As Ontario’s 2022 provincial election campaign takes shape, we’ve taken stock of all four main parties’ platform pledges on electric vehicles, charging infrastructure rebates, clean transit and the industry supply chain
With campaign season almost in full swing for the upcoming 2022 election in Ontario, each of the four major parties are in the process of releasing their platforms. One of the major planks for each are program and policy commitments to transition Ontario to zero-emission mobility — both in terms of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption and developing clean auto manufacturing.
To help readers understand the policy alternatives being presented to Ontario voters, Electric Autonomy Canada has compiled the transportation-related commitments from the provincial Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Green parties as related to ZEVs, charging infrastructure, hydrogen, manufacturing and public transit.
The information presented below comes from the official party platforms unless otherwise cited, and reflects the campaign promises to date.
Progressive Conservative party
After winning the provincial election in 2018, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party leader, Doug Ford, scrapped the province’s EV purchase incentive and cancelled or, in some cases, uninstalled several EV charging stations. But more recently, in particular the first half of 2022, the Conservative government went on an investment blitz to bolster and attract EV manufacturing to the province’s auto sector. That thrust now forms the core of the party’s election platform.
Their investments include:
- $295 million to Ford to produce battery EVs and five new EV models at its Oakville assembly complex;
- $259 million in grant support to General Motors to transform the company’s Oshawa and Ingersoll manufacturing facilities to build all‐electric commercial vehicles;
- $131.6 million in grant support to Honda to upgrade and retool its plants in Alliston and begin manufacturing hybrid models; and
- Over $1 billion in commitments to Stellantis to retool its assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton in order to build electric vehicles, support the automaker’s joint investment with LG Energy Solution to build an EV battery cell plant in Windsor; and to build two new R&D centres in the province.
However, Premier Ford continues to dismiss the idea of relaunching an electric vehicle incentives program in the province. It’s been a while since he last described rebates as subsidies “for millionaires,” but he and his government have so far stood firm on that position heading into the campaign.
In the provincial government’s 2022 budget, released April 28, which doubles as the party’s platform (it won’t be passed before the election), the Ontario Conservatives remain focused on making Ontario a major EV and battery manufacturing hub.
“In November 2021, Ontario announced Phase 2 of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the government’s plan to build the next generation of vehicles in Ontario by securing auto production mandates to build electric and hybrid vehicles. The government will also help transform the supply chain by supporting the exploration, mining and production of critical minerals to create a domestic battery ecosystem and encourage research and development,” reads the budget, in part.
The party plans to advance the province’s critical mineral strategy in a five-year roadmap that, it says, will strengthen Ontario’s position as a global leader in supplying minerals to better support EV and battery supply chains.
The Conservatives are also promising to invest $1 billion to build critical infrastructure, such as all-season roads, to facilitate access to the mineral-rich area in the Ring of Fire and are investing $2 million in 2022–23 and $3 million in 2023–24 to create a Critical Minerals Innovation Fund to help industry research better ways to extract and process critical minerals.
If the Ontario Liberal Party, led by Steven Del Duca, ends up returning to power in the 2022 election, it is promise to bring back the provincial incentive program for EVs, which the Ford government scrapped in 2018.
Under the previous Liberal government, led by Kathleen Wynne from 2013 to 2018, Ontario had an EV rebate program that provided up to $14,000 to buy an electric car, up to a purchase price cap of $150,000 and $1,000 to install a home charger.
This time around, the Del Duca Liberals are proposing the following:
- up to $8,000 on the purchase or lease of an EV (excluding luxury vehicles) with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $55,000 for a car with six seats. The rebate will also be valid for vehicles with seven or more seats at no more than $60,000 MSRP;
- Up to $1,500 will be offered through the program for charging equipment installation for homes; and
- A 30 per cent subsidy for building charging infrastructure in order to extend the availability of charging stations in apartment buildings, workplaces, parking lots, city streets and all OnRoute and GO stations across the province.
For public transit users, Del Duca announced in May the Liberals are making a “buck-a-ride” promise to cut transit fares to $1 per ride until 2024 on all municipal lines, as well as Go Transit and Ontario Northland service.
The Liberals have yet to release a fully costed platform detailing how these promises will be paid for, but one is expected in the coming days.
New Democratic party
As part of its election platform, leader Andrea Horwath’s Ontario New Democratic Party revealed a zero-emission vehicle strategy that requires all new cars and trucks sold in Ontario to be zero emissions by 2035 (in line with the federal mandate), as well as help municipalities electrify their transit fleets by 2040.
The key highlights of its platform include:
- Provide Ontario auto manufacturing plants financial incentives to re-tool to produce EVs;
- Set a province-wide EV sales target of 15 per cent by 2025, 45 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035;
- Offer “strong incentives” to purchase EVs, with added incentive to buy manufactured-in-Canada. However, these incentives will exclude luxury vehicles;
- Completely electrify government fleets by 2030;
- Provide $600 to install EV charging station at homes;
- Require all new home builds to have vehicle charging capacity; and
- Build charging stations on public properties, such as along roadways and at GO Train stations.
So far the NDP is the only party to release its fully costed, standalone election platform, with the other parties choosing to announce just select elements of their plans.
So far, the Green Party of Ontario, led by Mike Schreiner, has the province’s most ambitious EV-related policy platform.
In an effort to help EVs become more affordable, the party is offering to:
- Make the upfront cost of purchasing EVs and e-bikes less expensive, with a rebate of up to $10,000 for a new electric car and $1,000 for a used electric car or e-bike;
- Make low-cost financing for EVs readily available so most Ontarians can benefit from the lower total cost of ownership that EVs provide; and
- Adopt a zero-emission vehicle mandate to ensure that a wide range of EVs is available for purchase in Ontario.
The party also revealed a Roadmap to Net-Zero: The Ontario Greens’ Climate and Environmental Plan, where they outline plans to support more charging infrastructure installation, which includes:
- Significantly expand charging infrastructure in both public and private settings, including parking lots, transit stations, highway rest stops and homes;
- Require every 400-series highway rest stop to host a fast-charging station by 2023.
- Require all new or re-surfaced parking spots (public and private) to install EV charging by 2023;
- Require existing parking lots and garages (public or private, above ground or below) to install access to EV charging in 25 per cent of spots by 2024, in 50 per cent of spots by 2030, and 75 per cent by 2035; and
- Amend the building code to require new homes to have EV charging equipment installed.
And finally, as part of their Zero-carbon Transportation Plan, the party will:
- Add 4,000 electric and fuel-cell buses by 2030;
- Electrify GO Transit and Metrolinx; and
- Triple public transit trips by 2030 by making transit clean, convenient, frequent, fast, safe, affordable and accessible.
ZEVs emerge as ballot box issue
In contrast to previous elections when zero-emission vehicles and “green” efforts were considered fringe or even frivolous issues, this year’s provincial election in Ontario is cementing the transition to zero-emission mobility as a core pillar in government election platforms.
In an election coming in the midst of a global pandemic, a war and an economic recovery totalling hundreds of billions of dollars in just Ontario alone, the significance of ZEVs remaining at the fore of voters’ and elected officials’ minds is not missed.
In one month when voters head to the polls on June 2, no matter which candidate they tick the ballot for it is, more than any previous Ontario election, a vote for sustainability, climate and a transition to zero-emission mobility.