The NDP is calling on Premier Doug Ford and Kenora Rainy-River MPP and Minister of Energy Greg Rickford to address ‘gas price gouging’ in northwestern Ontario.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson is calling on Ford and Rickford to support a bill, the Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act of 2018, to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of all petroleum products in Ontario, and gas prices would only change once per week. The change would be regulated by the Ontario Energy Board.
"During the COVID-19 crisis, Northerners are looking to the province to take action to resolve the challenges they are facing," said Bisson. “After two years in government, both Doug Ford and Greg Rickford have had every opportunity to stop gas price gouging in Northern Ontario, but they refused.”
“Doug Ford and Greg Rickford need to use all the tools available to them to stabilize prices right now and get to work. These are critical and difficult times. It’s no surprise that words aren’t working – the Ford government needs to take action now.”
On April 30, the Kenora district’s gas prices sat at $.85.9 per litre, but shot up to $.94.9 by May 1. There was a slight dip on May 10 and a small spike by May 20, but prices are now sitting around $.99.9 in the area.
The district is still paying more than the average Ontario driver. Ontario’s average price is currently sitting at $.91.1. Interestingly, Ontario did not see the large spike that the region saw on May 1. Locally, prices shot up by 9 cents on May 1, but prices barely budged across the rest of the province.
Something that’s even more interesting to local drivers, is that we’re not seeing much of a difference in prices between the Kenora district and Winnipeg – which very often sees much lower prices due to different provincial taxation measures. Winnipeg’s price is currently sitting at $.94.2.
“Ford has only talked about the problem, but words are not enough. Northerners need action. Ford and Rickford have my bill in their hands to regulate gas prices in the province which would reduce prices in Northern Ontario. Today there should be no more excuses, no more talk. Northerners simply can’t afford to continue paying higher prices than anyone else in the province, especially during this crisis,” added Bisson.
In the past, Rickford has deflected the idea of the regulation of gas prices across the province, saying that northwestern Ontario residents would end up paying more in the long run.
In January 2020, Rickford explained that drivers in Canadian provinces where the government controls the price of gas actually pay more for fuel, compared to provinces that don’t regulate the price of gas. He said if price regulation took effect in Ontario, it would have to be equal for northwestern Ontario and Southern Ontario, which would only skyrocket southern Ontario prices.
In April, 2019, the Federal Competition Bureau ended their investigation into price fixing among gas retailers in the region. It began in December of 2018 at the request of Energy Minister Greg Rickford, but after interviewing 50 gas stations in the area, they did not uncover any criminal evidence to support the price fixing theory.
Last year, Bisson and the NDP claimed that the bureau’s investigation was only to delay discussions surrounding the Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act of 2018.
For more information:
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Rickford continues to look into high gas prices