Sudbury

Bill to regulate Ontario gas prices passes second reading

A bill to regulate gas prices in Ontario has cleared another hurdle at Queen's Park, but it will need support from the Progressive Conservatives before it goes any further.

Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson says bill will go to committee for review

Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson is hoping to stop price gouging at the pumps. His private member's bill to regulate gas prices recently passed another hurdle at Queen's Park. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

A bill to regulate gas prices in Ontario has cleared another hurdle at Queen's Park, but it will need support from the Progressive Conservatives before it goes any further.

Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson tabled The Fairness is Petroleum Products Pricing Act earlier this year.

The bill has now passed a second reading in the legislature and is set to go before the Legislative Assembly Committee for review.

If passed, the bill would allow the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of petroleum products.

Bill targets price gaps, weekend spikes

Bisson told CBC News one of the goals is to reduce the wide price gap among communities, particularly in the north.

"You'll leave Timmins and you'll drive down 144, go through Sudbury get into 69 and eventually down to the 400, and you'll see as much as 10 to 15 cents a litre difference, depending where you are," Bisson said.

"And imagine if you live in a place like Moosonee or Attawapiskat. There, you're paying prices that people would faint if they got to the pumps."

Regulation would also help to eliminate "weekend spikes" in gas prices.

This isn't the first time Bisson has raised the issue of price gouging at the pumps. He previously introduced a similar bill that was voted down by the former Liberal government.

Bisson said the legislation had some Conservative support at the time and he's hopeful that will continue as the bill heads to committee.

Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson says regulating gas prices will level the playing field for consumers. (Erik White/CBC)

Cutting taxes not the answer

PC leader Doug Ford campaigned on a promise to lower gas prices by cutting cap-and-trade and the fuel tax, something Bisson argues won't fix the flaws in the system.

"Imagine if the price of gas was $1.40 and the government reduces it to $1.35. The gas companies within a couple of weeks will have them back up to $1.40," he said.

"So what has the government done? Transferred the tax out of our pocket and put it into the pockets of the oil company."

Bisson said the government will now have to call the bill at committee to proceed with public hearings before the legislation can go further.

Those hearings would also allow for feedback from the oil and gas industry.

"We understand gas companies have got to make a profit, the oil companies have to make a profit. Nobody runs for free," Bisson said.

"But there needs to be something that says you can't gouge the public and that's what this bill tries to do."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.