With gas prices hitting record highs across the GTA almost daily, and with no immediate end in sight, what are the political parties doing to try and ease the pain at the gas stations for consumers?
Here is a look at some of the promises and measures announced by each of the four leaders ahead of the June 2 election.
Itemized gasoline taxes
10 cents per liter = federal excise tax
11 cents per liter = federal carbon tax
14.7 cents per liter = Ontario fuel tax
13 percent = HST
In June 2018, Doug Ford promised to cut the gas tax by 10 cents per liter. When the Conservatives were elected, Ford canceled the cap-and-trade system that lowered gas prices by 4.2 cents. However, the federal carbon tax backing kicked in and negated any savings at the pump. Ottawa says Ontarians will see a more than 66 percent increase in carbon price rebate checks to make up for too-small rebates over the last two years.
Ford has since asked the federal government to reduce its share of the gas tax and match it.
In early April, the Ford government introduced legislation that would reduce the gas tax by 5.7 cents per liter and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents. However, those savings won’t kick in until July 1 and will only be for six months. Ford explained that he couldn’t do it sooner because the industry needed time to “adjust its business systems and processes.” If it happens, it would be the first time in more than three decades that Ontario has reduced the gas tax.
The NDP introduced a bill on March 2 called the Petroleum Products Pricing Fairness Act that would require the Ontario Power Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale markup of petroleum products in Ontario. At that time, the price of gasoline in the GTA was $1.67 per liter. The NDP notes that this was the third time such a bill had been proposed in the legislature, but that both Liberals and Conservatives failed to act on it.
The Liberals haven’t tabled any proposals that directly target the price you pay at the pumps, but instead will offer rebates of up to $8,000 for electric vehicles down to $65,000 retail prices while also incentivizing people to take public transportation by reducing drastically all transportation fees. throughout the province at $1 per trip until January 2024.
Like the Liberals, the Green Party has not proposed any measures to directly target the price you pay at the pump. “Ontario Greens will make life more affordable and address the climate emergency while helping people drive and ride electric bikes.”
Among its proposals are offering incentives of up to $10,000 for new electric cars and $1,000 for used electric cars; $1,000 electric bike incentives; Significantly expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and cut transit fares in half for three months.