Liberals lied about eliminating Drive Clean fee program’s profits

Ontario PCs renew call to scrap Drive Clean after documents show no plans to cut fee 

QUEEN’S PARK – Today, the Ontario PC Caucus renewed its call to scrap Drive Clean after documents revealed the Liberals lied earlier this year about the elimination of the e-test fee and the multi-million-dollar profits the program has generated for the government.

“The Finance Minister, Environment Minister and the Premier have all stated this year, on multiple occasions, that the Liberals eliminated the Drive Clean fee, but nothing could be further from the truth,” PC Environment Critic Lisa Thompson said today. “Government documents have now revealed that the Liberals have no plans to eliminate this fee, and that they lied about the massive multi-million-dollar profits their Drive Clean cash-grab has racked up over the years.”

When the Liberals released their 2016 budget, they claimed they were eliminating the fee for emissions testing under the Drive Clean program. Later, in his committee testimony, Finance Minister Charles Sousa repeatedly stated that the government “eliminated the fees this year,” and that the program is now “revenue-neutral.” But both of these claims are not true.

An Environment Ministry newsletter to owners and operators of e-testing facilities this spring confirms that the Drive Clean fee remains in effect and that the government has no concrete plans or timelines for eliminating it. Additionally, an answer to an order paper question shows that the Drive Clean program is still running a surplus of more than $11 million.

“Many Ontarians took the Liberals at their word and were expecting they wouldn’t have to pay $30 when they take their car in for an e-test, but that’s simply not the case,” Thompson said. “Ontarians should really question why the Liberals are so willing to lie about a program that’s generating millions of dollars in profits for the government.”

The former PC government set up Drive Clean as a temporary, revenue-neutral measure with the very specific purpose of reducing vehicle emissions that contribute to smog until advances in fuel efficiency and standards caught up. “Now that 95% of cars are passing emissions testing, it’s time for Drive Clean to be scrapped,” Thompson concluded.