Wanted: A new champion for Ontario bill targeting misuse of public EV chargers
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Jul 17, 2019
Stephanie Wallcraft

Pioneering private member’s legislation needs a new backer after the bill’s original sponsor, MPP Paul Calandra, was promoted to cabinet

MPP Paul Calandra with his plug-in hybrid electric car

Pioneering private member’s legislation needs a new backer after the bill’s original sponsor, MPP Paul Calandra, was promoted to cabinet

A private member’s bill tabled in the Ontario legislature that would make blocking an electric vehicle charging station a ticketable offence cannot proceed in its current format — but the MPP who brought it forward is hopeful that another minister will pick up the baton once legislature reconvenes in late October.

MPP Paul Calandra, representing the riding of Markham-Stouffville for the Progressive Conservatives, tabled the bill in early June. However, he was promoted into cabinet as Government House Leader in Premier Doug Ford’s shuffle on June 20, which means that the bill cannot be debated as proposed since Calandra is no longer a private member.

It’s another way of encouraging the growth of the industry that doesn’t include a subsidy”

MPP Paul Calandra

The motivation for the bill, Calandra says, is his own experience as an EV owner.

Charging stations misused

“I recently purchased a [plug-in] hybrid vehicle, a little over a year ago,” he says. “More often than not, when I would go shopping and I wanted to charge my vehicle while I was inside, the station was being occupied by an electric vehicle that was not charging.

“These stations are close to the door, so people [are] using them as a close [parking] spot as opposed to what they were intended for.”

Although Calandra acknowledges that blocking EV charging stations with internal combustion engine vehicles, known as “ICE-ing,” is a problem, he says that it isn’t nearly as strong a factor as compelling EV owners to protect the investment made by business owners who install charging stations.

“EV owners are the worst offenders on this, at least in and around my community and throughout the [Greater Toronto Area],” he says. “Blocking a fast charger is a huge expense to a property that has made that investment to put it in.

The provincial bill would lay a framework that municipalities could take … and customize … to their needs

Devin Arthur, President, EV Society Greater Sudbury

“It’s just recognizing the problem that is there and another way of encouraging the growth of the industry that doesn’t include [an EV purchase] subsidy.”

Bill would unify municipal efforts

Devin Arthur, founder and president of the Electric Vehicle Society of Greater Sudbury, says that the bill’s attempt to unify municipal efforts to address this issue creates a more effective framework.

“In the bylaw we introduced in Sudbury, we made sure to include wording so that it would not only include ICE vehicles blocking spots, but it would also include EV owners who either park and walk away without plugging in or plug in for hours and just leave their cars there all day,” Arthur says. “A lot of people don’t know what those spots are for, so part of these bylaws is also installing new signage and line paint to showcase these spots.

Devin Arthur president of EV Society Greater Sudbury
Devin Arthur president of EV Society Greater Sudbury

“The intention of that [provincial] bill was more to lay a framework so that municipalities could take it and customize it to their needs.”

A representative from Calandra’s office confirmed that plans to consult with stakeholders on the issue are on hold due to the change in circumstances, although some conversations have continued with parties who had already been engaged on the matter.

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