Canada’s electric vehicle mandate: What needs to be done for the auto care sector 

March 12, 2024

The Government of Canada’s new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard shows that EVs are not going anywhere— and in just eleven years, are to be fully embraced. The New Electric Vehicle Availability Standard mandates 100 per cent of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035. With ZEVs becoming the new norm much faster than anticipated, manufacturers are shifting priorities in order to meet this goal. 

However, it is not just the manufacturers that need to adjust—this affects the auto care sector as well. While this new mandate pushes consumers to purchase ZEVs, once the vehicle’s warranty is over, more ZEV owners will come to rely heavily on the auto care sector. 

While this reliance on the auto care sector is not necessarily negative, there are some challenges the industry first needs to overcome before EVs become even more mainstream than they are now. 

Standardized training is needed. If the federal government wants to achieve the goal of the EV mandate, then there must be standardized training in place for the auto care sector. When it comes down to tires, windshield wipers, and door locks, repairing and servicing EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles may not look that different.  

However, the two types of vehicles could not be more contrasting. Servicing and repairing EVs is complex, and for people to safely service and repair them, standardized training needs to be available. 

Not only must this training be available, but more importantly, it must be accessible to auto care professionals across the country—in both urban and rural areas. If training and up-skilling opportunities are not accessible to auto care professionals across the industry, it jeopardizes jobs and businesses across the auto care sector, and in turn, limits the choice that vehicle owners have when it comes to vehicle repair. 

Creating a standardized and nation-wide labour market adjustment program, with accessible up-skilling programs for current and incoming auto care professionals to gain the necessary skills for tomorrow’s EV market is imperative to ensure success with Canada’s new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard.  

However, Canada is lacking a comprehensive national strategy where the government plays a role in enabling workers to receive standardized training about the foundations of repairing and servicing EVs. The responsibility to initiate these trainings, when EVs are becoming government mandated, should not solely be on the companies. 

However, this is easier said than done, and has many different moving parts. For one, there needs to be reassurance that participants do not face any financial burdens while attending training courses. This requires some integration between employers, government support, and training.  

Up-skilling the existing workforce in the auto care sector is a multi-faceted approach that needs fast, strategic action if the government wishes to meet their 2035 goal of 100 per cent ZEV sales to reduce emissions while simultaneously becoming a global EV powerhouse. 

That said, the auto care sector is not without up-skilling and standardized training. As of now, there are resources available for EV up-skilling and training, including: 

While there are many training options available, most of these programs have not been designed to meet a consistent industry-wide standard. Workers who previously have participated in these trainings assume they are safe while servicing and repairing EVs. 

However, without a set standard in Canada, no one can feel truly confident that they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to stay safe while working on an EV. Ultimately, this can result in improper repairs, but also, significant health and safety risks for auto care workers, such as a thermal event due to a lack of understanding high-voltage systems.  

By having a nationwide strategy and standard in place for EV training and up-skilling, this will ensure safety on the road and safety in the shop when servicing and repairing EVs. I-CAR Canada, in the absence of a North American standard, follows the European standard, ECER100, to ensure safe and quality repairs across the country. 

Industry, in partnership with government, can more quickly adapt to up-skill and train automotive technicians, more than today’s current apprenticeship training systems can. To make this happen, and ensure safety when servicing and repairing EVs, there needs to be continued investment into the skilled trades by government, by including making more funding available to employers so they can access third-party training for their workers and set industry standards around training requirements and safety in shops. 


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