While many provinces are incentivizing people to switch over to pollution-free automobiles, Saskatchewan has positioned itself as an outlier by imposing a new $150 fee for all electric vehicles users.
The fee took effect Oct. 1, and is meant to ensure EV users pay their fair share for road use. The move was ridiculed by environmental advocates, who say it will discourage the shift to EVs. However, the government rationalized the move by noting drivers of gasoline-powered vehicles already contribute to road and highway maintenance through taxes on gas that go to varying levels of government, including the province.
Although $150 isn’t a huge price for many EV owners, it’s a move Joel Bruneau, a professor of economics at the University of Saskatchewan, says sends a strong negative message to anyone who may be considering a new EV. As of September, there were only 611 registered EVs in the province, compared to British Columbia, where there were 54,000 registered as of April.
The president of the Canadian Medical Association says provinces like Alberta are “gaslighting” health-care workers over the toll the COVID-19 crisis is taking on the health-care system.
“What is happening in the world when we have governments unwilling to listen to the people doing the job?” she told a news conference on Wednesday.
The doctors organization joined with the Canadian Nurses Association to hold an emergency summit Tuesday with health-care workers discussing how to move forward, as COVID-19 cases climb in parts of the country, pushing health systems to the brink.
Together, they called on governments to address staffing shortages across Canada through better retention and recruitment efforts, as well as provide “immediate relief” to those working in COVID-19 hot zones.
The organizations also want governments to commit to protect health systems from collapsing by bringing in public health measures needed to prevent further spread of the virus, and empower school boards to do the same.
The Premiere of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs discusses the 14-day restrictions on parts of the province ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
That the NB provincial government is acting decisively and swiftly, is in stark contrast with how the provincial governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia are handling this pandemic.