Canadian Cyclist


October 2/99 5:44 am - Contest Winner, Nova Scotia News, Courier Day

Posted by Editor on 10/2/99

Our Winner Today...

Is Lori Pol, of London, Ontario. Lots of people knew the answer to this one - Alex Stieda. Alex was racing for 7-11 in their first Tour appearance. He took over the jersey in the first stage of a double stage day, and lost it a few hours later. However, he has the honour of being the first Canadian (and North American) to wear the Maillot Jaune. We still have a bunch more videos to give out, so check back tomorrow at Noon EDT for your next chance to win.

Nova Scotia MTB Annoucement

The final race of the 6 Race Bicycle Nova Scotia Mountain Bike Series will take place this Sunday, October 3rd in Wentworth, Nova Scotia. For more info contact Bruce Roberts at (902)755-4780 or (90)893-4265

Randy Gray
mountain biking guy

Local Nova Scotia mountain biking info is available at:

Messenger Appreciation Day

I, Mayor Mel Lastman, on behalf of Toronto City Council and the more than 2.3 million people of our great City, do hereby proclaim October 8, 1999 as "Messenger Appreciation Day" in the City of Toronto and urge all residents to recognize the contribution made to our community by bicycle couriers.

The City of Toronto has proclaimed October 8, 1999 as Messenger Appreciation Day (10-9 Day.) This year 10-9 Day is celebrated on 10-8. The City will present the proclamation at 8:30 am, to the Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition outside Breadspreads at 4 Temperance St. The presentation is part of a FREE COURIER BREAKFAST. The breakfast runs from 8:00 - 9:30 am.

Toronto's 15 bad air days this past summer highlight the importance of these environmentally friendly, fast and efficient urban professionals. Toronto's couriers have spent the summer not only risking their health riding through the worst smog the City has ever experienced, but they have also been working to improve the air for all Torontonians. The Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition has presented specific recommendations to the city for improving air quality, including free transit on Air Quality Advisory Days.

In 1991 in San Francisco, a mayoral proclamation decreed that October 9 of every year would be Messenger Appreciation Day. October 9 is "10-9" in radio code and means "Say again" or "What?" 10-9 Day is celebrated informally all over the world. This year Toronto has officially proclaimed 10-9 Day for the third year. Cities such as Chicago, Washington DC, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Montreal have made similar proclamations in the past.

Toronto's more than fifty (bike) courier companies employ over 500 bike and foot messengers to deliver an estimated 1.2 million deliveries every year. This has resulted in a need for approximately 2500 fewer cars in the downtown core every day.

Messenger Appreciation Day acknowledges some of the many benefits bicycle couriers bring to our city. They reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the downtown core, take up less space on the road and do less damage to the roads. They increase the safety of pedestrians and aid charities, such as St. Stephen's Community House through the annual "Courier Classic." These ambassadors of goodwill hold doors, give directions, catch thieves, report accidents, retrieve stolen property and hunt down owners of lost items. They provide a value added service that continuously improving firms seek out as a means to reduce costs and improve efficiency. And they are year round cyclists who promote the bicycle as a viable form of transportation and economic development.

Messenger Appreciation Day points to the struggles faced by couriers who must work hard for every cent. Messengers are forced to fight for their rights at every turn. Although messengers are employed by one company, these firms do everything they can to disguise the employment relationship. The International Labour Organization, including Canadian representatives, has condemned this practice.

When it comes to the employment standards act, the Ontario government is lax towards the messenger industry. Couriers generally face no time off for lunch; no sick or extended health benefits; no payment for statutory holidays, overtime or vacations.

Couriers don't receive employment insurance unless they go through a long process of fighting to be classed as employees and virtually all couriers are unaware of their rights or the process to achieve them. Although bike couriers are covered by workers compensation, it's kept a quiet secret and most couriers are informed to the contrary. They are charged for the use of their radios, pagers and phones even on days they cannot work.

Despite a court ruling that couriers can claim a portion of their food as a tax deduction for fuel, Revenue Canada continues to do everything in its power to disallow the deduction depriving messengers of compensation for these costs. Canada Post fails to enforce the Canada Post Act, allowing courier companies to charge less than the legal limit. Since couriers' incomes are based on these charges, messengers must work longer and harder to make the same money we made years earlier.

In spite of these challenges our city's couriers face Toronto's worst humidity, smog and bitter cold to provide the fastest transport of original information.

Joe Hendry
Toronto Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition
(416) 626-4369 (day)/(416) 778-0806 (eve)


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