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Ontario announced the cancellation of the Drive Clean emission test.

Effective April 1, 2019, drivers are no longer required to get emissions tests for their passenger vehicles.

Ontario is cancelling the Drive Clean Program because it has become outdated and ineffective. Today, automobile engines producers develop engines that meet the following threefold objective:

  1. to be in compliance with relevant emission legislation
  2. to provide high fuel efficiency
  3. to improve drivability and durability

This has resulted in a steady decrease in passenger cars that fail the emissions test. 16% of vehicles failed the emissions test in 1999 compared to 5% in 2017. This trend is only expected to continue as newer vehicle models are introduced.

“By ending Drive Clean tests and repairs for passenger vehicles, this government is reducing the burden on residents and families who own a car, so they no longer need to take time out of their days to take their vehicles in for unnecessary tests,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We’re saving taxpayers over $40 million every year. And we’re better targeting the biggest polluters to protect Ontario’s air.”

Just a prime example: a driver of Toyota Camry 2011 spent $1,200 and two months to pass the test.

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.

New Program will target heavy duty vehicles

First introduced in 1999, Drive Clean was effective and intended to be a time-limited program. This has resulted in a steady decrease in the number of cars that fail the emissions test. As reported in the Auditor General’s 2012 Value for Money Audit of Drive Clean, “…emissions were reduced by steadily increasing amounts from 1999 through 2007.”

A new, enhanced program will target heavy-duty vehicles like commercial transport trucks. Heavy duty vehicles remain a significant source of nitrogen oxides, a smog forming pollutant, and a carcinogen that causes heart and lung disease.

Emissions from heavy duty vehicles have not decreased as rapidly, in part due to less stringent vehicle emission standards, and a slower replacement rate of older vehicles.

This Program will ensure that Ontario continues to lead Canada in reducing harmful air pollution.




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