Members of CUPE 3942 who work as mental health and social services workers at the Ottawa Salus Corporation have bargained what is a first for a CUPE Local: a bicycling travel allowance. A section of the Local’s Collective Agreement that deals with expenses now allows for members to file claims for travelling by bicycle. Specifically, the language states:
An employee who has travelled by bicycle for work purposes in excess of 100 kilometres between April 1st and October 31st may claim an allowance of $0.20/km to a maximum of fifty dollars ($50.00) towards the upkeep of such bicycle and related safety equipment. Such claim itemizing bicycle journeys will be made by November 30th of each year.
While this rate of reimbursement falls short of what is granted for private motor vehicle use, it is still a bold step in legitimizing bicycles for work transportation purposes. Ottawa is one of Canada’s more bike-friendly communities. Members of Local 3942 will certainly benefit from this extension of allowances to a green form of transportation.