Forty organizations, including one auto dealer in Ontario, have written Environment Minister Catherine McKenna requesting she uphold the “stringent GHG emissions standards” governing automakers and the vehicles they sell in Canada.
The group comprised mostly of green organizations and electric-vehicle proponents, such as Toronto’s Plug’N Drive, is worried the United States will roll back emissions standards, forcing Canada to follow suit because the two countries have shared aligned vehicle emissions-standards for more than 20 years.
“Should the United States weaken its existing approved emissions standards by flatlining them from 2020 onwards, Canada must not follow,” the letter reads, in part. “Canada’s best path forward is to maintain more stringent, scientifically demanded standards by aligning with California and the 13 other states which opt to follow the California regulation.”
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) manages emissions standards, but under U.S. federal law, the state of California is allowed to use a more stringent set vehicle-emissions standards. Other states can choose to follow either the national or California standards.
The Canadian government in August said it will review its own auto emissions regulations in light of the U.S. developments.
“Maintaining stronger emissions standards also aligns with important upcoming federal government policy planks such as a Zero-Emission Vehicle Strategy and a Clean Fuel Standard, and with Canada’s broader goal to protect the health of Canadians by reducing vehicle emissions,” the letter reads.
Barry Cullen Chevrolet Cadillac of Guelph, Ont., is among the 40 groups to sign the letter.
In a news release, General Manager Mark Cullen urged McKenna to not be "swayed by a U.S. attempt to slash pollution standards in cars and trucks.”
"Auto parts manufacturers in the U.S. have pointed out that having stronger standards actually creates jobs, as well as ensuring a competitive advantage in an international market moving to cleaner, more efficient vehicles," Cullen said in the release.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
The group also claims stronger standards also create jobs.
“Stronger U.S. standards were expected to create 100,000 jobs by 2025 and 250,000 U.S. based jobs by 2035,” the letter says, citing a 2018 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
A spokeswoman from McKenna's office emailed the CBC to say the government believes "ensuring cleaner cars and trucks" is "a critical part" of Canada's plan.
"When we first adopted our rules in 2014, we committed to conducting our own mid-term evaluation following the U.S. review, and that is exactly what we are doing," said Sabrina Kim.
"As we continue to consult with Canadians, we are paying close attention to the U.S. regulatory process, and of the actions of California and other like-minded U.S. states," Kim said.
"We will be carefully considering environmental and economic impacts to ensure that we enact the best regulations that work for Canada."