Quebec’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandate Entering Effect


The Government of Quebec recently finalized and set into motion its new zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard, which was initially adopted under Bill 104 in October 2016 to increase the number of ZEVs in the region and significantly reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) and other pollutant emissions. The mandate comes into force on Jan. 11, making Quebec the first province in Canada to establish a ZEV mandate.

According to a government press release, close to half the Canadian ZEV fleet is located in Quebec, which non-coincidentally has the biggest public charging network in the country. The ZEV standard is consistent with the targets set out in government’s Transportation Electrification Action Plan 2015-2020 and the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan. It adds to a series of existing government measures that include a rebate on the purchase price of electric vehicles, funding for charging stations, the development of an extended network of charging stations in all regions of Quebec and other ZEV benefits, such as the fee-free use of toll bridges.

As previously mentioned, the new standard will come into effect on Jan. 11. Automakers covered by the standard will earn credits through the sale of ZEVs or low-emission vehicles (LEVs) to residents of Quebec. Credits will be awarded in proportion to efficiency in zero-emission mode. According to the release, the percentage of mandatory credits will be calculated on the basis of the total number of new vehicles sold or leased in Quebec, and manufacturers will start earning credits with model year 2018. Looking to the future, the Quebec government anticipates that, by 2025, ZEV and LEV sales and leases will account for approximately 10% of the market.

Major automakers, those that sell or lease more than 20,000 vehicles in Quebec annually, will need to earn a specified percentage of credits based exclusively on ZEV models, starting in 2020. Manufacturers that to not achieve their target will be required to purchase credits from other automakers that have excess credits available, or pay a fee to the government. The release says income will be paid to the Green Fund and used to support climate change projects, particularly those aimed at greening the Quebec vehicle fleet.

Although the Quebec standard largely follows current ZEV standards in 10 U.S. states and provides the automobile industry with normative continuity on both sides of the border, the release says one difference is that Quebec regulations also permit vehicles that have been upgraded by carmakers and licensed for the first time in Quebec to qualify for credits. This measure was included in the standard in order to make it possible for low-income households to also choose ZEVs, the release notes.

“The current vehicle offering does not meet growing consumer demand. Many Quebecois want to drive clean vehicles but face a dearth of cars on the market and/or discouragingly lengthy waiting times. We need to release these limitations on consumer choice, and that is the intent of the ZEV standard: More supply and more diversity in available models that meet the specific needs of users,” says Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change Isabelle Melançon in the release.

“The fight against climate change is a planetary challenge where failure is not an option. Our children’s future is at stake. Ambition and audacity in public policy is required. The ZEV standard is part of these ambitious measures that in combination with other current government measures and progress in the automobile industry over the next few years will help green the Quebec vehicle fleet.”

According to the release, the ZEV standard will change the business model of Quebec automobile dealerships. Recognizing the importance of maintaining a dialogue process with key players in the transition to a greener vehicle fleet, the government has also announced the creation of a committee whose mandate will be to monitor the evolution of this dossier. The release says the committee, jointly led by the Corporation des concessionnaires automobile du Québec (CCAQ) and the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC), will also rely on the expertise of the Coalition zéro émission Québec (CZÉQ) and Steven Guilbeault, co-founder and senior director of Équiterre, who will represent environmental groups.

Additional information about Quebec’s ZEV standard is available here.

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