Share your views: Public engagement on permanent public transit funding in Canada
75% of Canadians report engaging in outdoor and wilderness activities every year. Studies show the exceptional benefits of time in nature, in improving the physical health of participants, as well as significant mental health benefits. Many doctors across the world now socially prescribe time outdoors as therapy for a wide range of conditions, with proven results. Moreover, people who spend time in nature are substantially more likely to want to protect it. This is certainly true for the 24,000 members of Protect Our Winters Canada, who spend their spare time on snow, water and land, and deeply value their connection to our country's incredible wild spaces and outdoor recreation opportunities. However, only a very small fraction of parks and wilderness areas are accessible by public transit. This has the ironic impact of requiring outdoor recreationalists (again, 75% of Canadians) to burn fossil fuels to reach the places they wish to protect, further entrenching damage caused by global heating.
In addition, lack of transit ingrains inequalities in the outdoor community, making it more difficult for low-income and marginalized groups, including Indigenous communities and people of colour, to access the same opportunities and benefits that time in nature provides well-off Canadians. As part of this review, Protect Our Winters strongly encourages the Government of Canada to consider access to, and protection of, natural spaces as a key objective of public transit. We welcome the initiative to consider transit in rural areas, and urge the government to consider not only rural hubs and townships, but also the accessibility of nearby national, provincial and municipal parks, trails, rivers, lakes and beaches.
Hit the link to fill out the questionnaire plus use our enthusiast to advocate tool below to share your opinion on why we need more robust public transit systems in Canada today!