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UBCM Convention and Member Advocacy

UBCM Convention and Member Advocacy

October 3, 2019

Last week, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) hosted elected officials from all three levels of government at their annual convention in Vancouver.
The annual event is one that the New Car Dealers Association (NCDA) looks forward to, as it provides an opportunity to engage politicians of all political stripes about our Association, the strength of our members’ contribution to the local and provincial economy, some of the challenges we face, and the positive results of our collective partnerships.
We believe New Car Dealers bring an important perspective to the discussion because we represent more than 390 small businesses in 55 communities across the province. Our sector generates about $16 Billion in economic activity and employs more than 30,000 people around the province.
Much of the discussion with delegates during the five-day event, related to the state of the auto sector and the increasing adoption of electric vehicles. To drive home that point (no pun intended), the NCDA hosted a clean energy vehicle test drive event to demonstrate the range of vehicles now in the marketplace. From full battery EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 to Kia Niro and plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander, delegates from across the province expressed interest and in many cases, got behind the wheel of some of these models for a test drive.
The CEVforBC™ Program has played an important role in accelerating the transition to clean energy vehicles in BC, and in doing so, providing both environment and economic benefits. It should come as no surprise that our province is once again on pace to break all previous sales records relating to clean energy vehicles for 2019.
To help encourage greater EV adoption, the province announced last week that it will be making more than $4 Million available in a new CleanBC rebate. Through the program, homeowners can access a $350 rebate to install a level-2 charging station in a single family home, while a $2,000 rebate is available for the installation for a level-2 charging station designed for multiple users in condominiums. An additional $350 rebate will be available for a limited time only for BC Hydro customers with a level-2 charging station installed.
However, we all recognize there are some challenges that remain at the local and provincial level that are impacting even greater EV transition. Most notable is access to conveniently located fast charging stations, both within our communities and along major highway routes, so drivers need not encounter range anxiety. At this time, more than 1,000 charging stations have been established in the province, with more committed. Today, there are also more than 55 fast charging stations across BC. Progress is being made, but suffice to say, it’s a process that must continue.
Another level of discussion with delegates involved the issue of how best to address the workforce needs of the future. While the NCDA works to formulate a strategy to entice more young people into the sector, we are also encouraging government to continue its investments in job and apprenticeship training around the province.
We enjoy what we believe is a very thoughtful and productive partnership with all levels of government. It’s one that positively impacts our members, consumers and communities – and through which we all mutually benefit.
For the latest information on car careers in BC’s automotive industry, visit: https://carsandjobs.com/

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

Dealer Members with New Car Dealers Association

We represent more than 375 New Car Dealers throughout British Columbia.