Ontario government to provide incentives that will fight climate change and support green technology

Ontario, Canada Helps Electric Vehicle Drivers Plug In

Shirley Townsend | Economic Affairs - Ontario

Why is Ontario encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and the Plug’n Drive Program?

Ontario has deep roots in green technology and initiatives. Supporting the move to electric vehicles is part of the province's plan to create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- a natural next step in addressing climate change and encouraging the growth of this emerging, and yet promising market. The government's vision is to have one of every 20 vehicles on the road be an electric vehicle by 2020. By helping Ontario drivers install home charging stations, we’re encouraging off-peak charging. These stations contribute to grid reliability, boost vehicle driving time and help ensure the proper installation of third-party certified home charging stations. Most importantly, the intent of the electric vehicle program is to reward early adopters and make it easier for people to buy and drive electric vehicles.

Can you tell us more about the Ontario’s Electric Vehicles Incentive Program and how consumers can participate in it?

In short, Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program allows Ontarians to receive a rebate of either $5,000 or $8,500 toward the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric vehicle.   

Two vehicle models qualify for the program -- plug-in hybrid battery electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) both of which are rechargeable by plugging them into an electric grid. Conventional hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) do not qualify for this particular incentive program.

The amount of the incentive is determined by the size of the vehicle’s battery. For instance, a 4 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery will receive $5,000 and a 17kWh battery vehicle will receive an $8,500 rebate. Rebates on leased vehicles will be prorated depending on the term of the lease with a 36-month lease qualifying for the full incentive.

Information on the program and the specifics regarding the rebate can be found on the Ministry of Transportation’s website

What was the level of Ontario’s involvement in Toyota’s Project Green Light?

In 2011, the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the Government of Canada, announced its support of the production of the RAV4 electric vehicle through their investment in Toyota's Project Green Light. The auto industry is an important driver of Ontario's economy, supporting 400,000 jobs across the province and generating billions of dollars in economic activity. The total investment among all partners was speculated to reach $545 million, with Ontario and the Government of Canada each providing $70.8 million towards Project Green Light.

Project Green Light allowed the province to secure 6,500 jobs for Ontario families by helping Toyota increase productivity at its Cambridge and Woodstock assembly plants. Specifically, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation and the Government of Canada supported Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada’s Project Green Light by investing in productivity upgrades, including new machinery and equipment; employee training; and continuous improvement projects to increase efficiency and reduce waste. These upgrades aided both the company’s and province’s goal of producing cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles at Toyota's Ontario plants.

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan is an aggressive one. Can you explain further what other programs the Province is planning to implement under this plan?

Five years ago, the Ontario government launched the Climate Change Action Plan, a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to six percent below 1990 levels by 2014, and to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The province also introduced Climate Ready: Ontario’s Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, a plan to prepare for, and respond to, the impacts of climate change.

Since the initial launch of these initiatives, several significant milestones have been achieved. Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in North America to close coal-fired generating stations. The Province is closing the remaining coal-fired generating stations in Southeastern Ontario by the end of 2013 with all stations scheduled to shutter by the end of 2014. This aggressive initiative has already resulted in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other contaminants, benefitting the environment and the health of all Ontarians. Developing compact communities with a focus on regional transit and infrastructure is key to overall lower greenhouse gas emissions and is central to managing the effects of climate change. Today, Ontario has the second lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in Canada — about half the national average.

What other clean/green incentives are available to Ontarians and business?

The Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund is a discretionary, non-entitlement grant and loan program designed to support leading-edge investments in Ontario. Our grants support four priority sectors, one of which includes clean and green technology innovation. Ultimately, the grants support companies making anchor investments in Ontario that support cluster development and leading-edge initiatives that build long-term prosperity and global competitiveness.

The Ontario Innovation Demonstration Fund provides funding for companies to help commercialize their innovative green technologies with a preference toward environmental, alternative energy, bio-products, hydrogen and other globally significant technologies. A company could qualify for a grant of up to $4 million.

What information can you share about Ontario’s clean tech sector as a whole?

The goal at the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation is clear: to help grow a strong, innovative economy that provides jobs and prosperity for all Ontarians. To accomplish that, we offer the programs, services and tools businesses need to innovate and compete in today’s fast-changing global economy. We also have worked hard to build a culture in Ontario that attracts and rewards innovative clean tech companies who would like to do business here. Aside from the programs discussed earlier, we have one of the most diverse and highly-skilled workforces in the world.

Global investment in clean energy reached an all-time high in 2010 of $243 billion, a 30% increase from 2009. Here in Canada, the clean tech sector grew at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 47% during the worst recession in recent history. Ontario’s clean tech sector is worth $8 billion (CAD) in annual revenue and $1 billion (CAD) in export.


About Shirley Townsend, Consul (Economic Affairs - Ontario) 

In April 2011, Shirley Townsend started as Senior Economic Officer at the Ontario International Marketing Centre (IMC) in Los Angeles.

Shirley previously served as Ontario’s Senior Economic Officer in New Delhi from 2007 until March 2011. Her focus in India was raising Ontario’s profile in key sectors such as ICT (Information and Communications Technology), life sciences, and clean technology, in particular renewable energy.  She worked on the organization of several high-profile public sector trade missions as well as numerous business delegations.  

Prior to her New Delhi posting, Shirley was the International Marketing Consultant for South and Southeast Asia at the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade’s International Trade Branch.  Before covering the Asian market, Shirley had extensive experience in the U.S. helping companies to export.  She covered the ICT sector and travelled to California and other parts of the U.S. to promote Ontario’s expertise. Shirley holds a B.A. from York University in Toronto.

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