After reading FAQs below, please return to the main Saanich Community E-bike Incentive Pilot Program page.
- Why are only income-qualified incentives being offered with this additional grant funding?
- What happens if I’m on a waitlist through ActiveNet?
- What happens if I'm interested in a non-income-qualified incentive?
- Why are you using a first-come, first served-approach for incentives and not a lottery system?
- What happens when incentives run out and will more incentives be made available?
- Can I buy a bike online or does it have to be from the list of vendors above?
- What should I know about buying online?
- Can I also access the BC SCRAP-IT program’s e-bike incentive?
- Can I also access the BC SUVI cargo e-bike incentive?
- Can a used e-bike qualify for the incentive?
- How do you define a household? What if I’m living with roommates? Can only one of us get an incentive?
- What is the pre-approval process for?
- How do I prove my income?
- Why is the District providing incentives for e-bikes?
- Why are we incentivizing e-bikes and not regular bicycles?
- Why are there different incentives by income level?
- What is the UBC study associated with this program?
- What is the Community Social Planning Council's (CPSC) TACES Program?
- What happens with e-bike batteries at end of life?
- How can I be listed as a vendor in the program?
- Do I need to verify income or residency for the incentive?
- How will the vendor get reimbursed?
- What should I know about battery safety?
- What should I know about avoiding e-bike theft?
- What should I know about operating a bicycle safely?
Participant Process Questions
Why are only income-qualified incentives being offered with this additional grant funding?
Data from the additional intake will be used to increase the number of income-qualified participants in the UBC study to better understand the impacts of e-bikes and e-bike incentives. We have sufficient representation from non-income qualified participants in the study.
What happens if I’m on a waitlist through ActiveNet?
ActiveNet automatically creates a waitlist for applicants who register after available spots are filled. Individuals on the waitlist will be contacted in order if any of the registration spots become available (e.g. if registrants do not meet the eligibility criteria). Once all of the $1600 incentives have been pre-approved, individuals still on the waitlist will be contacted to inform them that the program is full.
What happens if I’m interested in a different incentive level or I don't meet the income qualificaitons for this intake?
There will be no additional $350 or $1,600 incentives provided and these incentive tiers remain closed. Residents may subscribe to the e-bike incentive email list to receive updates about the pilot program analysis and evaluation and any potential future e-bike incentive opportunities.
Why are you using a first-come, first-served approach for incentives and not a lottery system?
We recognize that a lottery system can improve equity in terms of access compared to a first come, first served approach if there is high demand. There are specific requirements with such an approach - we are exploring this option and will provide information about this alternative approach in a final report on the pilot program. In the meantime, the second intake for the pilot is using a first come, first served approach through ActiveNet, for the following reasons:
- Using an existing Saanich recreation registration system that:
- handles high levels of interest for limited space programs on a regular basis; has a built-in wait list system;
- has staffing support to help people create accounts in-person and on the phone; and
- sends automatic confirmation emails of status (either registered or waitlisted) for high levels of transparency.
What happens when incentives run out and will more incentives be made available?
It is important to note that this is a Pilot program and one of the goals of this program is to better understand the impacts and outcomes of e-bike incentive programs. The next phase of the pilot program is focused on additional data collection to enable analysis and results of this pilot. This will be used to inform potential future climate programs, including possible recommendations regarding future e-bike incentives.
Can I buy a bike online or does it have to be from the list of vendors above?
We encourage you to support your local e-bike store, but e-bikes bought online can qualify if they meet all the program criteria.
What should I know about buying online?
It is important when purchasing from an online vendor to find out if they have arrangements with a local company to complete assembly, maintenance, and repairs. Unlike non-electric bicycles that can be serviced at most any bike store, e-bikes should be serviced at a bike store that sells that particular brand of e-bike.
If an online vendor doesn’t have arrangements for local servicing, it is prudent to inquire about shipping costs and turnaround time for online maintenance and repairs before deciding to buy online. Online e-bikes are typically shipped to you unassembled, rather than ready-to-ride, and you will also need to choose appropriate locks, helmets, panniers, and other accessories, which they may or may not also provide.
Can I also access the BC SCRAP-IT program’s e-bike incentive
Yes, if you qualify for both programs, you can access both incentives.
Can I also access the BC SUVI cargo e-bike incentive?
No. The BC SUVI incentive for cargo e-bikes is for commercial/business/institutional fleet use, whereas the Saanich e-bike incentive is for personal transportation only.
Can a used e-bike qualify for the incentive?
No, a used e-bike is not eligible for the incentive.
How do you define a household? What if I’m living with roommates? Can only one of us get an incentive?
We define a household as all those living at the same civic address. Only one incentive is available per civic address. However, for income verification, we are looking for the income of the “census family” at that address as defined by Statistics Canada. If you’re a single person, that’s your income only, even if you have roommates or are a landlord or tenant at the same address. If you’re in a couple (married or common law) that lives at the same address, include both your incomes. If there are more than two related income earners in the household, include only the top two earners. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the pre-approval process for?
Pre-approvals are now required f before an e-bike is purchased. Pre-approval ensures that the applicant meets the residency and income requirements for the incentive and holds the incentive for the applicant for 30 days while they shop for their e-bike.
How do I prove my household census family income?
You can submit either:
- A recent Notice of Assessment (NOAs) from the Canada Revenue Agency (how to access)
- Proof of registration in the Saanich L.I.F.E. program (your LIFE program card)
- A completed Endorsement Letter [PDF - 134 KB]
- If relevant, verification of income assistance or provincial public disability assistance.
Program background questions
Why is the District providing incentives for e-bikes?
The District is providing these incentives to help residents adopt low-carbon, renewable energy, and active transportation options. This program supports the implementation of the Saanich Climate Plan, the Saanich Electric Mobility Strategy, and the Saanich Active Transportation Plan. Personal transportation using gasoline powered vehicles is the biggest single source of climate pollution in Saanich. E-bikes use a combination of human power and low-carbon electricity and are a climate-friendly transportation choice. They also help residents use active transportation for longer trips, trips up steeper hills, and trips transporting young children or heavier loads such as groceries. A CRD survey of residents found that upfront costs were the biggest barrier to e-bike adoption.
Why are we incentivizing e-bikes and not regular bicycles?
Active transportation, including walking, regular cycling, public transit, and other active modes are a key priority for the District of Saanich in both the Climate Plan and the Active Transportation Plan, and the District continues to invest in these options.
E-bikes are an emerging technology in our region that differ from regular human-powered bicycles in many ways, and therefore are of interest to study through this pilot program. They make it easier to use a bike for long trips, for routes with steep hills, for wearing street instead of exercise clothes, and for hauling young children or cargo. Less physical fitness is also required, meaning e-bikes make cycling available to more people of diverse ages and abilities. These benefits, that are specific to e-bikes and not bicycles, suggest that e-bikes are more likely to replace car trips than non-electric bikes and therefore would provide greater support for the shift to active transportation and meeting our climate targets.
Bicycle ownership is not a barrier to increasing the uptake of active transportation in our community - two-thirds of all households in the region already have bicycles, with an average of 2.43 bicycles per household. Bicycles can also be low cost, particularly with a large second-hand market available. In comparison, local surveys show that the primary barrier to e-bike adoption in the region is upfront cost, with models starting around $1,600 and many e-bikes in the $3,000-$4,000 range. This means that e-bikes can be unaffordable, particularly for lower income individuals.
Given the above, an e-bike incentive program that addressed equity was identified as a key action to address our GHG emissions in both the Saanich Climate Plan and Electric Mobility Strategy, approved by Council in 2020.
Why are there different incentives by income level?
The District is committed to equity in climate action. To ensure that the incentive program is accessible to a diversity of Saanich residents, including those of varying incomes, this tiered incentives approach was chosen.
What is the UBC study associated with this program?
Understanding the effects of incentive programs is vital to determining whether they continue and expand in the future. Dr. Alex Bigazzi of the University of British Columbia is conducting an independent study on the effects of bicycle purchases on travel behaviour over time. Participation in the study is optional, but we strongly encourage you to complete the survey as it is fundamental to this program. No personal information will be shared between UBC and Saanich. To learn more and consider participating, visit www.tinyurl.com/UBCbikesurvey or contact the study team at email@example.com or 604-822-4426. Translation into other languages is available over the phone.
What is the Community Social Planning Council's (CPSC) TACES Program?
The CSPC is working with the District of Saanich to improve equity in the design of the District’s Community E-Bike Incentive Pilot Program, as a case study in the Transportation, Access, Climate, and Economic Security (TACES) Program. Transportation is the biggest source of climate pollution in Saanich, primarily from passenger vehicles, Transportation is also the second largest household cost after shelter, greatly affecting affordability in our region. The TACES project will bring together people with lived experience and organizations with expertise in climate, transportation, and equity to develop guidance on how to ensure climate action in transportation addresses equity effectively. Funding for TACES provided by the Vancouver Foundation.
What happens with e-bike batteries at end of life?
E-bike batteries and other e-mobility batteries can be recycled. Saanich Municipal Hall is a drop-off location for e-bike batteries. Read more.
Questions from Vendors
How can I be listed as a vendor in the program?
The vendor list is only for point of sale incentives. Any business in the Capital Region that sells and services e-bikes and meets the program terms and conditions can be included on the list, and can offer point of sale incentives, or the resident can pay the full amount and apply for the rebate themselves.
Do I need to verify income or residency for the incentive?
No. Saanich verifies the resident’s eligibility for the program and pre-approves them for a specific incentive to redeem within a certain amount of time, providing them with a confirmation letter, and notifying you of the pre-approval.
How will the vendor get reimbursed?
When you offer the point of sale incentive (only after receiving a pre-approval confirmation for a particular individual from Saanich), complete the Point of Sale Incentive form with the buyer, and then submit it to the District of Saanich. Once received, the District will review within 10 business days, and the reimbursement cheque will delivered within 4-6 weeks of the form being approved. If you have not received a reimbursement cheque after 5 weeks, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I know about battery safety?
E-bike batteries can leak dangerous liquid or fumes or combust.
Take care to avoid damaging the battery, including:
- Purchase an e-bike battery that is Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) compliant
- Do not expose battery to temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius (e.g. don’t leave it in a closed hot car on a sunny day).
- Do not immerse the battery in water or use a pressurized hose on the battery
- Only use original battery packs and matching chargers approved for the e-bike by the manufacturer
- Avoid storing the battery pack near paper clips, coins, keys, nails, screws, or other small metal objects that could make a connection from one terminal to another.
- Do not place the charger or the battery, and do not charge, near flammable materials (e.g. at a fossil fuel fueling station)
- Ensure the battery is completely dry and placed on a fireproof surface before charging (it may heat the surface it is resting on while charging. Charging the battery while it’s installed properly in the frame of the bike, and in a dry place, is the easiest option.)
- The e-bike battery must not be left unattended while charging
- Do not crush or drop the battery
- Do not open or puncture the battery
- Remove the battery pack if you are transporting the e-bike on a bike rack on a vehicle
- Do not lift the bike by the battery
- Keep the battery, especially the charging socket and contacts, clean and free of sand or soil
- Do not paint or otherwise cover the battery
- Switch the battery pack off when inserting or removing from the bike.
In the event of leakage of liquid or fumes:
- Avoid skin contact with the liquid.
- Temporarily store the battery in sand or kitty litter and bring to a battery recycling location. See Products | CRD for more information about eMobility drop off locations.
- If fumes are emerging, ensuring the area is well ventilated and seek medical care should you experience any adverse effects. The fumes may irritate the respiratory system.
In the event of a battery fire
- Clear the area and call 911 immediately. An ABC fire extinguisher can be used if the fire is small but call 911 first. The battery can continue to burn for a long time as each battery cell can ignite a neighbouring cell in the battery.
What should I know about avoiding e-bike theft?
Purchase a high quality lock or locks, and lock your bike right, every time. See tips from Saanich police on protecting your bike from theft.
What should I know about operating a bicycle safely?
Take a bike safety skills course to improve your road savvy. Those who qualify for an incentive through this program also are eligible for a discount towards an e-bike skills safety course. You will receive a promo code to access the discount after you submit proof of purchase and are approved for an incentive. You can also consult the BikeSense Manual.