How Canada can cut carbon pollution and revitalize its auto sector: report

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Canada has a car conundrum. Canadians drive the most polluting cars in the world due in part to a growing appetite for SUVs and trucks, and over the past 20 years, domestic carbon pollution from transportation has increased by nearly 30%.

Over that same two-decade period, the number of vehicles being manufactured locally has fallen by 37%. Once a global top-five auto manufacturer, Canada now doesn’t even crack the top 10.

In short, transportation emissions are up, and the auto manufacturing sector is down.

The good news: our car conundrum also has a solution, one explored in a new Clean Energy Canada report released today. Taking the Wheel finds that, with a deliberate approach for drivers and industry, zero-emission vehicles can both cut pollution and set our auto sector up to compete in the global economy.

Already, most Canadians lean toward an electric car for their next vehicle purchase, but most car dealerships in the country don’t have a single EV available to test drive or purchase.

And while Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor laid out plans this fall to build EVs in Ontario, prior to these announcements, an analysis of 29 global automakers had identified US$300 billion flowing into EV development with not a single dollar destined for Canada.

Canada has the workforce and geographic strengths to be an EV leader but is lacking a roadmap to get us there. An industrial strategy and a package of policies to drive long-term investment in and the adoption of zero-emission vehicles could reposition Canada in the global EV race, the new report concludes.

The federal government last month made its national pollution targets legally binding. But with transportation responsible for a quarter of these emissions, it will be hard to meet targets without addressing Canada’s car conundrum. A comprehensive approach could be a win-win for our economy and our climate.


Report | Taking the Wheel

Op-ed | “Ottawa wants more electric vehicle manufacturing in Canada. What will it take?” (Toronto Star)

Media Brief | What is a ‘zero-emission vehicle standard’ and why does Canada need one?


Keri McNamara
Communications Specialist

Clean Energy Canada ( is a climate and energy think tank housed at the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. We work to accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean and renewable energy system.