Statement by Nate Wallace, Clean Transportation Program Manager

Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People –Canada is poised to soon join the ranks of leading jurisdictions, such as the European Union, California, Quebec and British Columbia, in phasing out the sale of new gasoline cars at the pace required by global net-zero objectives. This would represent following through with Canada’s COP26 commitment of transitioning to 100 per cent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.

The claims that Canada can meet its zero-emission vehicle adoption targets with only incentives and charging infrastructure are false and do not hold up to scrutiny. Environmental Defence’s most recent report proved that these policy tools alone will fail to meet ZEV adoption targets. The only way to ensure Canada stays on the path to net-zero emissions is by requiring automakers to bring clean cars to the Canadian market, rather than allowing us to fall behind jurisdictions with more ambitious climate policy.

The Canadian auto industry receives significant taxpayer subsidies to build electric vehicle battery plants. In exchange, Canadians expect they will act in good faith in the fight against climate change. Regulating zero-emission vehicle supply is the only way to ensure Canadians are the first to access the zero-emission vehicles we are paying to help build. Automakers can’t have their cake and eat it too, they must transition to making 100 per cent zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 in line with Canada’s global climate commitments.

Background info:

  • This briefing note outlines Environmental Defence’s expectations for the final regulations expected by the end of 2023.
  • Environmental Defence and Equiterre also published a report on “Modelling a Zero-Emission Vehicle Standard and Subsidies in Canada’s Light-Duty Vehicle Sector (2023-2035),” that found only a ZEV sales regulation is capable of achieving Canada’s ZEV sales targets.
  • The report highlights that even with a significant buildout of ZEV charging infrastructure, implementing the auto lobby recommendations of simply tripling existing ZEV purchase incentives instead of introducing a ZEV sales regulation would fail to meet sales targets and result in only 65% ZEV market share by 2035.

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.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Paula Gray, Environmental Defence,