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Our electric vehicle future: It’s closer than you think

Despite problems with everything from global supply chains to local charging infrastructure, Canada is about to rapidly adopt electric vehicles. Here’s why.



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Is it time for you to buy an electric car? You may be answering ‘yes’ to that question sooner than you think. Because things are about to change rapidly.

By 2026, 20% of all passenger cars, trucks and SUVs sold in Canada will be electric vehicles (EVs). By 2030, that number jumps to 60%. And in 2035, every vehicle sold in Canada will be electric.

These are no longer unenforceable targets, but regulated mandates, per Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, who announced them in December 2022. 

So, you may be wondering – how exactly is all this going to happen? 

Canada is – seemingly – a long ways off from being able to hit those targets. EVs make up about one out of every eight sales of new cars in the world. In Canada, however, that number is just one in 14. Without further joint action by automakers, governments and consumers, Canada could fall far short of its goals. And that’s before you realize that broad-scale EV adoption requires the provinces and federal government to play nice with each other — not always their strong suit. Ultimately, you’re forgiven if you’re feeling a little skeptical about EVs.

So, why are we likely to see such accelerated change?

By no later than next year we’ll see price parity between electric passenger vehicles and traditional (internal combustion engine) passenger vehicles. And that’s just one important area where all trends are pointing towards an electrified future.

Here’s a look at the key questions Canada will need to answer to meet its EV ambitions.

How will Canada respond to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act?

Government policy. Sure, it can get a little boring, but stay with us here because this is critical stuff.

The U.S. has previously been accused of dragging its heels on the energy transition (and EV adoption). Not anymore. It’s now moving ambitiously and aggressively, and they’re going to drag Canada along for the ride.

In August 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. The legislation commits almost $400 billion (U.S.) over 10 years to clean energy, including a combination of grants, tax credits, and loan guarantees. The legislation includes significant tax credits for the purchase of EVs, incentives for upgrading charging infrastructure, and other measures that will accelerate EV adoption.

The IRA is a signature piece of legislation in the battle against the climate crisis, and it has been received as a game-changer for the energy transition — and EVs. In fact, many countries are now scrambling to respond to the legislation to stay competitive, and Canada is no exception.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland recently told reporters the Inflation Reduction Act has changed the playing field with respect to competition for global capital. 

Freeland: “I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I believe that we need to seize the moment and build the clean economy of the 21st century. This is a huge economic opportunity.”

While Canada has already put policies in place to incentivize clean energy, electrification, and EV adoption, we’re likely to see a whole different level of policy ambition, starting in this spring’s federal budget. 

Freeland and the federal Liberals are ready to go big.

Can Canadians even get electric cars if they want them?

Okay, this is a problem. Demand for EVs is increasing in part because of the available rebates — including up to a $5000 tax rebate from the federal government on top of provincial subsidies — but there is a lack of supply and long waiting lists around the country. At what point does a consumer look at a 12 or 15 month wait time and say, “I’ll just get another ‘normal’ car right now?”

The National Observer recently reported that even the feds are struggling to electrify Canada’s public fleets in part because of how global supply chain delays have affected vehicle availability. The pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and shortages of key materials like chips are all constraining local supply of finished EVs.

The good news here is that automakers are taking advantage of incentives (both carrots and sticks) and ramping up their production. Today, availability is a huge problem, but that’s going to be temporary. 

Automakers see the economic opportunity the same way the federal government does and most of them are planning for a fully electric future.

Will Canadians be able to find places to charge their electric vehicles?

There are two issues here: charging at home and charging on the go. And — stop us if you’ve heard this one before -— Canada is way behind on both. 

We’re finally moving faster on charging options for people away from their homes. The federal government has announced that it would invest in 50,000 new charging stations across the country by 2027. That would bring federally funded charging infrastructure to 85,000 units.

It’s trickier at home. While homeowners will be able to take advantage of tax incentives to make sure they can charge their vehicles at home, more than a third of the country doesn’t live in a detached house. And some of those that do are renting and can’t necessarily install charging stations without landlord approval.

Imagine the charging challenge in a city like Toronto or Vancouver where millions live in apartments and condos. How does a high-rise apartment provide enough charging capability for all the people living there? Will residents be forced to use public charging infrastructure? How much will that push them away from buying EVs? 

There are no easy answers to these questions.

Will Canadians trust electric vehicles not to leave them stranded in the dead of winter?

‘Range anxiety’ is the phrase used to describe the fear that an EV won’t be able to get you to where you need to go without running out of charge.

‘Don’t want to end up stranded on the highway at thirty below’ is the phrase some Canadians use to explain why they don’t want to buy an EV.

Range anxiety used to be a huge issue for prospective buyers, but the majority of vehicles available in Canada now offer between 300-400 km per charge, if not more. That’s plenty for daily commuting and weekend errands. And with a national network of fast-charging stations, even long trips become less stressful.

But. (And there’s always a but, isn’t there?) EVs underperform in cold weather. 

And Canada is one of the coldest major countries on earth.

A recent report found that EVs can lose up to 30 percent of their range in freezing temperatures. Innovation may eventually cure that problem. Or not. But until then, consumers will need to balance price, tax incentives, lifestyles, and charging infrastructure in making their purchase decisions. 

Here in early 2023, it’s easy to see them landing on the side of ‘waiting until later’.

The bottom line on EVs

There is no argument about the future of EVs. They are going to become the dominant, and eventually exclusive, vehicles on our roads. 

The real question is how fast that happens.

For perhaps the first time in history, government policy, consumer interest, manufacturer intent, and climate urgency are all finally working together to drive change. Change can rightly be seen as far away, but it’s also oh-so-close.

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80% of electronic waste in Canada went “uncollected” and “unrecycled” in 2020

According to University of Waterloo researchers, the amount of electronic waste in Canada has more than tripled in the last 20 years.



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When you think of waste management and reduction, you might picture dump trucks of food waste, packaging, and of course — plastic straws. 

But a less discussed type of waste is building up in Canada: electronic waste, or e-waste, meaning electronics that no longer work or are needed. Examples include:

  • Computers
  • Televisions
  • Stereos
  • Fax and copy machines
  • Headphones and radios
  • Electric appliances
  • Other electronic products

The study reminds readers that electronic waste has a large number of hazardous materials in its composition, including: 

  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Now, Canada doesn’t show up in the top 10 countries with the biggest e-waste generation. We’re looking at China, the US, and India as the top three. 

Still, a study by researchers at the University of Waterloo found that Canada’s e-waste tripled in the last two decades. 

Canada doesn’t have many up-to-date studies on national e-waste

Released in May 2023, this University of Waterloo study is reasonably named the “first comprehensive estimate of e-waste in Canada.” 

Researchers estimated e-waste figures based on data from import and export statistics, as well as in-use stocks of electrical and electronic equipment from 1971 to 2030. 

E-waste has tripled in the last twenty years in Canada

The study mentions how society has dramatically advanced with digitization and technology, resulting in newer electronic equipment by the year. 

However, this increase resulted in the simultaneous decommissioning of older electronic equipment because they become irrelevant or unusable faster. The result?

“Faster stockpiling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.”

Just how much waste are we talking? The study’s 60-year historical and projected period suggests a total of 29.1 million tonnes of e-waste, with consistent growth each year at 0.5%. 

But how did Canada fare in the years we have solid data for? Researchers note: 

  • 252 kilo tonnes in 2000
  • 954 kilo tonnes in 2020

While businesses account for more significant outputs of e-waste, the study calculated a per-capita e-waste generation of: 

  • 8.3kg in 2000
  • 25.4 kg in 2020
  • Estimated 31.5 kg in 2030

How to move forward with e-waste

The study’s data presents an opportunity for policymakers to better understand: 

  • Life cycle of electronic products
  • Reasonable targets for waste reduction
  • Resource circularity potential for e-waste management

Read the full University of Waterloo study.

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 Leading insurance company Chubb goes all in on AI

A look at how the billion-dollar insurance company plans to embrace AI in all business areas.



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Insurance claims aren’t supposed to take longer than a few weeks to settle — but some can take as long as several months. This is just one business challenge that AI helps insurance companies overcome.

And Chubb, one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, has taken note. 

Founded in 1882, Chubb is a leading insurance company based in Switzerland with offices worldwide — including a new tech services center in Greece. 

CEO Evan Greenberg recently shared a company-wide adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) on a larger scale with investors. 

The company’s newest services center in Thessaloniki, Greece, is expected to spearhead AI initiatives to improve digital transformation, efficiency, and customer experience. The common denominator? AI, specifically automation, machine learning, and cybersecurity modernization. 

So, what can AI do for the average insurance company?

  • Fraud detection: Insurance companies lose over $40 billion per year due to fraudulent claims, a contributor to increased premiums. Machine learning overcomes human limitations when detecting fraudulent indicators. The algorithms continuously improve based on data, which can save insurance companies tons of money. 
  • Risk assessment: Every insurance underwriter uses customer-provided data to assess risk and determine coverage accordingly. But if customers fabricate information, or if underwriters make mistakes, risk could either be over- or under-accounted for. AI helps companies minimize the chance of dishonesty seeping through by catching human-crafted answers versus accurate ones. 
  • Customer service and overall efficiency: Indeed, most people have a negative perception of insurance companies. But quicker claims, risk assessments, policy purchases, and settlements will support better customer experiences in the insurance industry — all thanks to a customer-centric shift powered by AI. Some companies are already using AI-powered chatbots to support customers in finding the most suitable policies for their needs and income. 
  • Labour savings: A double-edged sword, AI development in the insurance field will allow companies to hire fewer underwriters and agents, which saves on labour costs. Still, McKinsey points out that this shift would result in transitioning the agent’s role from handling “busy” work and “data collection” to “process facilitation and product educators.” 

Greenberg attributed AI to improved operations like underwriting, customer experience and service, marketing, and more. The benefits are fuelling the company’s shift to wider-spread adoption. 

Read the full story here

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Technology Helps CEO: It’s possible to make money and do good at the same time

Charles Buchanan says an investment in tackling digital poverty is both a social good and a long-term investment for corporate leaders.



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Charles Buchanan says there are ghosts among us.

He’s not a psychic. He’s no spiritualist leader. But he is an evangelist of sorts for a perennial problem in our increasingly connected world — technology poverty. 

Buchanan’s haunted by the fact that nearly 19 per cent of Canadians barely interacted with the internet in 2020. 

“I don’t like the word ‘class’ but there are two clear, distinct digital classes,” he says. 

“The people in the upper class don’t even know the people in the lower class because we engage digitally. They’re not on Facebook, they’re not on LinkedIn. They’re not visible. To us they sort of don’t exist.”

That digital non-existence has far-reaching implications for the individuals who can’t connect, and for society at large. But it’s not just individuals who struggle. 

Many non-profit organizations also lack the cash, time or in-house skills needed to keep up with the digital transformation, impeding their ability to provide services and remain relevant. 

It’s why Buchanan works tirelessly through his social enterprise — Technology Helps — to bridge that digital divide, working with non-profits as well as politicians to try and break down barriers and increase access not only to hardware like computers, but to the skills needed to navigate and thrive in a connected world. 

The problem

Technology poverty is a big problem, no just for the sheer number of organizations and individuals experiencing it, but also in terms of its breadth. Everything from slow internet connections, to lack of computers to a lack of education and training all fall under its umbrella. 

Its consequences are equally far reaching. 

According to Technology Helps, only 59 per cent of low-income homes in Canada have internet access, compared to 98 per cent in the highest income brackets.

Buchanan worked with the City of Calgary on its digital equity task force. The City indicated they were limited in resources to support the project.

“I said to them, whatever money you don’t have today, you better have 10 times that money tomorrow, because the people who are digitally isolated today are going to be your social justice challenges tomorrow, they’re going to be your unhoused problem tomorrow, they’re going to be your healthcare problems tomorrow,” he said.

He’s now preparing to give out around 500 laptops through the city program.

Technology poverty is pronounced in rural communities, low income families and particularly in Indigenous communities, where access to high-speed internet is hard to come by. Indigenous participation in the tech sector is significantly lower compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. 

The front lines of those social battles are non-profits, who are constantly chasing funding and trying to prioritize where to spend. According to Technology Helps, the sector saw big drops in funding and increased demands for services during the pandemic. 

A study released in 2022 by Sage — an accounting and HR software company — found four out of five Canadian non-profits were facing internal challenges when it comes to digital transformation, and that it was causing internal friction in the organizations. 

Those challenges include lack of staff with the right skills for the transformation, challenges and delays caused “different and disparate systems,” and the burden of in-depth reporting.  

Despite those challenges, nine out of 10 organizations responding to a survey for the study were focused on some form of digital transformation in the wake of a pandemic that shook the sector. 

A newer study by Sage released in 2023 showed another aspect of the challenge: many Canadians are rethinking contributions and volunteering in tight economic times and have new criteria for donating. 

The vast majority of respondents are looking to give to efficient organizations with up to date digital engagement and tools. 

Speaking on a panel at the recent mesh conference in Calgary, Buchanan says he has helped clients embrace technology to help streamline their operations, reach more clients and even raise more money. 

Paradoxically, however, those organizations which adopt technologies for greater impact require their clients to have a basic digital ability and access.

Changing the binary

Tackling the problem will require changes in the way we think about technology and the nonprofits struggling to keep up. 

For Buchanan, it means killing the binary thinking that says “we make money over here and we do good over there,” and trying to convince those in the corporate world that an investment in tackling digital poverty is both a social good and a long-term investment. 

Non-profits, he says, need more help and more resources. 

Alison Pidskalny, a strategic advisor with Pixelated Ventures who sat on the mesh panel with Buchanan, says non-profits also have to start thinking about how they can use their skills to generate new revenue and help fund their own operations. 

“That’s where I think digital transformation has particular opportunities, where you’ve got a highly skilled population that are doing something or offering something to a certain client segment, that all you have to do is be strategic and think about how do we shift it a little bit to the left and turn it into something that a broader market might want,” she said during the panel talk. 

Pidskalny says the Calgary YWCA is using its expertise in creating conflict-free and inclusive workplaces to develop a program that can be used by the private sector. 

“You can package it up and, using digital technologies, make it accessible and scalable for a totally different client segment,” she said. “It’s incredibly brilliant, but it’s also generating a new form of revenue for YW Calgary.”

Buchanan says public and private funders need to start thinking about long-term investments in digital technologies and the social good that comes from it. Every day, month and year it’s delayed, the problems and the costs only increase.

“They’re still investing in programs, or just putting money into annual programs and things that look good, rather than long-term for impact,” he said. “So the biggest change will be for the next generation to acknowledge what the end game looks like, what impact are we trying to have?”

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