Local authorities in Montreal are requesting companies to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to encourage their employees to switch to electric cars. However, the same authorities have prohibited 25,000 local government employees from using EV charging stations during the workday.

This directive, which the city claims originated from the city manager’s and comptroller general’s offices, was implemented between February and June to ensure fairness among municipal workers. However, this ban is seen as illogical by both the opposition at city hall and unions representing municipal employees.

Unions argue that the ban undermines environmental efforts and fails to provide incentives for employees to transition to electric vehicles. Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representatives have received complaints from members who are affected by this directive.

Adequate workplace charging infrastructure is essential in light of Quebec’s EV mandate. The province has announced that 100 percent of all new cars sold must be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

The directive forces municipal employees to rely on public charging stations, potentially preventing members of the public from accessing them. Firefighters who work 24-hour shifts out of fire stations can still connect their personal vehicles to municipal charging stations.

The ban was motivated by a desire to reserve EV charging stations for city-owned electric vehicles. However, local government workers are pushing back on the claim that they’re using too many chargers.

An anonymous municipal employee told the Montreal Gazette that the charging stations at his workplace are mostly unused, with only one city-owned car being plugged in for an extended period.

The policy is inconsistent with the electrification strategy adopted by Mayor Valérie Plante. The strategy argued in favour of letting private vehicles use EV chargers next to municipal buildings.

The ban on workplace use of EV chargers is especially damaging to workers living in multi-unit buildings. 22 percent of Canadian EV owners living in multi-unit buildings have no home charging at all, according to the CAA.

Montreal’s EV charging restrictions are likely to raise questions as to whether Mayor Plante is anti-car in general. Earlier this year, the local government began work on converting 250 parking spaces in Parc-Extension into a bike lane.

Image Source: Valeria Cantello