Province cancels ‘Drive Clean’ program; replacement will target heavy vehicles

TORONTO — Ontario motorists have chafed under the program’s rules for two decades, and now the Drive Clean Program has reached the end of the road.

At Queen’s Park today, the Ford government voted to kill Drive Clean, effective April 1 next year.

The outgoing program, described as “inefficient and outdated” by the governing Progressive Conservatives — and the only one of its kind left in the country — will be replaced by another emissions-testing regime applied solely to heavy vehicles like commercial transport trucks.

The old ‘Drive Clean’ subjected many older light cars and trucks to emissions tests every other year — or more recently, a check of the onboard computer — and yet exempted certain areas of the province.  For example, the rule applied in much Eastern Ontario but gave a free pass to Renfrew County.

And fewer and fewer cars were failing the test, a fact the Ford government credits to the  “success” of the old program combined with improved industry standards and technology.

Local MPP Jim McDonell said the cancellation was in keeping with a campaign promise “to keep money in your pocket and reduce the regulatory burden on Ontario families,” adding the Auditor General “reported years ago that the program had fulfilled its purpose and was not longer required.”

The “enhanced” replacement program will “specifically target heavy duty vehicles and the highest polluters on Ontario roads” to ensure the province “continues to lead Canada in reducing harmful smog-causing pollutants,” the MPP said. The PCs promise it will also bring tougher on-road inspections to ensure owners are properly maintaining their vehicle emissions.

More details about the new program for heavy duty vehicles will be available in the coming months from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.


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