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Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program is welcome, but funding and timing fall short

APRIL 16, 2024, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, BCThe federal government’s $800 million investment in the Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program, announced as part of Canada’s Housing Plan, will provide much-needed funding to reduce energy bills and improve home comfort for low- and moderate-income Canadians. This program will enable deep retrofits in homes where residents are struggling with unaffordable energy bills, over- and under-heated units, and poor air quality.  

We applaud the creation of this new program with a focus on lower-income households and the inclusion of tenants in this program. However, much work still remains to be done. The funding announced in Budget 2024 reflects just 6% of the $2.8 billion annual investment required to alleviate energy poverty among lower-income households in Canada, as indicated by recent modelling conducted by the Pembina Institute. It also represents an overall decrease in federal investment in energy-saving retrofits compared to funds earmarked for the previous Greener Homes Grant. 

The Greener Homes Program was abruptly closed in February 2024, and Canadians will be waiting at least another full year before the new iteration of the program is available. This presents a challenge to households seeking cost-saving retrofits, as well as to small businesses, such as energy advisors, in the growing energy efficiency sector. Retrofits provide meaningful relief for households facing affordability challenges, and every day counts in making these resources available to Canadians. 

We look forward to further details about this programming in the forthcoming Canada Green Buildings Strategy, particularly with support for retrofitting homes and buildings in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. We are hopeful that provincial partnerships can be promptly secured to integrate with existing programming and provide no-cost retrofits to lower-income households. 

Dylan Heerema, Senior Policy Advisor, Ecotrust Canada: “Deep energy efficiency retrofits are the only lasting way to address energy affordability. The Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program promises to put more money in the pockets of lower-income Canadians and improve their health and comfort. It’s imperative that this new program is accessible to tenants, new Canadians, Indigenous communities, and people with disabilities,  and is funded to meet the actual scale of need.”

About Ecotrust Canada

Ecotrust Canada is an enterprising charity that works with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities toward building an economy that provides for a healthy and resilient natural environment; sustainable and abundant energy, food, and housing; prosperous and meaningful livelihoods; and vibrant and inclusive cultures. We call this approach building an economy that provides for life. Our on-the-ground work and systems approach is entrepreneurial, partnership-based, and relentlessly practical.

For more information:
Shannon Lough – Communications Manager, Ecotrust Canada
T: 250-624-4191 | shannon [at] ecotrust [dot] ca

PRESS RELEASE: Budget 2024 Response April 16, 2024