Following a turbulent year mired by the pandemic, Uber Canada has been partnering with diverse community organizations across Canada to provide more than $3 million in donations and grants along with support for more than 20 local nonprofits. In its new 2021 Social Impact Report, Uber Canada is sharing some of its key programs and initiatives to keep communities safe, support food insecurity for vulnerable Canadians and help local businesses prosper as the country continues on its road to recovery.
Laura Miller, Head of Communications and Public Policy at Uber Canada, noted that as an active community member in towns and cities all over the country, Uber is committed to investing in partnerships that can help create a measurable impact and social benefit. “After an especially challenging year for Canadians, it’s been our mission to support organizations that are addressing important issues and making a big impact in their communities. We’ve had the opportunity to work with so many great partners to provide services, tools and resources that are helping communities and businesses thrive again,” she said.
As Covid-19 placed a massive strain on merchants and entrepreneurs, Uber Canada expanded its support for local businesses to help them recover. In the Eat Local Relief Effort, Uber Eats and Restaurants Canada collaborated to support 400 independently owned restaurants affected by the pandemic, distributing over $1 million in grants.
Restaurateurs who benefited from the program said the support provided a vital lifeline, helping them weather the economic turmoil that engulfed their industry. Erin Schwanz, owner of Fortune Doughnut in Halifax, NS, expressed the grant’s value to Restaurants Canada in spring 2021. “Programs offering extra support to businesses such as mine during this very uncertain time have been the boost that has given me the stability to carry through. In addition to the financial cushion that a grant offers, having this type of outreach also lifts spirits in a way that lasts well after the money is spent,” she said.
According to a report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the pandemic’s economic impacts in BC disproportionately affected women-identified workers and people of colour.
This disparity prompted Uber Canada to launch programs designed to uplevel Black and women-identified entrepreneurs. Recently, the ridesharing giant partnered with The Forum to provide free programming, tools, and resources for women entrepreneurs looking to take their business ideas to the next level. Uber Canada also worked with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce to launch Black Business Direct, a new, national online directory for Black-owned businesses in Canada.
This year, Uber Canada also took significant strides to help keep local communities safe by helping to remove barriers to immunization. Together with partners like the City of Toronto and the Transportation Options Network for Seniors, Uber Canada offered over 40,000 free and discounted rides to vaccine sites for underserved community members.
In one novel partnership, Uber Canada and Uber Eats collaborated with Health Canada to amplify public health information about COVID-19 vaccines across their apps. This information reached millions of drivers, riders, delivery people, restaurants partners and customers, ensuring Canadians could make informed decisions about vaccinations to protect themselves and their neighbours.
When it comes to reducing waste and protecting the planet, Uber Freight is uniquely positioned to help efficiently transport large volumes of goods, providing vital logistical support to nonprofits. This past year, Uber Freight partnered with Second Harvest to rescue 5.2 million pounds of food from going to waste and help move it to remote communities in need across Canada. This work attempted to address a major imbalance in Canada’s food system. Almost two-thirds of all food produced in Canada gets thrown out - and yet, one in seven Canadians face food insecurity.
Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest, said the partnership has helped her team overcome a substantial hurdle in their fight against food waste and scarcity. “Transportation is one of the greatest challenges of getting healthy food to communities. We are incredibly thankful for the partnership with Uber Freight which has enabled us to provide chicken, eggs, seafood, beef, vegetables and dry goods to remote and fly-in communities where food insecurity rates are among the highest,” she said.
To learn more about Uber Canada’s social impact in your local community and across Canada, read the 2021 Social Impact Report here.