Achieving a zero-emission future for light-duty vehicles

Stakeholder engagement discussion document December 17


This discussion documents provides an overview of the integrated federal strategy to transition the light-duty vehicle sector to zero emission vehicles and updates since consultations on this strategy were last held in March 2021.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is seeking input on additional measures needed to achieve Canada’s mandatory target for all new light-duty vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035, including:

What we heard from stakeholders during consultations in March 2021

The Government of Canada conducted consultations in March with stakeholders to solicit feedback on measures to support zero-emission vehicle uptake in the light-duty vehicle market. Below is a summary of the feedback received during the consultation period.

Decarbonizing on-road transportation requires an integrated federal approach

In April, Canada set a national emissions reductions target in 2030 of forty to forty five percent greenhouse gas reductions below 2005 levels. In order to achieve this goal, the transportation sector, which accounts for twenty five percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, will need to heavily decarbonize. Nearly eighty five percent of this sector’s emission come from on-road transportation, and light-duty vehicles alone count for half of the sector’s emissions. While greenhouse gas emissions from the light-duty vehicle sector have increased every year since 2015, it has also become the sector with the most advanced zero-emission vehicle offerings in the entire market, making these vehicles a key component of transportation decarbonisation.

In the Enhanced Climate Plan, Canada committed to continue aligning with the most ambitious North American performance-based greenhouse gas standards for post-2025 vehicles while also mandating the sale of zero-emission vehicles to achieve the mandatory zero-emission vehicle sales target of one hundred percent by 2035. In June, the Government set a mandatory zero-emission vehicle sales target of one hundred percent by 2035 while also committing to consult on both mandatory measures and interim 2025 and 2030 zero-emission vehicle sales targets. In the November Throne Speech, the Government of Canada stated it would mandate the sale of zero-emission vehicles to help Canadians breathe cleaner air.

Additional progress has also been made at the provincial level in setting goals for future zero-emission vehicle adoption. The Government of Quebec announced in its 2030 Plan for a Green Economy to have one and a half million electric vehicles on the road in Quebec in 2030 and no sales of new gasoline-powered cars and passenger trucks as of 2035. The government of BC has set new light-duty zero-emission vehicle sales targets of twenty six percent by 2026, ninety percent by 2030 and one hundred percent by 2035 in its Roadmap to 2030.

Federal policy levers for zero-emission vehicle deployment

As the Government of Canada works on future zero-emission vehicle policies, it has a number of federal policy levers it could utilize in order to achieve these goals, including:

Continued alignment with United States

Historically, Canada has incorporated the greenhouse gas standards for light-duty vehicles of the United States by reference into Canada’s regulations, meaning that Canada automatically adopts new United States standards once the United States finishes finalizing them. The Biden administration has announced new standards for model year 2023-2026 vehicles, which are expected to be finalized by December 2021, along with indicating that even more stringent standards for post-model year 2026 will be determined in 2024.

While the United States has established a goal of fifty percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030, it has not announced any national sales targets for 2035 as Canada has. However, the state of California, which accounts for a significant portion of the overall US automotive market, has set a course to end sales of internal combustion passenger vehicles by 2035.

Getting to one hundred percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035

Government is committed to work with partners to develop interim targets, mandating the sale of zero-emission vehicles, and to develop additional mandatory measures as needed to meet the mandatory zero-emission vehicle sales targets.

When designing policies for the Government of Canada to undertake, the following will be considered:

Key discussion questions

Complementary measures

The Government committed to using a combination of regulations and investments to ensure that Canada reaches the 2035 target. The Government has already invested more than one billion dollars to support consumers and industry.

Key discussion questions

Other considerations

Achieving one hundred percent zero-emission vehicle sales may pose challenges for particular communities or households in Canada, including:

Key discussion questions

Next steps

Environment and Climate Change Canada will be meeting with stakeholders over the coming five weeks to solicit further feedback to inform the Department’s analysis and policy recommendations. 

Written feedback from all stakeholders will be accepted until January 21, 2022 and should be sent to

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