Updated March 29 re associated layoffs at Windsor plant
Canada’s federal Budget 2019 delivered on March 19, included a number of policies aimed at speeding up EV adoption: a 2040 deadline to phase out new internal combustion vehicle sales, $130 million over the next five years to build electric vehicle charging stations, and consumer rebates for purchases of electric and hybrid vehicles ($5000 for purchases under $45K). On March 22, CTV Windsor reported on a protest rally by Unifor Local 444 and local NDP politicans, who are infuriated that the EV consumer incentives program carries a price limit set at $45K – which excludes the Canadian-built Pacifica Hybrid, priced at $54,000. The CBC also reported “Federal rebate on electric cars will push consumers to buy American, NDP says” .
Brian Masse, NDP Member of Parliament for Windsor-West is promoting a petition demanding to have all Canadian-built hybrids, including the Pacifica Hybrid, added to the list of incentive-eligible vehicles.
Update: On March 28, the Windsor Star reported “FCA Canada to stop third shift at Windsor Assembly Plant, cutting 1,500 jobs”. The article quotes a company email which states: “In order to better align production with global demand at its Windsor Assembly Plant, FCA notified Unifor today that it intends to return the plant to a traditional two-shift operation, beginning Sept. 30, 2019….Retirement packages will be offered to eligible employees. The Company will make every effort to place indefinitely laid off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available based on seniority.” The plant will also be on shutdown for the weeks of April 8 and 15. Although Premier Ford is quoted as saying that the government will “fight tooth and nail” for the workers, there is no mention of restoring the electric vehicle purchase incentives which the Ford government discontinued in Summer 2018.
In further critiques of the electric vehicle incentive package: Almost immediately, critics pointed out that there were no sales mandates for auto manufacturers, despite previous findings that car dealers were failing to meet a high consumer demand- for example, in Batteries Not Included (2018).
“Stalled: why North American lags as China and Europe lead the way on electric vehicles” is an Opinion piece by Will Dubitsky in the National Observer (March 20), which calls the EV purchase incentives “a halfway measure offering less than the consumer rebate programs elsewhere,” and judging the $130 million over five years for charging and refuelling stations “mediocre” compared to equivalent commitments in California and the EU.
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood calls the incentives “modest” in his overall analysis of Budget 2019, “Budget fiddles while climate crisis burns” (March 20).