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September 8, 2022

CEO Update – September 2022

I trust you have been able to enjoy the sunny summer weather of the last several weeks. Amongst the highlights for me has been Pemberton’s Slow Food Cycle, the Panorama Ridge hike at Whistler and touring in and around Victoria. All great ways to experience the magic of BC!

As expected, it has been a busy summer at Modo, with member growth and vehicle demand both continuing to trend upward. As at the end of August, we are 28,000 persons sharing more than 800 vehicles. Much is happening at your co-op and I’m delighted to provide you with an update.

Our Continuing DEI Journey

We continue the work to make our co-op more diverse, equitable and inclusive. During the weeks ahead you will receive a request to participate in our annual member survey and therein will be questions that will help us to understand how we are doing. Please do take the time to respond to the survey – your opinion is important to us!

A recent example of an initiative that we are taking to be more inclusive is the introduction of Community Partnership Memberships. In this program, we have partnered with local affordable housing operators to eliminate some of the financial barriers to carsharing and make access more widely available. We are optimistic that this will make a tangible difference for the participating individuals and families.

As last year, Modo will donate the hourly revenue earned on Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and we continue to build upon the relationship we began last year. We have now formally adopted September 30th as a stat holiday and encourage Modo employees and members to use this day for education, quiet reflection and participation in a community event.

Transition To Zero Emission Vehicles

Thanks to those of you that responded to my earlier appeal to reach out to your MLAs and MPs and demand recognition of and fair treatment for our collective ownership business model. Reactions from elected officials and their staff have been mixed. Co-ops are generally not well understood, and some elected and government officials continue to view us as a car rental business or a commercial fleet operator. That severely restricts our access to the EV purchase rebates that other BC residents enjoy and acts as a brake on our transition plans.

Access to incentives limited to 10 vehicles per year at the federal level and a lifetime maximum of 50 vehicles from the province are simply not meaningful for a fleet of 800+ vehicles. In contrast, 28,000 qualifying individual vehicle owners are eligible for one incentive each from both levels of government. This inequity, in the face of an increasingly evident climate crisis, continues to baffle me.

Those that have been constructively supportive include Niki Sharma (MLA – Vancouver-Hastings), Don Davies (MP – Vancouver Kingsway) and Joyce Murray (MP – Vancouver Quadra). If you haven’t already done so, please do make your position known to your elected officials. It is becoming urgent.

Member Advisory Council

One of the characteristics of our co-op business model that I appreciate most is that the owners of Modo are the same people that use our services. This aligns the needs of owners and users perfectly. Thanks to the democratic nature of co-operatives, we hear from you directly through member surveys and indirectly via the board members that you elect as your representatives. We intend to add a third channel to complement the other two.

The Modo Advisory Council, to be launched this Fall, is a representative group of 12 to 15 co-op members who are randomly selected via lottery and regularly refreshed to represent the diverse perspectives of our membership. Our intention is to gain deeper and more inclusive insights into members’ views and receive advice on topics of relevance to Modo’s future. The subjects addressed by the Advisory Council will vary from meeting to meeting and may include member experience topics, fleet transition issues and specific opportunities and initiatives that the co-op is exploring. The insights gained from the Advisory Council will help inform decisions that shape the future of the co-op.

During the weeks ahead you will receive an invitation to express your interest in participating. That will include more details such as the level of commitment, the process for being selected and how meetings will be conducted. I do hope that you will consider participating and thereby be more closely engaged in the working of your co-op. Effectively, the Council’s role will be to advise the CEO, and I can’t wait to interact more directly with you.

I’ll close this update by thanking the Modo team for the great work done during the busy summer season. Summer is an intense time for our frontline Fleet and Member Care teams in particular and once again they have risen to the occasion. We understand that your decision to share cars requires that vehicles be available where and when you want them and an organization that’s there to support you when things happen. Please join me in recognizing the good work that your Modo team is doing.

Written by Modo’s CEO, Patrick Nangle.