Commuting is a fact of life for many Canadians. According to Statistics Canada data, in 2016, 12.6 million Canadians reported that they commuted to work by car. For these commuters, the average duration of the commute was 24 minutes, and the median distance to work among those who had a usual workplace was 8.7 kilometres. For some car commuters, however, the duration of the trip can be particularly long. In 2016, approximately 854,000 car commuters spent at least 60 minutes travelling to work. From 2011 to 2016, the number of car commuters who took at least 60 minutes to get to work rose by 5%, while the total number of car commuters increased by 3%.
Census metropolitan areas (CMAs), such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal, are not only major population centres, but also large employment centres. People who work in one of these three CMAs but live outside their boundaries are more likely to have long commutes. Long duration commutes are not limited to people living outside of a major CMA. In fact, among those who worked in Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver, a majority of car commuters who reported long commute times also lived within the same CMA. Among car commuters who worked in Toronto and reported a commuting time of at least 60 minutes, for example, 64% also lived in Toronto. These commuters took almost as long to get to work as those who came from Barrie, Oshawa or Hamilton, despite travelling a shorter distance. Similarly, of all car commuters with a usual workplace in Vancouver who spent at least 60 minutes getting to work, 81% also lived in Vancouver. These workers took almost as long getting to work as those commuting from Abbotsford–Mission to Vancouver.