The Liberal government has announced that by 2035, every major passenger vehicle sold in Canada will need to be electric. 

On Wednesday, Liberal Minister of Environment Steven Guilbeault unveiled the zero-emission vehicle sales target. 

The legislation will work by adding requirements to car manufacturers and importers to meet annual sale targets beginning with the 2026 model year – meaning 20% of vehicle sales must be electric. 

By 2030, that target will grow to 60% of all sales until 2035 when all vehicles sold will be required to be electric.

“With Canada’s deep experience in auto-parts manufacturing, vehicle assembly, and with all of the critical minerals needed for batteries found here, Canada is well positioned to be a leader in making the vehicles that the world is looking to drive,” claimed Guilbeault in a press release. 

“With (zero emission vehicles), we can cut pollution, create jobs, and make life more affordable for families across the country.”

Critics have argued that the production of electric vehicles is very emission intensive, including the process of extracting minerals like nickel, cobalt and lithium to create lithium-ion batteries. 

In 2020, the CBC reported that nickel production results in “air pollution, water contamination and the destruction of habitats.”

The government’s new regulations will not apply to the production of emergency vehicles. 

Manufacturers who fail to meet the targets could be punished under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

As it stands, fully-electric or hybrid vehicle sales made up only 7.2% of new car registrations at the beginning of the year. In 2021, they were only 5.2% of the market. 

The federal government has also largely failed to meet its own standards with records showing that less than 5% of federal fleet vehicles purchased in the last year being electric powered. 

According to an Inquiry of Ministry first reported on by Blacklock’s Reporter, of the 2,899 vehicles purchased by the federal government since 2020 only 137 were electric and 782 were hybrid vehicles.