It ‘baffles my mind’ that Ontario lacks EV rebates, says federal environment minister

Guilbeault credited provincial rules requiring automakers to sell a certain percentage of ZEVs in each jurisdiction, plus provincial rebates that stack with the up to $5,000 federal incentive, as the key drivers.

He singled out Ontario, on the other hand, as a province that is not doing enough to help residents access a ZEV. Last year, ZEV sales in the province, which does not offer incentives or have a ZEV mandate, accounted for 3.1 per cent of all Ontario vehicle sales, below the Canadian average of 5.2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.


Guilbeault said the lack of support for consumers “baffles my mind a little bit,” given Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector has racked up billions in investment this year, thanks to ZEVs.

“The Ontario provincial government refuses to offer incentives, where their province is one that is benefitting the most.

“There should be an incentive program … there used to be one,” he added, pointing to the rebate introduced by the former provincial Liberal government, which was scrapped by the Progressive Conservatives following the 2018 election.

The Ontario government, however, has resisted reintroducing the incentive, repeatedly saying its strategy hinges on supporting the manufacturing side of the ZEV market, as opposed to assisting consumers with purchases.

The Ontario ministry of economic development, job creation and trade did not directly address questions posed by Automotive News Canada Sept. 29 on whether it has studied the impact a provincial incentive would have on the province’s base of assembly and parts operations.

Ministry spokeswoman Vanessa De Matteis said the former Liberal government “allowed hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs to leave the province” in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis, which left Ontario “unprepared for the EV future.” The PC government has since reduced the cost of doing business in the province by $7 billion annually, helping attract $16 billion in ZEV and battery supply chain investment, she added.

“These investments secured 100,000 jobs in Ontario, from critical minerals to EVs, with an end-to-end supply chain. Our government has invested over $2 billion in the EV sector, protecting the jobs of auto workers for decades to come.”

De Matteis would not comment on whether the province is being pressured by Ottawa to introduce a ZEV incentive.

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