QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario's Official Opposition's bill to protect Ontario drivers from gas price gouging passes second reading on Thursday.
Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson reintroduced the bill, Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act, 2018 in August after it was shot down by the former Liberal government in 2017.
“Individuals shouldn’t be punished because of where they live. Rural and Northern Ontarians are being gouged at the pumps. They don’t have trains, subways or sometimes even public transportation as an alternative.”
“Travelling from Timmins to Queen’s Park, I saw gas prices range from 1.40 per litre to 1.24,” Bisson stated. “If we can sell a case of beer or a bottle of wine for the same price in Cornwall and Kenora, certainly we should be able to bring fairness in the price of gas.”
On Thursday, according to GasBuddy, gas sold for 109.6 in Hagersville while in Thunder Bay it sold for 144.6—that’s a $0.35 per litre difference.
“Consumers have to be protected” said Bisson, “and a mark of a good government is to protect the public.”
The bill has been referred to the Legislative Assembly Committee. Bisson said he is anxious for the government to call the bill at committee so they can go forward with public hearings to find out how the bill can be strengthened and passed in the legislature.
Bisson’s bill, Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act, 2018, will allow the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of petroleum products in Ontario. The Lieutenant Governor in Council will be given power to govern the Board. The Bill will guide the Ontario Energy Board and Lieutenant Governor in Council to: protect the interest of consumers with respect to the predictable and consistent retail pricing of petroleum products; prevent pricing practices that undermine the stability and competitiveness of retail markets for petroleum products, including retail markets in remote, rural and northern areas; and ensure transparency and reasonableness with respect to the prices of petroleum products.