What Ontario party leaders are promising to deal with high gas prices

With the price of gasoline reaching historic highs across the GTA on an almost daily basis, and no immediate end in sight, what are the political parties doing to try and ease the pain at the pumps for consumers?

Here’s a look at some of the promises and measures announced by each of the four leaders heading up to the June 2 election.

Gas taxes broken down

10 cents per litre = federal excise tax
11 cents per litre = federal carbon tax
14.7 cents per litre = Ontario fuel tax
13 per cent = HST

Ontario PC party

In June 2018, Doug Ford promised to reduce the gas tax by 10 cents a litre. When the Conservatives were elected, Ford cancelled the cap-and-trade system which trimmed gasoline prices by 4.2 cents. However, the federal carbon tax backstop kicked in and negated any savings at the pump. Ottawa says Ontarians will see an increase of more than 66 per cent in carbon-price rebate cheques to make up for too-small rebates in the last two years.

Ford has since called on the federal government to reduce its portion of the gas tax and that he would match it.

At the beginning of April, the Ford government introduced legislation that would see the gas tax reduced by 5.7 cents a litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents. However, those savings won’t kick in until July 1 and would only be for six months. Ford explained that he couldn’t do it sooner because the industry needed time to “adjust their systems and business processes.” If it does happen, it would be the first time in more than three decades Ontario has reduced the gas tax.

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP tabled a bill back on March 2 called the Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act which would require the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of petroleum products in Ontario. At the time, the price of gas in the GTA was $1.67 per litre. The NDP point out that this was the third time such a bill was proposed in the legislature but that both the Liberals and Conservatives failed to act on it.

Ontario Liberal party

The Liberals have not put forth any proposals that directly target the price you pay at the pumps, instead they will offer rebates of up to $8,000 for electric vehicles up to retail prices of $65,000 while also incentivizing people to take public transit by slashing all transit fares across the province to $1 per ride until January 2024.

Ontario Green party

Similar to the Liberals, the Green Party has not proposed any measures to directly target the price you pay at the pump. “Ontario Greens will make life more affordable and tackle the climate emergency at the same time by helping people drive and bike electric.”

Among their proposals are to offer incentives of up to $10,000 for new electric cars and $1,000 for used electric cars; incentives of $1,000 for e-bikes; Significantly expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and cut transit fares in half for three months.

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