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On April 17, 2019, Transport Canada released details on the purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for zero-emission vehicles as originally proposed in the 2019 Budget.

The incentive will apply to new purchases or leases on or after May 1, 2019. To receive the incentive, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price must be less than $45,000 for vehicles with six or fewer seats, while a vehicle with seven or more seats must have a suggested retail price of less than $55,000. Higher priced versions (trims) up to $55,000 (six or fewer seats) or $60,000 (seven or more seats) will also qualify. Delivery, freight and other fees, such as vehicle colour and add-on accessories, which push the actual purchase price over these limits will not result in the incentive being lost.

The full $5,000 incentive will be available for eligible battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, or longer range plug-in hybrid vehicles (battery capacity of 15 kWh or more), while shorter range plug-in hybrid vehicles will be eligible for a $2,500 incentive.

Leases of 48 months or more qualify for the full incentive, with reduced amounts available for shorter leases. It will be reduced to 75% for a minimum 36-month lease, 50% for a minimum 24-month lease, or 25% for a minimum 12-month lease.

The purchase incentive will be applied at the point of sale (i.e. at dealerships or online) directly on the bill of sale or lease agreement of eligible vehicles.

The dealership is responsible for completing the documentation required to receive the incentive. Claims can be submitted through the Transport Canada online portal. Funding will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Individuals can only get one incentive per year. Businesses (including NPOs and provincial, territorial and municipal governments) can get up to ten incentives per year. 

As an alternative to receiving the cash incentive, a temporary enhanced first-year capital cost allowance (CCA) rate of 100% may be claimed by those using the vehicle for income earning purposes. Specific restrictions and conditions apply. The deduction may be restricted to the first $55,000 in cost depending on the size, seating, and use of the vehicle. 

ACTION ITEM: Review the Transport Canada website to determine if a future vehicle purchase would be eligible. The website includes a list of eligible vehicles and responses to frequently asked questions.