Ontario 'not likely' to achieve emissions targets under Ford: Auditor
QUEEN'S PARK -- Premier Doug Ford’s plans to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are “not yet supported by sound evidence” according to Ontario’s Auditor General.
Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report examined the Progressive Conservative’s “Made in Ontario” environmental plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Lysyk’s report states the ministry “did not use best practices” to design its program or to create emissions reductions targets.
“Several estimated emmissions reductions were based on illustrative scenarios with no feasibility analysis or identified policy mechanisms to achieve them,” the report stated.
Based on her audit of the program, Lysyk concluded the Ford government “is not likely to achieve” its proposed emission reduction targets.
Shortly after taking office in 2018, the PC Party cancelled the cap and trade program— Ontario’s strategy to cut down on its output of greenhouse gasses. The move automatically triggered the implementation of a federal carbon tax imposed on the province, which the Ford government has challenged in court.
The Auditor General also found the Ford government’s climate change targets were predicated on programs that were cancelled by the Progressive Conservatives.
Lysyk said the government assumed there would be 1.3 million electric vehicles on Ontario’s roads by 2030, reducing the province’s dependency on fossil fuels and helping reduce harmful emissions.
That estimate, however, is based on an electric vehicle purchasing program that introduced by the former Liberal government and cancelled by the Ford government in the summer of 2018.
“This is a more than 3,000 per cent increase from approximately 41,000 electric vehicles in 2019,” the report said, adding that the PC government has not yet identified a program to incentivize drivers to switch to electric.
The auditor made 19 recommendations including appointing a Climate Change Advisory Panel — which the government recently acted on — and to base its estimates on “sound evidence.”