A national zero-emission vehicle standard is key to accelerating uptake in CanadaPembina Institute reacts to House of Commons committee recommendations for ZEV adoption

April 15, 2021

Red electric car at a charger

An electric vehicle charges in Kelowna, B.C. 

TORONTO — CAROLYN KIM, director of transportation at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the release of recommendations from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on zero-emission vehicles (PDF report/HTML):

“The Pembina Institute is pleased to see the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development recommend this week that Canada establish a national zero-emission vehicle standard.

“As we told the committee in November, a ZEV standard is a critical policy that will help increase the supply of ZEVs in Canada and, in turn, speed up the uptake of ZEVs. While there is increasing interest in ZEVs in Canada from both manufacturers and different levels of government, a national ZEV standard is key if we really want to see more widespread adoption of ZEVs. Standards already in place elsewhere, including B.C. and Quebec, are already proving to be effective and application of this policy across the country is important. 

“With transportation emissions making up 25 per cent of Canada’s total emissions, accelerating the adoption of ZEVs is urgently needed to meet Canada’s climate targets. Globally, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 would require that over 50 per cent of passenger car sales be electric — less than 10 years from now. But in Canada, ZEVs represent only around 3 per cent of the market. 

“The 13 recommendations by the committee would help the shift to a low-carbon transportation system. In addition to the implementation of a national ZEV standard, the committee also recommends the development of domestic supply chains for ZEV components, support for automotive sector workers in the transition to ZEV production, collaboration with industry, Indigenous communities and others to ensure the electricity sector is ready for the ZEV demand, and more. 

“That this committee is bipartisan is an indication of the widespread agreement in Canada over the need to shift to ZEVs at a more accelerated pace. We are hopeful federal and provincial governments will be turning these recommendations into action in the very near future, for both the passenger and freight vehicle sectors.”

Quick facts

  • Canada’s current ZEV sector employs around 10,000 workers but with stronger policy is projected to grow to 1.1 million by 2040
  • Most recent figures show transportation as a high source of GHG emissions in major Canadian cities: Metro Vancouver (45 percent); Ottawa (44 per cent); Montreal (40 per cent); Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (34 per cent); Calgary (33 per cent); and Edmonton (31 per cent)
  • A zero-emission vehicle standard would require that an increasing portion of auto manufacturer vehicle sales be zero-emission
  • Since the adoption of Quebec’s ZEV Act in 2016, the percentage of ZEV models available in California that are also available in Quebec increased from 66 per cent to 92 per cent


Eva Salinas
Senior communications lead, Ontario, Pembina Institute


Submission: Reducing barriers for the adoption of light-duty zero-emission vehicles
Report: Power Play: Canada's role in the electric vehicle transition
Report: Building a zero-emission goods-movement system

About the Pembina Institute 

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto. Learn more: www.pembina.org


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