Work commute rising in Canada as more people going into office

Click to play video: 'Will working from home become even more popular amid high commuting costs?'
Will working from home become even more popular amid high commuting costs?
WATCH: Will working from home become even more popular amid high commuting costs? – May 6, 2022

As more companies call workers into the office after the peak of the pandemic, a growing number of Canadians are now commuting to their work – and for many, it’s taking longer than before, new data shows.

Statistics Canada released a report Tuesday that showed that nearly 16 million Canadians – or four in five employees – commuted to work in May. This represents a 4.8 per cent increase compared with last year and a 26.2 per cent jump from 2021.

In fact, the number of commuters going into work also surpassed the pre-pandemic level of 2016, which was 15.5 million, according to StatCan.

The rise in work commutes this year was driven partly by the percentage of the employed population working from home falling in Canada, reaching 20 per cent in May, the report said.

However, population growth plays a role in these figures: in 2016, just 7.1 per cent of employed Canadians worked from home.

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Along with rapid population growth, an increase in total employment is another contributing factor to why more Canadians are travelling to work.

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Companies are going all out to make in-office work an attractive option for employees who have gotten used to working from the comfort of their homes over the past three years.

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The majority – 82.6 per cent – of employees who go onsite travel by car, truck or van. This is despite the fact that Canadians are dealing with historically high prices and frustratingly long wait times for new vehicles.

Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island all saw an increase in the number of workers who mainly used a car to get to work.

More Canadians are also taking public transit — 1.6 million people in May — making up 10 per cent of total commuters nationally travelling to work.

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But the percentage of commuters who walked or cycled to work dipped slightly to six per cent.

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The time it takes for people to reach their jobs has also gone up over the last couple of years.

The average time it took for workers travelling by car was 24.5 minutes in May – up from 22.9 minutes the year before and 24 minutes in 2021.

There was an increase in the number of people having to travel for at least one hour to work using different modes of transportation. The report points to the increase in car commuting and heavier traffic on the roads for the rise.

Driving the changing work patterns, people in public administration, information, culture and recreation, as well as professional, scientific and technical services, increasingly shifted to working outside of their homes.


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