Good news! The recommendations of BC Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services include exempting e-bikes from the PST. This was among the recommendations the BC Cycling Coalition presented to the Committee in September.
Specifically, the recommendation on page 23 of the report states:
29. Exempt e-bikes (electric-assist bicycles) from the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) to encourage British Columbians to pursue active forms of transportation.
Of note, this was the only recommendation the Committee made regarding the PST. The report has been sent to the Legislature who will likely approve the new budget in the Spring.
Currently in B.C. bicycles and transportation fares are exempt from PST charges, and clean energy vehicles (cars) are eligible for rebates up to $5,000. Purchases of new electric bicycles, and their electric parts, are charged PST, and are not eligible for rebates. Something doesn’t seem right here, does it?
For small business owners however, this detail feels rather significant. "It's really quite a hassle." Says Paul Dragan of Reckless Bikes. "When repairing an electric bike, we have to charge PST on the electric parts like the battery and motor while there is no PST on the bike parts like wheels and brakes.". Creating two separate lines, and a once unnecessary step to small business’s financial records, is cumbersome and aggravating.
Electric bicycles remove accessibility barriers by allowing riders to conquer hills, speeds, and distances that would otherwise be impossible for some people. These machines, that emit zero carbon, make active transportation a viable option for a broader population, opening it up to all ages and abilities, especially in combination with safe cycling infrastructure.