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Cascades: By and For Employees

Project overview: installation of workplace charging stations and financial assistance for the purchase of an EV

Year of implementation: 2017

Project summary: 103 charging stations installed in Québec workplaces, including 4 accessible to the public 1 public fast charging station in Kingsey Falls 350 employees have benefited from the financial assistance program in Québec

Source of funding (charging stations only): Workplace charging station incentive (Québec) *


Project history

At Cascades, various strategies have been considered and tried over the years to reduce the environmental impact of employees. Carpooling has never been an optimal option for staff in rural areas - the company's head office is in Centre-du-Québec - and public transport is virtually non-existent. The solo car was a well-established mode of transport. An alternative solution had to be found.

In 2016, an employee of the company proposed an initiative to help the company's growing number of EV drivers. At the time, the EV wave was gaining momentum in the province. Cascades, with plants across the country, decided to act and plan ahead. After discussions with management, it was decided not only to install charging stations in the workplace, but also to grant $2,000 to employees who acquired an EV.

When the program was officially launched in 2017, the difficulty of accessing workplace charging and the cost of vehicles discouraged EV acquisition. The program tackled both obstacles. Battery range being more limited at the time, it was essential to offer the possibility of charging at work. And with the $2,000 offered, total rebates could now reach $15,000, a significant amount.

Thanks to government subsidies, companies are reimbursed for 50% of the cost of installing charging stations in the workplace. As for the $2,000 financial assistance granted to employees for the purchase of a vehicle, Cascades assumes this cost (for a used vehicle, the amount is modulated according to mileage).

Six years after the launch of this program, Cascades has installed charging stations at all its plants across the country, and some 350 employees have benefited from the financial assistance in Québec alone. A public fast charging station has even been installed in Kingsey Falls, where the company's head office is located. As this is not a workplace charging station, no subsidy was granted for its acquisition and installation. This is the first free public fast charging station in Quebec.

Strengths of the project

According to the company, this program has a very positive impact on employee and community mobilization. Cascades is perceived as a very green company, but it has to maintain its image with the public. This type of program, created by and for employees, reinforces the feeling of belonging to the company; employees are proud of the project and its benefits.

The company has also made available training and awareness material on best practices on its intranet, including the use of charging stations. An initiative that helps to better manage the problems associated with charging and access to charging stations.

Tips for a successful electrification project

Drawing on its experience since 2017, Cascades shares its tips for a successful electrification project:

  1. Use the right people for the job: qualified electricians to install the charging stations, and an in-house project manager to get the project up and running, just like any other corporate project.
  2. Do not underestimate the time needed to complete such a project: a project of this scale takes time, energy and resources... but it is well worth it! At Cascades, the start-up phase of the project was the most demanding, with some adjustments made over time. With plants from coast to coast, the installation of charging stations required a lot of resources. Today, the project requires almost no management time other than answering staff questions about how the charging system works. That is why the company's intranet now has a dedicated section answering frequently asked questions.
  3. Think about the benefits for the company: project costs represent an investment in mobilizing the community, as well as motivating and retaining staff. All this can be difficult to quantify, but the impact is real. Facilitating the acquisition of an EV and making charging stations available to staff is as much a service as any other program offered by a company to its employees.

* More information on the rebate for a workplace charging station (only in French)

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