new route was the result of 18 months of planning between Smart Commute Halton, Burlington Transit and L-3 WESCAM, and as a result of its success, Burlington Transit is in the process of adding an additional stop to better service employees.

L-3 WESCAM has great facilities and services to encourage sustainable commuting, ranging from a dedicated shuttle service (complete with bike rack) that runs between their two Burlington offices, to indoor bike racks, showers and lockers to encourage active transportation. Their company bike team, Team WESCAM, promotes cycling, offers instructional lunch-and-learns and participates in various charitable rides.

Learn more about Smart Commute Halton.

Smart Commute Employer of the Year, Hamilton – Horizon Utilities Corporation

Horizon Utilities Corporation’s Smart Commute partnership journey began in 2011 with participation in the Bike to Work Day event, but during the past 12 months the initiative has gained significant momentum.

Horizon staff participate in Bike to Work Day, Smart Commute Week and Carpool Week with excellent results. Additionally, Smart Commute outreach events have successfully increased employee knowledge, participation and support. Of the 335 employees, slightly more than half (169) are registered on Smart Commute’s ride-matching tool! As a result of efforts to promote these events, employees have reduced an estimated 215,000 kilometres of travel distance, avoided 46,757 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions and saved $138,000 in commuting costs.

As part of its commitment to environmental improvement efforts, Horizon has installed four electrical vehicle charging stations, created dedicated carpool parking spots, replaced company vehicles with electric and hybrid models and built external bike shelters and a bike wheel trough. The company is currently working with the City of Hamilton to establish carpool parking in adjacent parking lots used by employees, and it is seeking approval for on-street electric vehicle charging stations.

Learn more about Smart Commute Hamilton.

Smart Commute Employer of the Year, Peel Region – City of Mississauga

The City of Mississauga was one of the founding members of Smart Commute Mississauga in 2005. The goal in joining Smart Commute was to support commuting options that minimize impacts on the environment and help make the City an employer of choice, a leading example in the community and to provide employee support for commuting alternatives. Year after year, the City has continued to strengthen its program, which is led by dedicated staff that work with Smart Commute Mississauga to help deliver the program.

The City has invested in the Smart Commute program and engaged employees in a number of ways. It continues to support a Discount Transit Program (employees get 50% off transit passes), a car share program with AutoShare, a Discounted Carpool Parking Incentive Program, a Cycling Reimbursement Incentive Policy and more.

Paid parking was implemented in 2011 – a bold strategy to de-incentivize solo drivers. Free parking is a key factor in whether people choose to drive to work. By removing that option, and   encouraging staff to opt for more sustainable modes, the City showed real leadership.

Throughout the year, hosting workshops and encouraging employee participation in all of the annual Smart Commute campaigns maintains visibility for the program among a large number of staff (3,500) spread across the City.  A dedicated Smart Commute intranet page is used to communicate to staff, and all new hires are debriefed on the City’s commuter benefits program.

This year, the City continued to strengthen its program by launching a bike fleet program at the Civic Square. The concept behind the CycleLoan Program is simple: provide employees with free access to bicycles during business hours, thus promoting active modes of transportation at the workplace.

Over the past nine years, the City of Mississauga has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to continuous improvement of the Smart Commute program that is resulting in significant benefits for staff and the entire organization.

Learn more about Smart Commute Mississauga.

Smart Commute Employer of the Year, Toronto – University Health Network

University Health Network (UHN) in downtown Toronto has integrated the Smart Commute program into corporate culture. Since joining Smart Commute Toronto-Central in 2008, its carpool program went from non-existent to achieving a very high profile. In just the last 12 months, UHN has increased carpool parking spots by 50%! In addition, more than 2,600 staff take advantage of the TTC VIP discounted transit pass program, and the numbers are continuing to increase.

As part of the healthcare industry, UHN is very interested in the focus on the link between environment and health. Active transportation choices are encouraged, and from the inception of the Smart Commute program bike ridership increased from 1,560 cyclists to 2,144 cyclists. A Bicycle User Group (BUG) monthly newsletter reaches 800 employees and effectively promotes active transportation and Smart Commute campaigns and programs. In the last year, UHN has expanded staff bike parking infrastructure by over 300 spots, for a total of 1,172 spots. The Krembil Discovery Tower, opened in 2014, boasts a secure indoor bike room with an adjacent shower and locker facility. This helped the Tower achieve LEED status.

Learn more about Smart Commute Toronto-Central.

Smart Commute Employer of the Year, York Region – Advanced Micro Devices

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is a designer and manufacturer of computer chips with 1,500 employees working at its Markham, Ontario location.

Under the leadership of its “Go Green” Team, AMD has continued to expand and deepen its Smart Commute program over the past year, building on existing successes and infrastructure. A tangible result of the program’s success is that four out of 10 employees are using transportation modes other than single occupant vehicles. In the last year, all AMD employees (globally) logged 966,856 kilometers using sustainable commuting methods, and 178,590 of those kilometres came from the Markham office alone! The office has various commuter incentives, including a “Cycle to Work” program which provides cyclists with monetary rewards and bike store discount coupons. One employee said, “I certainly would not be biking to work every day if it weren’t for this program!”

The interest in green commuting has expanded to other behaviours, too. In July 2014, the Green Team successfully implemented the “myCup” program to eliminate Styrofoam cups in the break room and issued everyone a reusable mug, thereby keeping approximately 250,000 cups from landfill each year.

Learn more about Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill.