Thank you for inviting me.
It is widely understood that over the next decade the transportation sector will experience more change than it has experienced in the last century. New vehicular technologies and new mobility models will profoundly impact how people and goods move around.
On the technology side, connectivity and automation will become an integral part of the mobility landscape. The combination of these technologies holds promise for safer, more democratized, and, if planned for appropriately, more sustainable mobility through the appropriate use of AVs. Around the world, governments are introducing regulations favouring the arrival of these vehicles and investing in the creation of industry hubs around connected and autonomous vehicular technologies in the hopes of attracting mobility stakeholders who will invest locally, resulting in strong economic benefits.
In Canada, the Province of Ontario has taken the lead in supporting the development and integration of these technologies. Through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Government of Ontario is investing with private industry in R and D efforts. The availability of qualified people to work on the development of these technologies is, of course, key to attracting stakeholders. The internationally recognized work of the University of Waterloo in AV-related research, for example, is attracting private industry attention and investment.
In December 2017, the Quebec government introduced Bill 165 to amend the Highway Safety Code and other provisions. It provides for the special rules that could be set under a pilot project authorized by the minister to allow AVs to operate on Quebec's road network. As was said previously, the time to act is now to ensure that Canada is an important player in what is expected to be a multi-billion-dollar industry.
With the expertise of its members, Electric Mobility Canada is uniquely positioned to understand and to promote the accelerated adoption of AVs as a key component of sustainable mobility. We are convinced that future connected and autonomous vehicles must be equipped with electric propulsion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We encourage the Government of Canada to study the impacts of connected vehicles and AVs as part of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change and to develop regulations that will ensure that future vehicular technologies are electric.
The International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance, with member jurisdictions in Europe and North America, including two in Canada, in Quebec and B.C., is currently studying the future of shared autonomous fleets and how to ensure that these fleets are composed of electric vehicles. The jurisdictions seek to collaborate with other governments to expand the global ZEV market and enhance government co-operation on ZEV policies in order to strengthen and coordinate efforts to combat air pollution, limit global climate change, and reduce oil dependency by increasing ZEV deployment.
I am the project manager of this initiative and I lead the work the alliance is doing. I encourage the Government of Canada to learn from the work being undertaken by this alliance.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities should study how to ensure that connected and automated vehicles are electric. This study should have three objectives.
The first is to determine the advantages of electric AVs on Canada’s climate change. Today transportation generates approximately a quarter of the country's GHG emissions. If the number of vehicle kilometres travelled increases, as is being expected, with the arrival of AVs, without a change in propulsion technologies we can reasonably expect that the transportation sector will result in significant increases in GHG emissions. Given GHG emissions generated by the transportation sector, given Canada’s climate change commitments, and given the unknowns surrounding usage of AVs, it is imperative that the committee recommend and document the numerous benefits associated with future vehicular technologies that are electric.
The second objective is to determine the areas of federal regulation. The Canadian federal government is to act in the best interests of Canadians. In the area of AVs and CVs, collaborating and learning from other jurisdictions, as well as organizations such as the ZEV Alliance, is recommended. The proposed work that we're suggesting should evaluate the impacts of these technologies and related business models in order to develop policies, regulations, and programs that have the individual Canadian, the economy, and the environment in mind, and it should comprise three elements.
First is determining how to ensure the safety of the technology, how we test for it.
Second is undertaking an assessment of how data laws will need to be changed to reflect the best interest of Canadians. This includes custody, access, and use of the mobility data, and an evaluation of how best to collaborate with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments on these technologies to ensure that sustainable mobility models are in place.
The third part of this study is to identify economic benefits and opportunities for employment creation in this country. We've talked about the loss of jobs. We now need to figure out how the arrival of this technology and these business models can develop jobs in this country.