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Ontario government to scrap Drive Clean vehicle emissions testing

Ontario government to scrap Drive Clean program
WATCH ABOVE: Premier Ford announced Friday morning that they will be scrapping the province's Drive Clean emissions program starting April 1, 2019. Sean O'Shea has more on this.

The Ontario government will abolish the province’s Drive Clean vehicle emissions testing program as of April 1, 2019.

Premier Doug Ford, along with Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Rod Phillips and Transportation Minister John Yakabuski, made the announcement during a news conference Friday morning at an auto repair shop in Toronto’s west end.

READ MORE: Newer cars almost never fail Drive Clean. Why keep testing them?

“Cancelling Drive Clean will save taxpayers upwards of $40 million every year, money that will stay in your pockets,” Ford said.

The move follows a Globalnews.ca investigation in 2014 which showed new cars almost never fail the Drive Clean test.

READ MORE: Ontario to launch pilot project to have Drive Clean emissions test done remotely

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WATCH: Doug Ford announces end to Drive Clean emissions testing in Ontario

Doug Ford announces end to Drive Clean emissions testing in Ontario
Doug Ford announces end to Drive Clean emissions testing in Ontario

The Drive Clean program tests emissions every two years on cars and light-duty trucks over seven years old, but critics have called for the program to be eliminated entirely.

The Ontario Liberal government waived the $30 program fee in 2017.

In its place, the Tory government plan on introducing an “enhanced program” targeting heavy-duty vehicles like commercial transport trucks.

VIDEO: Globalnews.ca investigation finds many vehicles are near perfect

“More vehicle will be tested and almost twice as many polluting vehicles will be repairs,” Environment Minister Rod Phillips said.

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“This means tougher on-road inspections and strong enforcement that will ensure that owners are accountable and properly maintaining their vehicle’s emissions.”

The province said details about the new program will be revealed in the coming months.

READ MORE: Newer cars almost never fail Drive Clean. Why keep testing them?

Last year the Liberals proposed a pilot project that would allow testing remotely through onboard diagnostics. At the time, the government said the program resulted in cleaner air as it contributed to reducing emissions.

Drive Clean previously came under fire for amassing multi-million-dollar surpluses, even though it was supposed to be a revenue neutral program.

LISTEN: Environment Minister Rod Phillips on the cancellation of Drive Clean

The Drive Clean program has been in place since 1999, when it was introduced by then-PC Premier Mike Harris’s government. The idea was to identify and repair cars and trucks that polluted excessively.

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VIDEO: Ontario government to focus on testing transport trucks, heavy-duty vehicles

Ontario government to focus on testing transport trucks, heavy-duty vehicles
Ontario government to focus on testing transport trucks, heavy-duty vehicles

— With files from David Shum, Patrick Cain and The Canadian Press