Many of the "caring professionals" who work in social services or health care are already facing significant issues when it comes to affordability in the region, including precarious working conditions, lower wages, low mileage rates for using their own vehicles, and long commutes due to the housing crisis.
Vancouver (21 Feb. 2018) — The Mobility Pricing Independent Commission in B.C. recently published its initial report exploring traffic decongestion charging as part of a 10-year plan for transportation development in the Metro Vancouver region. It has proposed 2 main policy approaches for consideration: tolling congestion points and charging drivers for each kilometre they drive.
Congestion-point pricing charges drivers when they pass certain points or locations, such as a bridge, tunnel or high-traffic area. Distance-based charging means drivers would be charged for each kilometre they drive, and the amount would depend on where they go and at what time.
BCGEU/NUPGE speaks out for workers whose jobs rely on free access to roads
The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) welcomes efforts to address the effects of traffic congestion as well as the development of improved infrastructure. However, it believes this should not be done at the expense of working people in the caring professionals sector whose incomes and services rely on free access to our roads.
Thousands of BCGEU/NUPGE members, particularly those working in community health or community social services, must have a car to perform their jobs and many drive 50 or more kilometres a day on busy corridors to visit their clients. Some members are required to transport clients as part of community inclusion work, or to attend doctor's appointments. Imposing a tax on their mobility would not only create individual financial burden but could also negatively impact service delivery at agencies that aren't funded to pay the costs.
Tolls another obstacle for precarious, low-wage workers
In addition, many of these workers are already facing significant issues when it comes to affordability in the region, including precarious working conditions, lower wages, low mileage rates for using their own vehicles, and long commutes due to the housing crisis.
The BCGEU/NUPGE urges the commission to propose a mobility pricing exemption for those in community health and community social services, as well as for all workers who spend much of their workday on the roads, including delivery drivers and cab drivers.
In the coming weeks, the Commission will be conducting public consultations ahead of their final report due out in April. The union will encourage its members to visit www.itstimemv.ca between February 22 and March 17 to provide comment on this important issue.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE