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Ontario won't commit to electric vehicle rebates as it promotes electric vehicle production


Ontario's Progressive Conservative government isn't committing to an electric vehicle (EV) rebate program, even as the Premier promises to make the province a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles over the next decade.

Premier Ford revealed a new strategy Wednesday to build 400,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in Ontario by the year 2030, capitalizing on the growing demand for fuel-free means of transportation.

While Ford suggested that the attitude towards rebates is evolving, the government is sending strong signals that Ontario drivers won't receive a rebate to purchase an Ontario-made electric vehicle.

"Let's see what the market dictates," Ford said.

In 2018, shortly after taking office, the premier cancelled the $14,000 electric vehicle rebate offered by the former Liberal government claiming the money would only help millionaires purchase expensive electric vehicles.

The government is now being urged to bring back the rebates to convince more drivers to ditch their gas-powered vehicles and go electric, which the NDP believes would help the premier's electric vehicle production pivot.

"An electric vehicle strategy requires more than just manufacturing batteries," said NDP MPP Peggy Sattler. "We need the charging stations, we need the rebate, we need a government that is willing to show the leadership that's necessary to move Ontario forward to a green economy."

However, several cabinet ministers and their offices wouldn't commit to either bringing back the rebate, or EV charging stations, which are also seen as key to increasing uptake.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy was evasive about a rebate program when asked about it several times at the Ontario Legislature.

"We're very motivated to bring electric vehicle production to this province and replace some of the manufacturing jobs that we lost," Bethlenfalvy told CTV News Toronto.

When asked whether charging stations would be built by the provincial government, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said "it is something we're definitely looking at."

Meanwhile, Environment Minister David Piccini's office emailed CTV News to highlight data from Statistics Canada that showed sales of electric vehicles in 2021 are at an all time high, up 210 per cent from the same time last year.

"It is worth noting that sales are increasing without an incentive and that an incentive only benefitted very wealthy people who could afford these cars with or without a rebate," a spokesperson for Piccini said in the email.

That same data, however, shows a total of 25,353 electric or hybrid vehicles were sold in Ontario in the first half on 2021, representing just shy of eight per cent of all vehicles sold during that time.

In 2020, 4.5 per centof the 600,612 vehicles sold in Ontario were electric or hybrid.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner says incentivizing drivers to switch to electric should be a priority for the province especially with gas prices at record highs.

"You can operate an electric vehicle at one-tenth the cost of an internal combustion vehicle," Schreiner told reporters at Queen's Park. Top Stories

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