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When Making Transport Policy, Don’t Forget How It Affects Company Vehicles


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Release date: 5/28/2019

 

I am pleased to share with you my op-ed piece that ran in a recent issue of The Hill Times, a twice-weekly Canadian newspaper covering the Parliament of Canada, the federal government, and other federal political news.

The push for emissions reductions and shift to greener fuel sources will boost the cost of doing business for fleets. That’s why government support to industry is important.

From changing environmental and transportation policies to the intense NAFTA renegotiation, the past few years have been a roller-coaster ride for the auto industry and fleet managers. The federal government is in the process of developing some very important policies for the ever-evolving transportation sector.

Last year, Transport Canada released its Transportation 2030 strategy, which included funding for the creation of regulations, certification, standards, and testing of automated vehicles.

Parliament also passed Bill S-2, which changes the existing Motor Vehicle Safety Act to give the transport
minister more powers including the ability to order auto manufacturers to correct a defect or
non-compliance in a vehicle.

Other policies have related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) sales
targets, mandatory seatbelts for highway buses, and new regulations for heavy- and medium-duty
vehicles.

While we are pleased that the government is taking steps to increase safety on our roads and tackle
climate change, these policies have to take fleet managers into account. They also have to be designed
by officials with the full knowledge that, on average, only four in five new car sales go to consumers. The
other 20% are fleet-destined vehicles with different regulatory and operational requirements than
consumer vehicles. Fleets are a key part of the transportation sector and the fleet professionals who
manage those vehicles support industries that generate significant economic growth, jobs, and tax
revenue.

Only a few industries are experiencing as much disruption as transportation. Whether on road, rail, in sea
or air, today’s levels of disruption are unprecedented. Fleet managers will need to adapt to the rising
technology and adjust their own policies accordingly. Similarly, government policy must be sound and
strike the right balance between regulation without stifling innovation, and spurring economic growth and
prosperity.

Fleets across Canada continue to face the issue of a shortage of qualified technicians to service vehicles,
as technological advances have changed the repair and maintenance work environment. With the rising
technology and the market trend towards zero-emissions vehicles, fleet managers need to continuously
retrain their technicians to get the skills they need to maintain and repair vehicles with the new
technology.

Furthermore, the continued push for emissions reductions and the shift to greener fuel sources will
increase the cost of doing business for fleets. That’s why it will be important for the government to
support the industry with funding for skills development and tax relief for investments.

We are encouraged by the federal government’s recent announcement in the 2019 budget of the
introduction of a federal purchase incentive program for ZEVs and the creation of the Canada Training
Benefit to support skills development for workers. The new federal incentive program, including the
increased tax deduction for ZEVs purchased by businesses, will boost the uptake of ZEVs, make them
more affordable for Canadians, and reduce the cost of electrifying fleets. By supporting the innovative
transformation of fleets, the government can create economic growth across Canada while achieving its
climate change goals.

For more information on NAFA’s government affairs activities in Canada, please contact Impact Public Affairs at info@impactcanada.com or (866) 935-9969.

Likewise for NAFA’s government affairs activities in the United States, please contact Kent & O'Connor, NAFA's U.S. Legislative Counsel, at (703) 351-6222 or by clicking here.

Sincerely,

 

Phil