A program of Green Communities Canada, Ontario Active School Travel (OAST), recognized the importance of including parents and caregivers in active school travel work. To thoughtfully engage parents and caregivers, the OAST Council’s Parent Engagement Working Group (PEWG) was formed, and from 2018-2020, they gathered information on challenges identified by parents, as well as best practices, tools, and campaigns that have effectively addressed those barriers. 

This work was carried out due to the key role that parents and caregivers play in determining if a child will walk or wheel to school, and the resistance to change amongst those who choose to drive their children to school. This remains an ongoing and significant barrier to renormalizing active school travel within communities across Canada.  

Accordingly, the PEWG conducted an environmental scan to summarize the available research, and commissioned a series of focus groups and a set of strategic recommendations. This research was made possible by funding from the Government of Ontario as well as collaboration with Metrolinx and Cullbridge Marketing and Communications.  

The key findings of this work have been summarized into a report available for download Engaging Parents in Active School Travel: Summary Report 2021 (FR).

From 2021-2022, OAST will be implementing a pilot project to further develop these engagement strategies into a “Communications Kit” in partnership with Urban Systems Ltd. To stay in the loop about the Parent Engagement project as it develops, we encourage you to follow @OntarioAST on Twitter and sign up for the OAST News newsletter.