Hospital Joins Commuter Challenge for 5th Consecutive Year

From left to right: Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager, Preventive Health Services, Hospital; Adam Kruper, Mobility Coordinator, City of Thunder Bay; Jean Bartkowiak, President & CEO, Hospital and CEO, Health Research Institute; Silva Sawula, Manager of Healthy Living, Thunder Bay District Health Unit; and Michelle Gentile, representing the Constituency Office for the Hon. Patty Hajdu, M.P.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (our Hospital), EcoSuperior, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and the City of Thunder Bay came together today to kick off the Commuter Challenge week by welcoming a group of cycling, walking, busing, and other commuters to the Health Sciences Centre.

People in Thunder Bay are being challenged to explore an alternative mode of transportation during the week of June 4th – 10th. The Commuter Challenge is a national, week-long, friendly competition between Canadian cities and workplaces that encourages Canadians to leave their cars at home and celebrate active and sustainable transportation. Commuters are rewarded for walking, cycling, carpooling/ride-sharing, taking city transit and telecommuting instead of driving alone for the week.

In 2016, the Hospital had the highest overall participation in the Commuter Challenge for Thunder Bay, with over 150 employees logging a commute during the week. Because of their enthusiasm for the challenge, the 2017 Commuter Challenge launch is being held once again at the Hospital.

“Trying a new mode of getting to and from work, other than driving alone, provides individuals with a sustainable transportation alternative that reduces air pollution,” said Silva Sawula, Manager of Healthy Living at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. “Actively commuting can increase cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or cancer. “

This year, the Hospital is also highlighting its own Commuter Champions, who take advantage of the transportation alternatives and lead by example to inspire their colleagues.

“Our Hospital Vision is ‘Healthy Together’ and the Commuter Challenge really is about being healthy and doing it together as a workplace and as a community,” said Jean Bartkowiak, President and CEO of the Hospital and CEO of the Health Research Institute. “I walk 9 kilometers in total to and from work when my calendar and the weather allow me to – I have walked or biked like this my whole life. This year I will continue to support alternative transportation, and will ‘walk the talk’ by commuting during this year’s challenge.”

Last year, 62 workplaces in Thunder Bay participated in the Commuter Challenge. After one week of commuting participants travelled 27,487 kilometers, avoided 4,580 kilograms of CO2, saved 1,677 litres of fuel, and burned 47,305 calories. This year, the goal is to keep the momentum and to recruit more first-time participants to take part in the challenge.

Because of the Hospital’s high participation rate during last year’s Commuter Challenge, the Hospital won two categories and was rewarded with two new bike racks from the City of Thunder Bay.

Results of the Hospital’s 2016 Commuter Challenge included:

– 150 employees registered
– 106 workplace participants
– 6,222.54 total kilometres travelled
– 7,8985.2 calories burned
– 374.5 litres of fuel saved
– 894.04 kg of CO2 avoided

To register, view last year’s results, or find out more, visit the Commuter Challenge website at You can also check out the website and the Commuter Challenge Thunder Bay Facebook page to find out more about local events and prizes. Participants are encouraged to tweet their commutes throughout the week at #cctbay and share commuting pictures.


For more information, please contact:

Marcello Bernardo
Communications Officer
Communications, Indigenous Affairs, and Engagement
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
(807) 684-6765