Government launches consultations on commitment to require all new cars sold in Canada be zero emission by 2035

News release

December 17, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Climate change is impacting Canadians, their communities, and the economy in ways never seen before. The Government of Canada understands that taking action to address climate change is critical to ensuring clean air and a safe, sustainable environment. To that effect, the government is taking action, along with Canadians in all parts of the country, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to cut pollution. Reducing pollution in the transportation sector, one of Canada’s largest sources of emissions, through the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, is one of the most effective ways to protect the environment, improve air quality, and build a prosperous net-zero economy by 2050.

Reducing pollution from the transportation sector is critically important, as it accounts for a quarter of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions—more than half of which come from light-duty vehicles (or LDVs), like passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks. In order to reduce LDV emissions, Canada is committed to mandating that all new light-duty vehicles sold be zero emission by 2035, with an interim sales target of at least 50 percent by 2030. To that end, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, today released a discussion document to support consultations on accelerating Canada’s adoption of zero-emission light‑duty vehicles.

The North American automotive sector is deeply integrated. A common set of requirements for reducing LDV emissions in Canada and the US has historically provided maximum benefits to Canadians at the lowest cost, while contributing to the competitiveness of the Canadian auto sector. To further reduce emissions from the transportation sector and support a competitive automotive sector, the Government of Canada committed in December 2020’s strengthened climate plan to align Canada’s LDV regulations with the most stringent performance standards in North America post-2025.  

Zero-emission LDVs are on the road today, and demand for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) is growing in Canada as auto-makers signal they are gearing up to produce them in greater volume, with more models to choose from. The Government is now consulting with Canadians on the path forward to mandate and achieve its 2030 and 2035 ZEV sales targets. The consultation includes a series of questions for public and stakeholder consideration, including:

  • What should be the approach to achieving 100 percent in 2035, including ZEV sales of at least 50 percent in 2030?
  • In addition to ZEV sales targets of at least 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035, are additional interim targets needed to allow Canada to succeed? What should those targets be?
  • The Government of Canada will be mandating the sale of ZEVs. How should this be designed and what should be considered to ensure its success? What are the mechanisms in other jurisdictions’ mandatory ZEV regulations that should be used or avoided?
  • What issues impede the adoption of ZEVs in northern and remote communities and by low-income households? How can the Government of Canada address these issues?
  • What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for the electricity grid as a result of accelerating our electric vehicles sales targets?

While light-duty vehicles account for the bulk of transportation emissions in Canada, the government recognizes that achieving its climate goals also requires action to reduce emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as utility vans, delivery trucks, buses, dump trucks, and long-haul tractor-trailers. To that end, the government today also published a discussion document to inform consultations to lower emissions and help Canada reach its target of 100 percent zero‑emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales, where feasible, by 2040.

All interested parties are invited to submit responses on the two discussion documents by January 21, 2022.


“Cutting pollution from the transportation sector is critical to combatting climate change. We know we already have road-ready solutions in the passenger vehicle market, and now we must work to accelerate market adoption of this transformative technology. The global challenge of climate change can be daunting, but zero-emission vehicles are a significant measure that is literally ready to roll.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Government of Canada is committed to taking bold action on climate change, and this includes accelerating the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. The consultations announced today will give Canadians an opportunity to shape Canada’s path towards 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle sales by 2035, including more ambitious interim target for 2030. Pursuing a zero-emission vehicle sales mandate will complement Transport Canada’s Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program, which has made it easier for Canadians to be part of the solution to climate change while reducing their daily driving costs.”
– The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“Getting more Canadians into zero-emission vehicles is a key part of our plan to build a cleaner, healthier future, and the consultations launched today will shape our government’s ambitious mandatory sales targets and climate goals.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources

“By building on Canada’s competitive advantages in the low-carbon economy, we will continue to create good jobs for Canadian auto workers, while making it easier for Canadians to get behind the wheel of a zero-emission vehicle. By working closely with industry, labour, and other partners, we can leverage our shared ambition to be leaders in the transformation to zero emission vehicles.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • Heavy- and medium-duty vehicles accounted for close to 10 percent of Canada’s overall emissions. Without action, heavy- and medium-duty vehicles will be the largest source of emissions from the transportation sector by 2030, surpassing all emissions from cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

  • The first stakeholder consultation on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles took place on December 2, a day before the Government of Canada launched public consultations on the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan. Consultations will inform the Government of Canada’s go-forward approach to help the transportation sector reduce its emissions in a safe, fair, and ambitious way and support the long-term objective to decarbonize the sector.

  • The International Energy Agency’s May 2021 report entitled Net Zero by 2050 stated that ending the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by 2035 is a necessary step towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • Canada’s ZEV sales mandate is in line with the level of ambition of other leading jurisdictions and major economies, such as the United Kingdom and California. Within Canada, British Columbia and Quebec have also set 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales requirements.

  • To date, the Government has invested more than $1 billion in measures to support increasing zero-emission vehicle adoption, including:

    • Providing $587 million towards Transport Canada’s Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program, which has helped over 125,000 Canadians and Canadian businesses make the switch to zero-emission vehicles; and
    • Providing more than $460 million to support the build-out of a coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle fast chargers; electric vehicle chargers where Canadians live, work, and play; natural gas stations along key freight corridors; and hydrogen stations in metropolitan centres.
    • These investments have supported projects that will result in more than 16,500 new electric vehicle chargers, ten hydrogen stations, and twenty natural gas stations.
  • The Government of Canada has also introduced new measures to support the transition of Canada’s automotive sector to support the manufacture of ZEVs, including a 50 percent corporate tax cut for businesses manufacturing ZEVs and components in Canada. Supports include:

Associated links


Gabriel Brunet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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