Ontario Liberals to offer $8K electric vehicle rebate in campaign platform

Ontario Liberals to offer $8K electric vehicle rebate in campaign platform-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca will announce an election campaign promise in Toronto on Tuesday to provide $8,000 incentives for buying electric vehicles and a provincial subsidy program to cover some of the cost of installing EV charging stations. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

The Ontario Liberals will unveil a campaign pledge on Tuesday to provide an $8,000 incentive for buying or leasing a new electric vehicle should they win the provincial election next June. 

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca will make the announcement at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, along with a campaign promise for a provincial subsidy program to cover 30 per cent of the cost of electric charging stations in parking lots, apartment buildings and workplaces.

The Liberal pledge comes less than a week after Premier Doug Ford announced a plan for Ontario to become an electric vehicle manufacturing hub, while rejecting the idea of bringing back the EV rebates his government scrapped in 2018.

The pace of electric vehicle sales in Ontario lags well behind those of Quebec and British Columbia, which both have provincial incentives.

The provincial rebate proposed by the Liberals would be valid for the same vehicles as the federal government’s existing incentive program: those with a manufacturers’ suggested retail price of no more than $55,000. The rebate would also be valid for vehicles with seven or more seats costing up to $60,000.

Tesla-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government scrapped rebates for electric vehicles in 2018, and earlier this month Ford said he ‘didn’t believe in giving millionaires rebates on over $100,000 Tesla cars.’ (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

An Ontario Liberal official provided CBC News with information in advance of Del Duca’s announcement, which will also include a promise of a $1,500 rebate for the purchase of home charging equipment.

Both the New Democrats and the Green Party have already released detailed environmental platforms for the upcoming election campaign that feature promises on electric vehicles.

The NDP proposal sets dramatically increased sales targets for EVs, aiming for 45 per cent of all vehicles sold in Ontario in 2030 to be zero emission. The New Democrats are also promising “strong” financial incentives for buying non-luxury electric vehicles, $600 grants to purchase at-home charging stations, expanding the network of charging stations province-wide, and electrifying the government’s own fleet of vehicles.

There are similar pledges in the Greens’ platform, including unspecified rebates on the purchase of electric vehicles. Their targets for uptake are even more ambitious: completely phasing out the sale of fossil fuel passenger vehicles by 2030, requiring half of all spaces in parking lots to have charging stations by that same year, and making the entire government fleet zero-emission by 2025.

Ford has repeatedly refused to endorse EV rebates when questioned about the issue this month.

“I’m not going to give rebates to guys that are buying $100,000 cars — millionaires,” he said on Nov. 10.

Then on Nov. 17 , when launching the next phase of his government’s auto industry strategy, Ford said: “I didn’t believe in giving millionaires rebates on over $100,000 Tesla cars — nothing against Tesla, gorgeous cars —  but you know, I just didn’t believe in it. Let’s see how the market dictates.”

In the third quarter of this year, zero-emission vehicles accounted for three per cent of all new vehicle registrations in Ontario, compared with 9.9 per cent in Quebec and 13 per cent in British Columbia, according to a new report by the firm IHS Markit


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