If elected to a second term, Premier Ford said his government will look to maintain Ontario’s recent momentum on the automotive file.
The Progressive Conservative approach to the EV shift has emphasized helping automakers and parts suppliers reduce the cost of doing business in the province. This has included an electricity-rate reduction for industry as well as significant financial contributions to support building EVs.
“I believe that if we invest in the industry and the sector, then everyone’s going to benefit very, very well. And I truly, truly believe [EV adoption] is going to increase and grow,” Ford told Automotive News Canada.
The government launched the second phase of its auto-sector road map last fall, pledging to work toward a series of goals that include securing EV product mandates for existing vehicle plants, attracting a new assembly plant to the province and establishing a battery-mineral supply chain anchored by at least two battery-cell plants.
Two examples: Government funding was recently firmed up for General Motors’ CAMI plant in Ingersoll, which will undergo a retrofit to build BrightDrop electric delivery vans by the end of the year, and the announcement on March 23 of a $5-billion LG-Stellantis battery-cell plant in Windsor.
While financial support for automakers factors heavily in the PC plan, incentives for consumers remain entirely absent. The government scrapped a previous rebate program after winning the 2018 election, and Ford indicated it would not be returning. His preference is to support building an industry that will create jobs and longer-term benefits.
Similarly, he said he opposes EV sales mandates currently planned by the federal Liberal government.
“I’m a private-sector person, a businessperson, a numbers guy,” Ford said. “I truly believe the technology and the auto sector will drive the market along with the consumer, not government. We’ll support them. We’ll create the environment, but we don’t dictate to the market.”
Ontario New Democratic Party