THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – In a recent press release, NDP Northern Ontario MPs, including Carol Hughes, are urging the federal government to fulfill its commitment to provide a reliable electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure throughout the province. This call for action comes as a response to numerous issues with existing EV charging stations, including the only one in White River, which has been out of commission since April due to a damaged transformer.
Hughes, the MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, highlighted in the release, “In one case, in White River, the issue was due to a damaged transformer, which is an unfortunate but reasonable issue; however, the fact that this EV charger has been out of service since April is unreasonable.”
In addition to this, Petro-Canada stations in Marathon and Wawa have also reported chargers being out of service, with no reasons provided by the company. This has left drivers stranded and struggling to find functioning charging stations.
In light of these events, Hughes has called upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Ford government of Ontario to take immediate action to ensure the availability and dependability of EV chargers throughout Northern Ontario, especially considering the increased traffic during the summer vacation period.
The federal government had previously committed to the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program, which offers subsidies to private companies for the installation of EV charging stations. This program, however, requires companies to provide a reliability guarantee for the installed chargers to qualify for the subsidy.
The New Democrats state, “To date, companies with broken stations have not been held accountable.” This, despite the fact that the Ford government in Ontario had earlier eliminated provincial rebates for EV charging stations and removed numerous stations across the province in 2018.
The NDP MPs, including Charlie Angus of Timmins-James Bay, have received reports about non-functioning chargers in numerous locations in Northern Ontario. Angus criticized both the provincial and federal governments for their failures, stating, “The electric vehicle economy Trudeau loves to talk about won’t take off without the infrastructure there.”
Angus continued, “Time and time again, we’ve heard promises from this Liberal government on their commitment to a clean energy transition, but they fail to provide the infrastructure and reliability needed for people to go out and buy electric vehicles. The country and our planet can’t wait any longer.”
The MPs are now calling for concrete action from both provincial and federal governments to rectify these issues and ensure a robust and reliable EV charging infrastructure throughout Ontario.