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Feds’ electric car rebate uses nearly half its three year budget in eight months

Transport Minister Marc Garneau is thinking about expanding the government’s rebate program for people who buy electric vehicles after eager car-buyers gobbled up nearly half the funds in just eight months.

Garneau launched the incentive payments last May, offering up to $5,000 off the price of buying new electric and hybrid passenger vehicles to try and bring their price tags closer to those on similargas models.

Ottawa funded the program with $300 million, on a first-come, first-served basis, over the next three years.

As of Jan. 19, Transport Canada reports that more than $134 million in rebates have already been issued to 33,000 Canadians. At that rate of uptake, the funds will be entirely gone before the end of this year.

“It’s very encouraging to see how many people are now thinking about and actually going ahead and buying (zero-emission vehicles),” Garneau said outside the House of Commons Monday afternoon.

While the government expected the program to be popular, the briefing book prepared for Garneau after he was reinstated as the transport minister after the fall federal election, says “the program has induced more new sales than projected.”

According to Transport Canada, overall electric vehicle sales jumped 32% after the rebates were launched, compared to the same period the year before. In 2019, electric cars made up three% of all vehicle sales, up from two% in 2018.

That is still a long way from the goals the federal Liberals set last year to have electric cars make up 10% of all light-duty vehicle sales by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. It is a significant part of Canada’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with light-duty vehicles emitting 12% of all emissions in Canada in 2017.

Garneau noted his mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructs him to do more to meet those quotas, and he said looking at doing more with rebates is among the possibilities, including extending them to used cars as well.

“I’m certainly working very hard in that direction,” he said, though he wouldn’t speculate about the specifics about what an expanded program would look like. It’s likely any expansion would be included in the next federal budget.

Cara Clairman, CEO of the non-profit electric vehicle advocacy group Plug’n Drive, said a 2017 study by her organization found price to be the main deterrent for consumers when it comes to buying an electric car, so incentives are definitely helpful.

“There are people buying electric vehicles without them but definitely it helps,” she said.

She said a program in Ontario to offer $1,000 incentives to buy used electric cars spurred the purchase of more than 300 used electric cars since it launched in April. That program, run by Plug’n Drive with funding from the private M.H. Brigham Foundation, is expanding next month to add an additional $1,000 incentive to not just buy a used electric car but to scrap a gas-powered vehicle in the process. The scrapped vehicles will be disposed of by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada.

Canadian electric vehicle sales are still heavily concentrated in Quebec and British Columbia, which offer provincial rebates on top of the federal rebate. B.C. drivers can get up to $3,000 more back from the provincial government, and Quebec drivers can get up to $8,000 on top of the federal incentive.

Electric Mobility Canada reported late last year that 75% of all electric cars sold in Canada were purchased in B.C. (29%) and Quebec (46%.) Twenty% were bought in Ontario, leaving the remaining seven provinces with just five% of all the sales.

Ontario had a rebate program until it was scrapped by the new Tory government in 2018, leading to a significant drop in electric car purchases in that province. Electric Mobility Canada says the sale of electric cars in Ontario fell 44% in the third quarter of 2019, compared to that period in 2018.

 


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Manitoba ups biofuels

Only province to mandate biofuels increases minimums

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Last year, while on the provincial campaign trail, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister told audiences that his government would increase the amounts of biofuels available to motorists and the transport sector. Last week (January 21) his government announced the plan.

Following meetings with Prime Minister Trudeau during the cabinet’s January sortie to Winnipeg for a winter retreat, Pallister sought further respect for the province’s energy initiatives. Under what is known as the Made in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, the Pallister Tories will undertake to set new standards for fuel content in the province as it tries to get out from under what it sees as unenlightened conditions of the Federal Government’s Carbon Tax program.

Manitoba has announced that the minimum ethanol content in gasoline will now move from 8.5% to 10%, and the biodiesel content in diesel from 2% to 5%.

“Agriculture always has been and always will be the key to Manitoba’s economic success,” said the Manitoba premier at a recent event. “As an important economic driver, our agriculture industry cannot take its foot off the gas, so we will make that gas greener.”

This latest salvo in the Carbon Tax back and forth will see Manitoba’s emissions reduce by close to 400,000 tonnes cumulatively over the next five years. The provincial government suggests this is equivalent to taking 100,000 vehicles off the road.

Boosting the biodiesel mandate is expected to increase the market demand in Manitoba for biodiesel from 27 million litres per year to 72 million litres. Currently, transportation fuels produce over one-third of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. Manitoba sees both biodiesel and renewable diesel as products that can combat this carbon load. 

Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oils or used cooking oils. The refining process uses alcohol such as methanol to convert animal fats, plant oils and other biomass-based oils into fuels. Biodiesel can be used in its pure form or blended with conventional diesel at various levels with little or no engine modifications.

Renewable diesel is chemically very similar to petroleum diesel and offers a cleaner burn than conventional products. Renewable diesel is produced using organic feedstock where hydrogen is utilized to crack big molecules into smaller ones. Then, hydrogen is added to these smaller molecules to produce a renewable biofuel for use in diesel engines.

Manitoba’s plan will also increase ethanol consumption by 26 million litres to 176 million litres per year.

Ethanol is a high-octane, water-free alcohol that is produced from renewable resources such as corn, canola, and wheat. Ethanol can be used as a fuel, as an additive to fuel or as a fuel extender.

Challenges to using biofuels exist. While they help to reduce carbon footprints they also put pressure on food stocks and wildlife. In the US and Mexico, farmers have pulled crops such as corn from the food chain to use them as a source of fuel in moves that raise the consumer cost of products such as tortillas and cooking oils. As well, additional acres are often needed to meet the increased demand for biofuels and this impacts wildlife as wetlands and forests are put to the plough. Global ethanol production is projected to grow more than 7% a year and will reach (US)$105 billion by 2022.

Manitoba has not reported how many new acres will be planted to meet the province’s targets, but the government has committed a $50 million annuity to protect wetlands that could be impacted. Currently, Husky Energy operates Manitoba’s sole ethanol facility in Minnedosa with an annual output of 130 million litres of ethanol per year.

Octane editor Kelly Gary can be reached at kgray@ensembleiq.com


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Sides in Regina refinery labour dispute lay down conditions for talks to resume

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 3.27.01 PMThe owner of a Saskatchewan oil refinery where workers are locked out in a contract dispute says there has been a discussion with Unifor about returning to bargaining, but the union wants the premier to step in.

Federated Co-operatives Ltd. says it won’t bargain as long as union members continue to block access to the Regina plant.

“We respect Unifor’s right to picket and peacefully protest but they need to adhere to the court’s order,” a company spokesman said Thursday in a statement.

Unifor President Jerry Dias said the company is moving the goalposts as to what conditions need to be met to resume bargaining. He said the union has already done its part.

“My guess is if we were to take down the barricades and everybody went home … they would have another condition the next morning,” Dias, flanked by members of Unifor’s bargaining committee, said at a news conference.

“We are prepared for a major de-escalation of this fight on the condition that they remove the scabs from the workplace.”

Unifor called on Premier Scott Moe to demand that both sides go to the bargaining table and work with a provincial mediator.

“A provincially appointed mediator is already in place, and has been engaging with both parties regularly throughout the lockout period,” Labour Minister Don Morgan responded in a statement.

“We continue to encourage both parties to return to the bargaining table where the provincially appointed mediator can assist parties in negotiating an agreement.”

Dias said Unifor’s lawyers are looking at a judge’s decision to fine the union $100,000 for violating an injunction that limits how long pickets can hold up traffic going in and out of the refinery.

He also said he is to meet with Regina police Chief Evan Bray following mischief charges earlier this week against 14 union members, including himself.

Dias said he hopes Bray will contact the refinery, request a cooling-off period and urge the company to get back to the table.

Bray has said blocking access to a business is illegal and police are deciding whether to lay further charges.

The company locked out more than 700 workers in early December after they voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike. The main issue is pension plan changes the company wants to make.

 


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Union fined for violating court order in Regina refinery labour dispute

A judge has fined a union that represents more than 700 workers at a Saskatchewan oil refinery $100,000 for violating a court order that set limits on picketing during an ongoing contract dispute.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Timothy Keene found Unifor intentionally and deliberately disobeyed an interim injunction limiting the time members can hold up traffic going in and out of the Co-op refinery in Regina.

Unifor, which represents 300,000 private-sector workers across Canada, announced Monday that it planned to stop replacement workers from entering the refinery and fuel trucks from leaving in an attempt to shut down the plant and force talks to resume.

In his decision, Keene wrote that deterrence is required to convey the need for Unifor to follow court orders.

“Particularly those intended to bring some level of stability to a tense labour dispute,” he wrote in a judgment released Wednesday.

Police in Regina have charged 14 Unifor members over the blockade and are still deciding whether additional charges should be laid.

“In light of this ruling, we ask that Unifor comply with the injunction order currently in place and remove the blockade,” refinery owner Federated Co-operatives Ltd. said in a news release.

In a video posted to the Regina police Facebook page later Wednesday, Chief Evan Bray said that officers have a plan on how to deal with the situation and have reached out to Unifor.

Bray reiterated that blocking access to the refinery is illegal. He said allegations that the police’s SWAT team was at the refinery and had used tear gas were not true.

Unifor secretary-treasurer Lana Payne said members would continue to hold the picket line, which had grown to include layers of fencing and parked rental vehicles with deflated tires.

The company locked out workers in early December after they voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike. The main issue is pension plan changes the company wants to make.

Paul Woit, who has worked at the refinery for almost 20 years, is three years away from retirement. He said what the company is proposing would cause him to lose half his pension.

“Thirty-thousand (dollars) a year,” he said Wednesday. “I can’t afford this. There’s no way I can make it up.”

Federated Co-operatives has said workers don’t pay into their pension, which costs the company upwards of $100 million a year and is unsustainable in the long term. It says it’s offering a choice between staying in their defined benefit plan _ but having to contribute to it _ or moving to a defined contribution plan.

Wednesday’s court ruling came as labour leaders from across Canada joined a rally in support of the refinery workers.

“This fight is about all of us,” Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, told a crowd gathered on the picket line.

Supporters hoisted flags representing different unions that have been uniting behind the workers, including nurses unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union.

Some labour leaders, including Yussuff, called on Premier Scott Moe and his Saskatchewan Party government to get both parties back to the table.

NDP Opposition Leader Ryan Meili, who attended the rally, said the government should facilitate a meeting between both sides.

 


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Former MP Nathan Cullen appointed B.C. liaison in pipeline dispute

imagesThe British Columbia government has appointed former New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen as a provincial liaison with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in an LNG pipeline dispute, a move welcomed by spokesmen for both the chiefs and the company.

Cullen represented Skeena-Bulkley Valley, a sprawling part of northern British Columbia that includes the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, until last year when he decided not to seek re-election.

The premier’s office said Monday that Cullen will work with Wet’suwet’en leaders, the RCMP, Coastal GasLink, the provincial public sector and other parties.

Cullen will focus on de-escalating the conflict surrounding a court-ordered injunction regarding the company’s access to a forest service road outside of Houston.

“I’m pleased all parties have agreed to the appointment of a liaison,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement.

“Nathan has agreed to act as an intermediary in the hopes of finding a solution to this challenging dispute.”

The premier’s office said Cullen would not be available for an interview.

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nations along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre route from northeastern B.C. to an export terminal in Kitimat but the hereditary clan chiefs say it has no authority without their consent.

Work on the project has been halted for about a month, since the court granted the injunction and the chiefs countered with an eviction notice to the company.

Supporters of the chiefs have since built a new encampment along the road toward the work site and felled trees along the road.

The RCMP have said patrol officers found stacked tires with jugs of accelerant and rags soaked in fuel nearby.

Na’moks, who is one of the five hereditary clan chiefs, said in an interview that Cullen is well informed and represented the community well in Parliament for 14 years.

“There is a level of trust that currently we don’t share with many current elected officials or former,” said Na’moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale.

“It gives me more confidence than the premier of the province.”

Horgan has said that the rule of law must be respected and that the project will be built, but has not met with the hereditary clan chiefs since this year’s impasse began.

Horgan offered to have a phone conversation and sent Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser for a meeting. But Na’moks said the chiefs were in a conflicting meeting at the time of Fraser’s visit, and they prefer face-to-face meetings with fellow decision-makers.

The Wet’suwet’en are a peaceful people but there’s no scenario where a resolution will also involve a pipeline through their territory, he said.

Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer said he’s pleased with Cullen’s appointment and remains hopeful the chiefs will meet with the company.

The dispute has not yet affected the project’s schedule and it remains on track for service in 2023, he said. He declined to say exactly when the impasse would begin affecting the schedule.

“We know that time is getting short according to our schedule and we will start seeing impacts at some point,” he said.

Before the eviction notice was issued, the company was in the process of dismantling a temporary work camp in the disputed area and building a larger one that would allow major construction to begin this summer.

About 500 workers were expected to work in the area over the next 18 months or so, he said.

Small local route changes are possible, like a 40-kilometre or so diversion already approved south of Houston, he said.

But a major reroute at this stage is not possible, Pfeiffer said, because the regulatory work required would have a “major scheduling impact.”

The challenging terrain created by the Coast Mountains means the planned route would have the lowest environmental impacts based on river crossings and other considerations, he added.

“Every pipeline that’s come along has looked through there because that is the area that is most technically viable,” Pfeiffer said.

The company’s focus is on reaching a peaceful resolution and avoiding enforcement of the injunction by the RCMP. If the chiefs consent to a meeting, Pfeiffer said the company would like to discuss possible benefits for the Wet’suwet’en members they represent, he said.

 


Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

Manitoba carbon tax a maybe, Pallister says after meeting Trudeau in Winnipeg

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is holding out the possibility of imposing a carbon tax in his province as he tries to fashion a green plan that will meet with the federal government’s approval.

But he’s simultaneously warning that Ottawa will have to show some flexibility if it wants him to continue playing the role of bridge-builder to the other two Prairie provinces, where talk of western alienation and outright separation has escalated since Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won re-election on Oct. 21.

“The prime minister has said and numerous of his colleagues have said that they are seeking to build a stronger country. To do that, Manitoba is the bridge,” Pallister said Monday after a 30-minute meeting with Trudeau, who is in Winnipeg for a federal cabinet retreat.

“If you can’t get along with friendly Manitobans, there’s a lot of other Canadians you can’t get along with.”

Pallister’s government initially came up with a green plan that included a carbon tax that was below the national standard set by the Trudeau government. He scrapped the plan when it was rejected by Ottawa and joined his fellow conservative premiers in challenging the federal carbon-tax backstop in court.

Ottawa is imposing its tax on provinces that have refused to meet the national standard for pricing carbon emissions: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The national tax was initially imposed in New Brunswick as well but that province came up with its own tax after the election, which has since been approved by the feds.

Pallister said he’ll unveil a new green plan and discuss it with the federal government “in the not-too-distant future.” That dialogue, he added, “will include a carbon price of some kind.”

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said a carbon tax is “long past due” and Pallister should stop fighting it.

Whereas the national carbon tax is structured to escalate over time, Pallister indicated that he believes any tax should be “flat and low like the prairie horizon.”

Moreover, he said Ottawa must give Manitoba credit for steps it’s already taken to reduce carbon emissions, such as investing in clean hydroelectricity.

“We’ve put billions of dollars at risk to green up the environment and we deserve respect for that,” Pallister said.

“We deserve to be respected for our green record. We do not deserve to be called climate-change deniers by anybody … We want acceptance of our made-in-Manitoba green strategies.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has been travelling the country meeting with premiers and others in a bid to mend some of the deep divisions exposed by the election, said she and the prime minister already have “lots of respect for Manitoba.”

“I hope (Pallister) would agree that we have a very effective, friendly working relationship with him and we really appreciate that,” said Freeland, who is also the intergovernmental affairs minister. She sat in on Monday’s meeting between the two leaders.

“Manitoba occupies an important and valued geographic position in the country. It’s fair to describe Manitoba as being in the heart of the country and co-operating with the premier is really valuable to us.”

But extending that co-operation to watering down the federal carbon-pricing regime for Manitoba seems unlikely.

Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was not enthusiastic Monday about crediting the province for past measures to reduce emissions.

“We have to be forward-looking with climate change,” he said after making an announcement elsewhere in Winnipeg.

“At the end of the day, the challenge that we are facing is one of the emissions that exist today. We need to … have plans as to how we’re going to reduce the emissions that exist today on a go-forward basis.”

Trudeau’s tete-a-tete with Pallister came on the second day of a three-day federal cabinet retreat, being held in Winnipeg in a bid to reach out to a region that spurned Trudeau’s Liberals in the Oct. 21 election.

The election reduced the Liberals to a minority. They were entirely shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where Liberal environmental and climate policies are widely blamed for gutting the energy industry.

Manitoba, where the Liberals lost three of seven seats, is somewhat friendlier turf.

Pallister has signalled his willingness to work with Ottawa, in stark contrast to the other openly hostile Prairie premiers, Alberta’s Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe.

“We pride ourselves here on being Canadian first and we have the opportunity to, I think, partner in an improved way on several major files that I think Canadians will appreciate,” Pallister said as he sat down with Trudeau.

The Trudeau government has so far gotten little credit in the other Prairie provinces for its controversial decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure plans for its expansion go ahead – a decision that cost Liberals support among environmentalists and progressive voters.

But now that construction is actually underway and the Supreme Court last week cleared away another legal hurdle to the project, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan expressed hope Sunday that tempers will cool down a bit in the West.

The expanded pipeline is to carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to the British Columbia coast for export overseas.


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Labour action continues at Federated Co-op

Pension funding behind unrest at Co-op Refinery Complex

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 3.27.01 PMOn December 3, 2019, 729 unionized workers at Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex, an 800-acre site in the city’s northeast sector that produces up to 145,000 barrels per day, went on strike to protect what they saw as a challenge from management on their pensions. Two days later, workers were locked out of the facility after management determined their presence constituted a threat to safety. Non-unionized staff has been brought in to maintain production, a move that has angered Unifor Local 594 members who have since organized boycotts of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) locations such as grocery stores, gas bars and cardlocks as well as convenience stores and car washes.

Unifor’s position is that it’s all about the integrity of their negotiated contract that ensures pension security for those who choose to remain in the Defined Benefits Pension Plan (DB). The stated goal for workers is to be able to choose whether or not a Defined Contribution Pension Plan (DC) or the DB option is the right way for workers to go and whether those who choose the DB plan will have their pensions protected.

Unifor points to statements from Federated Co-op’s executive vice-president, Vic Huard who is quoted as saying, “Every single employee who currently is in the Defined Benefits Plan will remain in that plan from now until when they retire.” They argue that the company is now reneging on this in a move that will cost workers money and pension security.

Federated Co-op has countered by saying that workers are being asked to make a choice. The first option asks unionized employees to contribute to their current Defined Benefits Pension Plan, as most employees enrolled in pension plans in Canada already do. The second option is to move to a Defined Contribution Pension Plan, which is the same as the one offered to management staff, whereby FCL contributes 10%.

Currently, FCL funds the entire DB for unionized workers. In the DC scenario, workers would see the company shell out as much as 14% of the costs, while workers paid the rest. Terms of the 2016 contract froze out new workers from the DB side and received agreement to continue full pension funding for its legacy employees.

Since the 2016 agreement was inked, Federated has had a second look at the DB option and suggests that the funding of this benefit places it in a competitive disadvantage with other refineries. They claim that the benefits are impacting profits and costing big dollars to members, as well as associated Co-operatives across Western Canada. They report that their unionized employees currently earn, on average, a base wage of $104,000 per year. With overtime, that increases to $123,000.

When the Defined Benefits Pension Plan and other benefits are factored in, the total average compensation rises to $172,000 per year. They also report they are offering an increase of 11.75% over four years to the employees’ base wage before overtime, pension and benefit considerations. And, FCL has offered workers access to the company’s performance plan that pays an annual incentive bonus based on the refinery’s performance.

The union has said no deal, citing 75 years of profits at FCL and a refinery that has made close to $3 billion in profit since 2016. They comment that the profits are the result of the skilled labour and their workers are entitled to a share in the form of continued DB pension plan contributions by FCL. Workers are now picketing retail locations and the union has been running a billboard campaign in cities across the West.

The Refinery Complex has also been the recipient of a blockade, where fuel trucks have been prevented from entering the plant. Videos that seek to ‘out’ replacement workers have also been hitting the Internet. On January 13, 2020, Unifor 594 blockaded the Prairie Sky Co-op’s Crossroads location in Weyburn. There, picketers permitted customers of the gas bar, cardlock and restaurant to come and go, but employees were only allowed in, making it difficult for the business. Other locations such as Winnipeg’s Pembina and Taylor gas bar, car wash and c-store have seen Unifor teams picket and distribute information as the strike moves toward a third month of action.

Octane editor Kelly Gray can be reached at kgray@ensembleiq.com


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Parkland acquires U.S.-based Kellerstrass Oil

Parkland Fuel Corporation, through its wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries, it has entered into an agreement to acquire the entities and assets of Kellerstrass Oil Company.

UnknownBased in Salt Lake City, Kellerstrass is a regional retail dealer and commercial fuel business with branches in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

Calgary-based Parkland is an independent supplier and marketer of fuel and petroleum products and a convenience store operator servicing customers across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean region and the Americas through its retail, commercial and wholesale divisions.

In a release Parkland stated: “In addition to highly efficient trucking, routing and distribution practices, Kellerstrass brings a strategic 17-car rail spur and storage assets, commercial card locks and an 84-location dealer business. Kellerstrass will complement and strengthen Parkland’s existing Rockies Regional Operating Centre.”

The acquisition is part of Parkland’s efforts to expand its U.S. footprint, says Doug Haugh, president of Parkland USA. “We expect this acquisition will support the growth of our North America diesel platform, create supply efficiencies and deliver logistical benefits. We are delighted to enter the Idaho market and expand our presence in Wyoming and look forward to welcoming the Kellerstrass team to Parkland.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.


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OPCA to host conference at Convenience U

Conference-Banner-2020-1The Convenience U CARWACS Show is proud to announce that the OPCA has chosen The Convenience U CARWACS Show as the site of their annual conference for 2020.

The Convenience U CARWACS Show is taking place on March 3 & 4, 2020 at The Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Road, Toronto.

In addition to being able to join the convenience, gas and car wash industries for the largest show of its kind in Canada, OPCA members will gather for a members-only curriculum, including safety sessions, manufacturer-led training, and the OPCA’s Annual General Meeting.

The Ontario Petroleum Contractors Association is a non-profit association of member companies incorporated to establish, promote and maintain the highest standards of quality, safety, and environmental protection for all types of installations and modifications of petroleum systems.

For more information on the OPCA, visit opcaonline.org


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Charging forward

It just got easier to reduce motorists’ cross country carbon footprints. Last month Suncor brand Petro-Canada completed its national (B.C. to Nova Scotia) electric vehicle (EV) network.

With more than 50 sites located from the Rockies to the Atlantic region, each location features DC fast chargers with both CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE connectors supporting a wide range of vehicles. The chargers can provide up to a 200-kilowatt charge; enough to deliver an 80% fill to most EVs in less than 30 minutes. Suncor worked with the Government of Canada that anted up $4.6 million to assist the project.

 With more than 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in Canada and an average of 4,000 EVs added each month, we know that this is an important step in meeting the current and future driving needs of Canadians,” says Suncor President and CEO Mark Little speaking about the company’s Canadas Electric Highway initiative.We want to be part of the total solution to meet energy demand and reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation system.”

Canada’s Electric Highway adds to the infrastructure already implemented or planned by major auto manufacturers, such as Tesla and VW.

Unknown-1For example, Electrify Canada, a  subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, has broken ground on its new national EV fast-charging network with the construction of its first location near Toronto in the Halton Hills area. The company is also partnering with Canadian Tire to create 20 EV sites to complement the retailer’s existing charging network that was developed in conjunction with FLO EV.

VW’s EV station can support charging between 50 and 350 kW. Built by ClearBlue Technologies of Toronto, plans will see as many as 32 locations constructed over the coming months in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. 

images-1All will sport CCS and CHAdeMO charging ports that are compatible with almost all models of EVs. Tesla uses its own proprietary charger, but offers kits to connect their cars to these kinds of stations. Currently, Tesla offers 64 active chargers in Canada, with 23 under construction and 11 in the approval phase. This compares to almost 700 in the US.

According to Robert Barrosa, COO of Electrify Canada, the Halton Hills site is the first step toward building out EV charging infrastructure that will make low carbon electric vehicles more practical for buyers.

With new membership plans, competitive pricing and a mobile app that makes charging with us easier than ever, we are confident that a growing number of consumers will consider making their next vehicle purchase an EV,” says Barrosa.

 Volkswagen’s Electrify Canada station includes four charging stands that use cooled-cable technology to enable fast charging, with room to build more as demand ramps upwardChargers will be intuitive, as well as informative, with 15-inch touch screen displays and credit card readers. To make things even easier Electrify Canada will be launching an app that will allow users to manage the charging session from their mobile device. App features include a station locator, payment function, and session tracking capability. Chargers are up to eight feet high to provide easier vehicle charge port access. 

Currently, Canada has about 95,000 electric vehicles (battery and battery/hybrid) and some 6000 EV charging sites with the majority in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario.