British Columbia is phasing out fuel-powered cars and trucks with a total ban coming into effect in 2040.
“We will work with the United States to harmonize fuel efficiency regulations and we’re investing in consumer rebates, charging stations, business tax breaks and industry transition costs,” Wilkinson added.
Trudeau, 49, has pledged to put Canada, the second-largest country by land mass in the world, on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050. Shifting transportation away from fossil fuels is key to meeting that goal.
Canadians broadly support fighting climate change, and Trudeau is expected to trigger an election as soon as September to rid himself of his dependence on opposition support in a minority parliament.
“Canada cannot reach our greenhouse gas targets if emissions from cars, SUVs and pickups, which are currently growing, are not curtailed,” said Keith Brooks, programs director at advocacy group Environmental Defence, who welcomed the move.
Brooks said only 3.5% of vehicles now sold in Canada are electric and that the government needs to do more to support the market for zero-emissions vehicles.