Ontario Fighting to Make Life More Affordable for Drivers

Published on April 02, 2019

Premier Ford Announces the Official End of Drive Clean for Passenger Vehicles and Promises to Continue to Stand Against the Federal Carbon Tax


TORONTO — The Ontario government is putting people first by making life more convenient and affordable for drivers while continuing the fight against the disguised, unconstitutional federal carbon tax. Today marks the end of the outdated, ineffective Drive Clean program as well as the first day that the federal government's carbon tax comes into effect.

"Our government is standing up for the people by making life easier, not harder for Ontario drivers," said Premier Doug Ford. "We're focused on keeping money in people's pockets, not taking it away. We ended the Drive Clean program for passenger vehicles to save Ontario drivers time and money. Unfortunately, the federal carbon tax is going to make the cost of filling up your tank more expensive. I promise the people of Ontario that our government will continue to fight this tax with every tool at our disposal."

Ford joined Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure, to announce the end of the Drive Clean program and explain how the federal government's carbon tax will hurt Ontario drivers.

Starting today, Ontario drivers no longer need to get Drive Clean emissions tests for their light-duty passenger vehicles, as part of the government's commitment to make life easier for vehicle owners and save taxpayers up to $40 million a year.

While the Ontario government cuts red tape and reduces the burden on taxpayers, the federal government's carbon tax takes effect today. The carbon tax will cost the average Ontario driver $57 at the pumps in 2019, at 4.4 cents per litre. By 2022, drivers could be paying up to $180 more a year because of this job-killing tax.  

"We know that the carbon tax will raise costs for every person in Ontario that drives a car," said Phillips. "This is not necessary, and will make life harder for Ontarians just at the time when our government is taking actions to reduce regulatory burden on drivers and make life more affordable. We have a practical plan that will protect our environment without a carbon tax — so there is no justification for the federal government to add this burden to our drivers and our economy."

As part of its Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, the province has committed to protecting Ontario air from smog-causing pollutants by strengthening on-road enforcement of emissions standards and by launching a new emissions testing program for heavy-duty diesel vehicles, such as commercial transport trucks, in fall 2019. This new program will result in more major polluters being tested.

"Eliminating the Drive Clean emissions test for passenger vehicles will reduce costs for Ontario families and businesses, and end hours of frustration and wasted time caused by unnecessary tests," said Yurek. "Our government respects the taxpayer and this is one more way our government is making life more affordable and convenient for people."

"Today brings an end to a battle I've been fighting since I was first elected in 2011. I toured the province and collected 12,000 signatures within a week against the wasteful and ineffective Drive Clean program," said McNaughton. "Drive Clean was a bureaucratic tax grab that outlived its purpose and now it's history. Just one more example of promise made, promise kept."

"The federal government needs to respect Ontarians and our provincial government," said Ford. "We have a plan to reduce emissions, and the federal government should stand back and let us meet our goals as we see fit. You can be for jobs or you can be for a carbon tax, but you can't be for both."

Quick Facts

  • Beginning on April 1, 2019, the federal government will apply a fuel charge to fossil fuels in Ontario, resulting in an estimated increase of 4.4 cents per litre for gasoline. This will rise to 6.6 cents in 2020, 8.8 cents in 2021 and 11.1 cents per litre in April 2022.
  • The federal carbon charge will cost a typical household $258 per year in 2019 and will rise to $648 by 2022.
  • Ontario’s court challenge will be heard in April.
  • The Drive Clean program was first introduced in 1999. Since then industry standards have significantly improved, resulting in a steady decrease of passenger cars that fail the emissions test. In 2017, the fail rate was reduced to five per cent.
  • As outlined in Ontario’s Environment Plan, the province is committed to reducing emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, while recognizing the unique circumstances of our economy. From 2005 to 2016, Ontario reduced its emissions by about 22 per cent.