Toronto, Ont. – Environmental Defence applauds Canada’s federal government for strengthening Canada’s electric vehicle (EV) sales target. As referenced by Minister Alghabra, the International Energy Agency recently said that 100 per cent of light-duty vehicle sales must be electric by 2035 if we hope to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

However, as Minister Wilkinson mentioned, there are many countries with a more aggressive target than what Canada just committed to. As a developed country and a major contributor to climate change, Canada really should aim to be among the global leaders when it comes to vehicle electrification and consider an earlier date to reach the 100 per cent EV sales target.

Cleaner cars mean cleaner air and avoided deaths. Research done by the University of Toronto for Environmental Defence found that if every vehicle in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area were electric, that would lead to billions of dollars in social benefits, including about $10,000 in social benefits for every EV replacing a gas-powered car. The same would be true in other regions of this country. In addition, Canada cannot reach our greenhouse gas targets if emissions from cars, SUVs and pickups, which are currently growing, are not curtailed.

A target is one thing, but it’s an empty promise if it’s not backed up by policy to ensure it’s met. As our recently released report illustrated, car companies are more interested in selling big gas guzzlers than electric cars. They aggressively market these vehicles, while keeping EV supply scarce. As a result, 4 of 5 cars sold in Canada are SUVs and pickup trucks but only 3.5 per cent of vehicles are electric. Canada is now saying the target is mandatory and supply side policies will be part of the mix. That’s good. If the government is serious about reaching this new target, it will need to introduce a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate to require car companies to actually make EVs available in Canada.

As our report argued, Canada should also:

  • Put new taxes on SUVs and pickups, and divert the additional funds for EV incentives.
  • Strengthen fuel economy regulations to ensure that Canada’s regulations are aligned with the toughest in North America.
  • Improve financial incentives to make EVs more affordable for everyone.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence,