What a reformed Liberal government means for the automotive industry


Following a snap federal election, Canada has elected another Liberal minority government to—in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s words—“finish the fight against COVID-19 and rebuild the shattered economy.” But what does the reformed Liberal government mean for the automotive industry?

“finish the fight against COVID-19 and rebuild the shattered economy.” - Prime minister justin trudeau

Ground Zero

The previous Liberal government made it clear in June that it wants all new light vehicles sold in Canada to be zero emissions by 2035— accelerating its previous goal of 2040 by five years. The Liberals also plan to electrify the entire federal fleet by 2030. Several market analysts have come forward to comment on the ambitious Liberal goal—which does include a federal incentive program, charging installation targets and pledged support toward investments in innovation and OEMs. The C.D Howe Institute says 70 to 75 percent of Canadian passenger auto sales will have to be zero-emissions by 2030 to achieve the 100 percent by 2035 goal. In 2020, zero-emissions vehicle sales comprised just 3.5 percent of total vehicle sales.

For the Youth

During the election campaign, the Liberal platform promised a move on its plan to establish a new Apprenticeship Service “that will connect 55,000 first-year apprentices in Red Seal trades with opportunities at small- and medium-sized employers,” under the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP). The UTIP follows a two-pronged approach, according to the Liberal platform, providing $25 million annually in two streams: investments in training equipment on union-led projects and innovation in apprenticeship. The latter supports the development of new approaches to “addressing apprenticeship challenges” as well as supporting partnerships between organizations—should a union be involved in the project receiving funding.

In the end, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals claimed 159 seats, up four seats from 2019’s results; Erin O’Tooles Conservatives claimed 119 seats, no change from 2019 results; Yves-François Blanchet’s Bloc Québécois claimed 33 seats, up a single seat from 2019; Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party took 25 seats, up one from 2019 results and Annamie Paul’s Green Party marked no change with two seats in the House.

The C.D Howe Institute says 70 to 75 percent of Canadian passenger auto sales will have to be zeroemissions by 2030 to achieve the 100 percent by 2035 goal.

Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.

As part of the federal election campaign, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) pushed for the candidates to understand the importance of the right to repair for the aftermarket.

During the campaign, AIA Canada pivoted the Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice. label to Right to Repair to encompass the broader movement and urged citizens to let the candidates in their respective ridings know that they want to keep the right to repair and choose who repairs their vehicles. Prior to the election, AIA Canada’s campaign petition had garnered more than 43,000 signatures on Change.org.

AIA Canada recently procured the public polling services of Abacus Data:

• 94 percent of respondents agreed Canadians should be able to have their vehicle serviced at the service facility of their choice.
• 3 in 4 respondents say they would be either less likely or would not purchase a brand of the vehicle if it could only be serviced at an authorized dealership.
• 83 percent of respondents agree that automakers should be required by law to share data with independent auto shops.

Before the election, AIA Canada said it would take time to “assess what the most effective approach for advocating for consumer control of vehicle data is.” As of the end of September, no further details have been released.

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