Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver closed the popular ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program to any new registrants on Sunday, January 29. The sudden closing of the program comes two months before its official end date on March 31, 2012. The government has limited participation to 250,000 registered homeowners.
Industry estimates show that by capping registration the federal government will invest at most $192 million in total ecoENERGY home retrofit grants. This investment is less than half of the $400 million the federal government committed in Budget 2011: The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – A Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth.
“With the Harper government focused on creating jobs and securing Canada’s energy future, we are surprised that Minister Oliver closed such a successful program early,” says Jeff Murdock, vice-president of Building Insight Technologies, a Vancouver-based energy audit company and Save ecoENERGY Coalition supporter. “We are shocked that the federal government is cutting back its investment in job-creating and energy saving retrofits at a time of global economic, environmental and energy uncertainty.”
Home retrofit incentive programs save energy, help families, and are proven low-tax job creation measures, generating $2 in tax revenue for every $1 invested in homeowner grants. These programs are extremely popular with Canadians. For example, according to the Ontario Real Estate Association, 92 per cent of Ontario homeowners think government should create more incentives for homeowners to make environmentally friendly and energy efficient renovations to their homes.
Only 50 to 80 per cent of the 250,000 homeowners who registered online for a CID number will go on to purchase a pre-retrofit evaluation, and historically, only 80 per cent of homeowners who purchase a pre-retrofit evaluation go on to get a post-retrofit evaluation and qualify for an ecoENERGY grant (NRCan figures). The average ecoENERGY grant amount is approximately $1,200 according to industry tracking.