August 27, 2018 11:14 pm
Updated: August 28, 2018 8:24 pm

Court rules in favour of Tesla over Ontario government’s cancellation of electric vehicle rebates

WATCH ABOVE: In an attempt to protect Ontario's traditional auto industry, Premier Doug Ford scrapped the electric vehicle debate. As a result, that shut Tesla out of the market. But as Mike Drolet reports, the car giant went to court to have that decision overturned - and won.

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An Ontario court has ruled in favour of Tesla Motors Canada after the company filed an application claiming the Ontario government targeted the company when it cancelled the province’s electric vehicle rebate program

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“If the government wants to transition out of the electric car subsidy program, the [minister of transportation] must exercise his operational discretion in a lawful manner. He has yet to do so,” Justice F.L. Myers of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice wrote in a decision released on Monday.

“I therefore quash and set aside the minister’s unlawful exercises of discretion to implement the transition program announced [in July].”

READ MORE: Ontario government asking court to toss application from Tesla over electric vehicle rebates

In its application, Tesla claimed it has been treated unfairly in the cancellation of a program providing rebates to Ontario residents who bought electric vehicles.

The company said the decision by Premier Doug Ford’s government to halt the program in July left hundreds of its customers no longer eligible for rebates they expected to get when they ordered their vehicles.

Tesla claimed it was also left out of a program that allowed customers of other electric vehicle brands to continue receiving rebates during a transition period.

The court found the government’s decision to restrict the transition program to franchised dealerships was “arbitrary.”

READ MORE: Tesla suing Ontario government over cancellation of electric vehicle rebates

“The minister singled out Tesla for reprobation and harm without provided (sic) Tesla any opportunity to be heard or any fair process whatsoever,” Myers wrote.

However, the court will not stop limiting the transition program to franchised dealers.

“Doing that effectively reshapes the transition program and requires the government to fund subsidies to Tesla’s customers, I am not prepared to make such an order,” the ruling said.

A Tesla spokesperson told Global News in a statement the company is “pleased” with the ruling, calling the government’s transition plan “unfair and unlawful.”

READ MORE: PC government’s decision to end Ontario electric vehicle rebate program likely to affect sales, industry association says

The Ontario government said the decision to revoke the rebate program was made for “valid public reasons,” and Tesla’s application should be dismissed.

Jessica Trepanier, a spokesperson for Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, told Global News in a brief statement Monday evening provincial officials are still reviewing the decision.

She said the government “will make a decision on how to proceed in the coming days.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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