Through Snowfall, Canadian Workers Still Drive to Work

Dec 04, 2013

As the snow flies and traffic slows, a new survey of 2,009 office workers suggests employers can expect a more disgruntled staff, with 30 minutes cited as the average “acceptable” one-way commute – a far cry from the seasonal reality for many. In fact, all other things equal, Environics Research finds commute time would be the deciding factor in choosing one job over another for fully half of Canadians.

Curiously, however, labouring remotely isn’t as popular an antidote as you’d expect in the digital age, with the average person working just 1.8 days per month from home. Even more surprising, the younger the worker, the more likely the opinion that professional collaboration requires being in the same physical space: 79% of Millennials, versus 70% of Gen X’ers and 59% of Boomers.

Statistics Canada reported this year that 1.1 million people worked from home “most of the time” in 2011, versus the 15.4 million who commuted to a job site. Of the latter group, the average one-way trip took 25.4 minutes – similar to the 29-minute average found in Environics-Oxford’s 2013 survey.

It’s when commutes stretch beyond this half-hour “sweet spot” that 82% of workers feel their travel time has become unreasonable. And McAllan said this holds especially true for Millennials, who highly value their time.

The survey was conducted in June 2013 with a representative sample of Canadian office workers. No margin of error is given in accordance with Market Research and Intelligence Association rules about online panels.

74: percentage of commuters who drove their vehicle to work; another 5.6 per cent made the trip as passengers

12: percentage of commuters who used public transit for largest portion of their commute

880,800: number of Canadians who walked to work

201,800: number of Canadians who cycled to work

25.4: average commute to work, in minutes

17.2: percentage of Canadians whose commute took 45 minutes or longer

29.1: percentage of commuters who left for work between 7:00 and 7:59 a.m., the most popular window for such trips

Source: National Household Survey, Statistics Canada
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