Members of the Ontario NDP are calling on the government to end price-fixing and price-gouging for fuel prices across the province – especially in the north.
Last week, Q104, KenoraOnline and DrydenNow reported that despite a few cent drop in prices – the Kenora District had the 12th most expensive fuel in Canada at 189.9 per litre, with Thunder Bay having the least expensive at 125.9 per litre.
We also found that between September and November, Ontario’s average fuel price changed 37 times – but the price of fuel never dropped in northwestern Ontario, according to GasBuddy.
Since then, northwestern Ontario has seen a 10-cent and a 7-cent drop and we now sit at 172.9 per litre, as of the time of writing. The Kenora District now sits as the 16th most expensive fuel price across Canada, with only communities in British Columbia and a few in Quebec paying slightly more.
Kenora – Rainy River MPP and former Minister of Energy, Greg Rickford, told the Q Morning Show that he ‘still can’t explain’ the price differences seen between Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and more – comparing the region to the ‘wild west’.
Now, during Question Period at Queen’s Park last week, Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Lise Vaugeois, says Ontario should be regulating gas prices to bring relief to northeners.
“Gas prices remain far higher in Northern Ontario than in the south,” said Vaugeois. “In the northwest, the average cost of gas was 30 cents more per litre than in the Greater Toronto Area. In the North, the price can range drastically from town to town for no discernible reason.”
“Oil and gas companies, who continue to rack up huge profits, are gouging people in the north,” adds Vaugeois. “Just ask the Minister of Northern Development who said last week, ‘I can’t explain the price variations in the north, it’s a bit of a wild west phenomenon.”
“I am calling on the Conservative government to rein in the companies that are gouging drivers at the gas pumps in northern Ontario,” she finished.
In response, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Jess Dixon, notes the government has tabled legislation to extend the provincial gas tax cut until December 2023 – adding the federal carbon tax is continuing to add to the price of fuel across the country.
Of note, the Competition Bureau of Canada found no evidence of price-fixing in the region in 2019 after interviewing 50 fuel stations from the region.