The Advisory Council on Climate Action recommends a $5,000 EV purchase incentive

by Daniel Rochefort (AVÉQ)

Less than one week away from federal budget unveiling, Steven Guilbeault, Co-Chair of the (Canadian) Advisory Council on Climate Action, has publicly released a key recommendation to accelerate electrification of transportation and the battle against climate change: provide a Canada-wide subsidy of $5000 to Canadian purchasers of electric vehicles.

A public “informal discussion” was held at Montréal’s Centre for Sustainable Development between Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change) and the environmentalist Steven Guilbeault. The latter presented the broad outline of an interim report on the best strategies to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

Mr. Guilbeault confirmed that the council that he co-chairs (at the request of the Trudeau government) recommends setting up a federal subsidy program for purchasing electric vehicles, to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles throughout Canada. The recommendation calculates an incentive of $5000.

“97 percent of electric vehicle sales are in the two provinces with incentives (i.e. Québec and British Columbia),” states Mr. Guilbeault, who has compared various strategies for electrification around the world. “This is an essential element (in an effective strategy of decarbonization of transportation),” he adds.

Mr. Guilbeault also insisted on the need to invest more in the deployment of a network of fast public charging stations, as well as in educational measures and awareness of the need for and the advantages of electrification of transportation.

The interim report presented to the government (available on line) asks additionally to set up sales targets for electric vehicles. It suggests starting with voluntary targets, then making them legally binding (a federal ZEV law) if industry response isn’t sufficient.

Minister McKenna came across as in complete agreement with Steven Guilbeault’s proposals, while admitting that she has absolutely no decision-making power over this question (which is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transportation)! “I need your help,” she pitched, as she encouraged all citizens to go into the streets, like the students who will be protesting this week.

Let us hope that this public recommendation sets the scene for the next federal budget, which will be tabled on March 19.

If this is accepted by Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, the subsidy for purchasing a new electric vehicle could reach $13,000 in Québec, and up to $16,000 in BC (combining CEVforBC and SCRAP-IT programs).


Public “informal discussion” at Montréal’s Centre for Sustainable Development
Interim report from the Advisory Council on Climate Action