Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s 2021 budget must include funding for building energy retrofits for low-income households that can’t afford the up-front cost of a home renovation, Efficiency Canada argues in a sign-on published this week.
“20% of all Canadian households face high energy burdens—spending more than double the Canadian median on home energy needs as a percentage of income,” the Ottawa-based advocacy group writes. “As the Government of Canada prepares the 2021 Federal Budget, we need to come together to ensure that everyone is included.”
Efficiency Canada is looking for sign-ons from supporters prepared to make the case to their Members of Parliament. As The Energy Mix went to (virtual) press last night, the site had also collected 77 organizational endorsements. [Disclosure: Energy Mix Productions was one of the 77.] Efficiency Canada is also hosting an online Zoom rally March 4 to press its case.
“The Government of Canada has recently announced the Home Energy Retrofit Initiative to help Canadian homes cut energy waste,” the MPs’ letter states. “However, this program is unlikely to reach households already struggling to make ends meet. I want to make sure the benefits of energy efficiency are enjoyed by all Canadians. To do that, we need to design programs that specifically reach lower-income households, and those experiencing a high energy burden.”
With nearly three million households facing above-average energy costs, and higher energy poverty rates among rural and Indigenous households and recent immigrants, the letter invites signatories to push their MPs to become “champions” for including low-income energy efficiency in the budget.
“Low-income households cannot reasonably be expected to have the ability to pay the up-front costs associated with rebate programs or to take on additional debts from a low-interest loan,” it states. “Federal programs currently support affordable housing upgrades, but there is no federal program targeted towards low-income homeowners and market renters.”