Image: Paul Sherwood, from the Toronto Life Flickr pool

According to the Toronto Board of Trade, gridlock in its various forms cost the GTA economy about $6 billion a year and erodes Toronto’s competitiveness in the global economy.  Not surprisingly, the Board is looking to government at all levels to work towards a sustainable funding solution to build the public transit and other infrastructure to tackle gridlock. It’s just one of many organizations, advocacy bodies and others who are active in this debate.

So here’s a question: If these costs are borne mostly by private enterprise and their employees in the form of productivity losses, then what role will companies and the organizations that represent them play in this debate? And will they consider an advocacy campaign involving their employees – the same employees who are affected by the gridlock – aimed at promoting specific options and tools to pay for public transit expansion?

And if you are such an employee, wouldn’t you look favourably on your company’s efforts to engage you in a public debate on an issue that affects you almost every day?

This is one area that I think needs more exploration. With social and digital media offering up a wide variety of tools to directly educate, engage and activate workers, companies and their representative bodies should consider this opportunity to get their employees to participate in this debate. It might also show that a broad, open and fact-based discussion can lead to more transparency, more trust and better policy choices.

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