The Ontario government is extending a temporary tax cut intended to help drivers save money at gas pumps until next summer.
The legislation, if passed, would keep the tax break in place which cuts the price of both gas and fuel.
“The vast majority of people are struggling right now,” Premier Doug Ford said, speaking at a gas station in Etobicoke on Tuesday.
“They’re struggling with rising costs of gas and groceries, with high rents and mortgage costs, with just how expensive life is getting.”
The 5.7-cent cut, which first went into effect in July 2022, is being extended for a second time. It was initially expected to end in December of this year but will now remain in effect until June 30 of 2024. It will also maintain a 5.3-cents-per-litre reduction in the price of diesel fuel.
Ford first promised to lower gas prices by 10 cents per litre during the 2018 election campaign.
At the time, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party said that would be done by scrapping the province’s cap-and-trade system and shrinking the gas tax.
The government did end cap-and-trade soon after the 2018 election, meant to lower prices by 4.3 cents a litre, but that prompted the federal carbon tax backstop to kick in, negating those savings. Ford’s government tried fighting the levy in court, but lost.
Ford also called on the federal government to scrap its carbon tax Tuesday, saying it’s not fair that Justin Trudeau’s government has given a reprieve to some but not others.
The province estimates the tax breaks would save households an average of $260 over the entire course of the price reduction.
The news conference comes a day after Ontario’s New Democrats said the province has given out 18 Minister’s Zoning Orders for developer projects to guests who attended the wedding of the premier’s daughter last summer.
The land-planning tool can be used to fast-track development in a given area and the Progressive Conservative government has been criticized in the past for how often it uses the mechanism.
Later Monday, Environmental Defence released thousands of pages of documents pertaining to the government’s decision to expand urban development boundaries — another controversial move Ford’s government has walked back.