Flag Waving in the Wind and the Cars and Buildings Below
Transport Canada is taking steps to increase zero-emission vehicle adoption with the launch of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Council.

Transport Canada’s new Zero-Emission Vehicle Council, composed of industry and government members, will set the agenda to accelerate the adoption of ZEVs in Canada

Transport Canada is taking steps to increase zero-emission vehicle adoption with the launch of the Zero-Emission Vehicle Council.

The ZEV Council is the government’s response to stakeholders’ requests for a forum to engage all government departments simultaneously to advance and meet Canada’s ZEV sales targets and GHG reduction goals. 

The council was officially launched in March of this year.

“The ZEV landscape in Canada has progressed significantly in recent years and the Government of Canada is now firmly in implementation mode with respect to key measures to accelerate ZEV adoption,” says a spokesperson for Transport Canada in an email statement to Electric Autonomy.

“Therefore, the ZEV Council was launched with the objective of working collaboratively to address opportunities and challenges to increase ZEV adoption, inform government measures, and improve customer experience to support meeting Canada’s ZEV sales targets.”

Leading experts from Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and Canada Infrastructure Bank officially make up the council. Representatives from the Privy Council Office, Infrastructure Canada, and Department of Finance Canada will also occasionally participate. As well the council will include other provincial-territorial governments, industry and non-governmental organizations and academia.

There are currently 42 member organizations of the ZEV Council. The member list will evolve over time, says the spokesperson.

Recently, the council selected the EV Society, a national advocacy group representing electric vehicle owners across Canada, to take part in the council. Other industry stakeholders including Plug’N Drive, Electric Mobility Canada, Clean Energy Canada, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association and Global Automakers of Canada are also part of the council.

Council mandate to drive progress

To ensure an effective and focused approach between all governments and multiple stakeholders, the ZEV Council identifies three to four priority topics each year. The topics reflect two streams: one for light-duty vehicles and one for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs.

For 2023-24, the council selected affordability; ZEV charging and refuelling; and public and industry confidence as the top priority areas of the year.

“A fourth topic on grid readiness will be covered under the new Canada Electricity Advisory Council, with Natural Resources Canada playing a liaison role between the two,” says the spokesperson.

The council’s main functions will be to:

  • Assess the need for further analysis, research, development, and policy interventions to enhance public and industry confidence in zero-emission vehicles;
  • Offer feedback to the federal government on ZEV projections, methodologies, and analyses, such as ZEV sales projections and the required number of charging stations;
  • Share expertise, data, information, and lessons learned on ZEVs, encompassing national and international trends, developments, and GHG reduction forecasts; and
  • Provide advice on achieving Canada’s ZEV sales targets and reducing light-duty vehicle GHG emissions. This includes analyzing both public and private sector policies and programs and monitoring key indicators and metrics.

Establishing smaller working groups

The ZEV Council will meet quarterly. It has already held two plenary meetings in March and June, and is planning the third one for October, says the spokesperson for Transport Canada.

The council has also formed smaller working groups to address the priority items. The working groups will meet more frequently throughout the year.

Representatives from both the government and industry will co-chair each working group.

This collaborative approach aims to leverage the knowledge and perspectives of various stakeholders. Each working group will be responsible for reporting summary action items and key discussion points to the larger ZEV Council, which will function as a steering committee.

Government representatives within the ZEV Council will share recommendations and deliverables with their respective ministers. This sharing of information will shed light on the barriers faced by Canada in its pursuit of a successful ZEV transition.

The ZEV Council will also engage a third-party facilitator to ensure productive meetings and maximize the use of time and resources. Additionally, the council will develop a forward consultation plan to provide a roadmap for future engagements and keep a record of all events and meetings.