In its final report to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Advisory Council on Climate Action calls on the federal government to begin a regulatory process to implement a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate by 2022-23. The mandate, it says, should ensure that ZEVs represent at least 10% of new vehicle sales in 2025, 30% in 2030 and 100% in 2040.
Quebec is the only jurisdiction in Canada with a ZEV mandate. British Columbia is expected to follow shortly. Bill 28, the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, which will impose a mandate, was passed on May 29, 2019 and was awaiting Royal Assent as this issue was published.
Independent advisory bodies often overreach in their recommendations to government, but recent history suggests that this group’s recommendations can be well-received. In March 2019, the Advisory Council made interim recommendations on key measures to encourage the uptake of ZEVs across Canada, including a purchase incentive of up to $5,000 that found its way into the federal government’s 2019 budget.
The Advisory Council recommends that a mandate be preceded by near-term voluntary sales targets. These voluntary targets would be in place during what would likely be a lengthy process of consultation leading to the mandate. Voluntary targets would give manufacturers enough time to prepare for compliance at little economic cost. The projected 2022-23 implementation date could coincide with projected price parity between electric and internal combustion passenger vehicles.