dandyARCHIVE: Food fight with Wayne Scott

This story first appeared in our Food issue (summer/fall 2011). Get that issue here.

Wayne Scott hams it up with the cows in "The Pasture" - created by Canadian sculptor Joe Fafard - in front of Mies van der Rohe's TD Centre in the heart of the financial district. The cows have nothing to fear from Scott: he has been an almost-vegetarian for four decades. "Meat makes poor messenger fuel, because it is harder to process," he says.

Food Fight: Activist Wayne Scott pioneered "food for fuel" law for foot and cycle messengers

Story by Steve Brearton, photo by Dana Lacey
In 1982, Toronto bike courier Wayne Scott attempted to claim as a business expense on his tax return the additional food and drink required to do his job. Scott figured it amounted to an extra meal each working day, but Canada’s tax department said ‘forget it.’ Scott then waged a 16-year battle that ended with the Federal Court of Appeal agreeing his daily meal allowance was tax deductable. Today, Canada Revenue Agency allows bicycle and pedestrian couriers to claim $17.50 daily for food. Thirteen years after the landmark decision, perennial active transportation promoter and founder of Hoof & Cycle courier company, Wayne Scott reflects on his initial motivation:

“As an avowed, lifelong urban Canadian non-driver, I was always aware of the existence of a skewed majority perspective predicated upon the readily available use of a personal motor-vehicle. Family, friends and neighbours had increasingly become more car-dependent due in part to the pervasive auto industry marketing fantasy - one-sized vehicle, fits all jobs and journeys. Evidence of such mobility delusion became even more obvious when I joined the local active transport industry, as a bike messenger in the early '80's. The fact that the Government of Canada did not accept - nor even understand - the concept of 'FOOD AS FUEL' seemed to offer the perfect opportunity to remind us all that while we human beings are afforded the gift of self-mobility, its efficient practice has its costs.

Related story on the dandyBLOG: Blessing of the bikes on Earth Day

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