Down here in New Zealand, I guess we get the European version as I can go straight to EV on start up always."EV mode" with cold engine
Have checked this subject and it appears we are both right!
There are some design differences between the US version and the European/Japanese version, among them:
In the Euro/Japan model you can engage EV mode during the time frame from pressing START to engine firing (about 10-12 seconds) provided that the hybrid system temperature is not lower than 0 C (32 F). In the US model the lowest temperature to do this is 20 C (68 F)!
So, it's nothing to do with safety.
I wonder what version our friends in Canada get, can you engage EV mode in the morning when temp is between 0-20 C?