FAQs and help
... we will expand as questions are received and answered...
What's the definition of a "close commute"? Great question! Our search of the literature did not yield any consensus about a definition for "short (or close) commute" nor for "long commute." We created our own definition of a "close commute" based on Statistics Canada's national household survey's classifications for mode of transportation and its 10-minute duration intervals. The duration is door-to-door, so a commute using public transit for 20 minutes includes walking to the bus stop and walking from bus to your workplace. Our definition of a "close commute" is as follows, for each direction:
- if driving a car, truck or van, or if riding a bicycle, ten minutes or less
- if taking public transit or walking, 20 minutes or less
Are there legal issues in considering commute distance (which would necessarily include considering an applicant's or employee's place of residence) during a hiring or transfer situation? Thanks to Laurie Mitchell, HR specialist with the City of Victoria, for asking that important question. No doubt all HR professionals will want to be informed about that matter.
First, I must emphasize that I am not a lawyer and am not offering legal advice. Please consult with your organization's lawyer who will provide advice on your organization's specific circumstances. There is no mention of employee's place of residence in the Employment Standards Act of BC. Proximity to workplace is not one of the 11 types of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act (http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/what-discrimination). My consultations last year with two lawyers and sessions of Internet searching did not uncover any case law or statutes in Canada or the USA that indicate legal concerns. Proximate commuting, upon which CloseCommute's methodology is based, has been endorsed and promoted by the US EPA and DoT for over twenty years, with no mention I could find of legal liability. Nonetheless, do consult with your organization's lawyer to confirm your situation.
Although there appears to be no legislation or regulations about considering area of residence, there could well be relevant POLICY in place related to this. Typically policy is created by an organization and can be updated or modified by the organization. I submitted a FOI request to the BC Government's Public Service Agency, asking whether there were any policies in existence across government related to the consideration of commuting distance or otherwise considering residence location. The official response was, "Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request."Your home, work and play only a short hop apart …