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BC Budget Response

BC Budget Response

February 27, 2019

By Blair Qualey
Published in Postmedia

As the President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC, I had the opportunity to take part in the BC Budget 2019 media and stakeholders lock-up during which the Provincial Finance Minister presented her government’s fiscal plan for the next three years.

The Budget was important from the perspective that it includes a host of positive clean energy initiatives and significant investments to support the CEVforBC™ Program and ongoing development of a fast charging network for electric vehicles and fueling for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In total, over $900 million has been earmarked for CleanBC, to reduce air pollution and save families money through the Clean Energy Vehicle for BC Program (CEVforBC™) with additional funding for purchases incentives towards clean energy vehicles, incentives for energy-saving home improvements, a net-zero building code, and programs to help communities transition to cleaner energy sources.

Of prime importance to BC’s New Car Dealers and consumers is news that the CEVforBC™ Program will be topped up by $42 million for point of sale purchase incentives of up to $6,000 for qualifying EV or Hydrogen vehicles. A further $6 million will be available to support light duty fleets in shifting to clean energy vehicles and $1 million will be invested in program implementation and public outreach.

CEVforBC™ has been a significant factor in making the transition to EVs more affordable for British Columbians. Since the Program was established in April of 2015, almost 11-thousand incentives have been paid out to individuals and families – more than have half of those in the last calendar year.

A total of $30 million will also be invested in the infrastructure required to charge an electric vehicle or fuel a hydrogen vehicle including: $20 million to support new public fast-charging and hydrogen fueling stations, $5 million to support home and workplace charging stations and $5 million for charging stations at highway rest areas and BC Government buildings.

These key investments will help continue BC’s nation-leading adoption of clean energy vehicles in the next three years as we engage with government on the development of a workable system for Zero Emission Vehicle sales quotas across BC, beginning in 2025.

A balanced budget was delivered this year, and we are pleased that no new business taxes were introduced in the 2019 budget.

BC continues to demonstrate good economic health, with growth expected to lead all provinces despite various economists suggesting a slow down is coming. This is something we will be watching closely as our industry has more than 30,000 family supporting jobs across the province, generates $16 billion in annual retail sales and provides $675 million in revenue to all three levels of government.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.

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