The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that public transit is an essential service for Canadians. The following recommendations set out a bold and ambitious plan to build public transit back better, as part of Canada’s clean, inclusive recovery from COVID-19. This plan will help Canada build the public transit systems, and the cities, of a cleaner, better future.
In 2022, CUTRIC began consultations with members and stakeholders for the development of its updated Five-Point Plan – a series of recommendations to the federal government on how best to build a low-carbon, innovative, resilient transit system for Canadians.
1. Help all fleets make the right decarbonization choices.
CUTRIC and its members will recommend that the federal government should expand the ZETF to non-transit, heavy-duty public fleets, such as public utility vehicles and service vehicles for Crown corporations, and create a parallel program using a modified 50:50 offset rule for funding private fleets, such as waste management vehicles. CUTRIC members recommend creating a $10 million program for public fleets and a $5 million program for private fleets, effective 2023 to 2026.
2. Achieve price parity between green hydrogen and diesel.
CUTRIC and its members will recommend that Infrastructure Canada create a temporary, three-year 75% offset program for “green hydrogen” supplied zero-emission fuel-cell buses to help stimulate their deployment while national green hydrogen production hubs are established and become operational.
3. Identify renewable natural gas (RNG) as a potential “third solution” for zero-emissions transit.
CUTRIC and its members will recommend defining RNG as an eligible clean fuel and propulsion option in alignment with the federal Clean Fuel Standard in an expanded ZETF program or as part of permanent transit funding in the future.
4. Find smart and innovative solutions for a safe return to transit post-pandemic.
A clean, safe and healthy public transit system is part of Canada’s decarbonized future. In a world where pandemics may become part of life, and violence on transit is escalating, research into ways to make transit safer is critical. CUTRIC and its members will recommend the federal government use NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR to fund a federal “Return to Transit” research initiative through CUTRIC.
5. Expand access to an emissions reduction market by enhancing Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System.
CUTRIC and its members will recommend the federal government explore integrating users of emissions-reducing fuels into the overall carbon credit market to incentivize adoption, rather than just production, in the transition to a decarbonized transportation marketplace. CUTRIC produced a White Paper on Canada’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Offset Credit System White Paper to provide more context to this recommendation.
- Build systems and cities of the future
- Make Canada a leader in cutting-edge, clean technology
- Support domestic economic growth
- Improve mobility and accessibility in Canadian communities/for working families/women and other marginalized groups who rely on public transit
- Build a more inclusive society
- Investing in long-term improvements; resiliency