Actions to Assist Low-Income Households and Vulnerable Communities
Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan includes measures to reduce the impact of cap and trade on low-income households and vulnerable communities.
New incentive programs created under the plan will provide an increased benefit to low-income households to ensure they have the resources necessary to reduce their carbon footprint, avoid carbon costs and participate in the low-carbon economy.
Low-income homeowners will be able to take advantage of a dedicated fund to help with the purchase and installation of energy-efficient technologies, such as boiler replacements and lighting retrofits.
Ontario will also continue to invest in social housing retrofits, including energy-efficient windows and thermal insulation on piping and other mechanical systems. These are high-impact, high-benefit improvements that will save energy while improving comfort for low-income residents.
To ensure that carbon pricing does not negatively affect tenants, the province will develop options for changes to reduce the impact on residential tenants of increased energy costs from cap and trade. It will also work to ensure building owners have access to energy-efficiency retrofit programs, such as boiler replacements and geothermal technology.
Further, the province will offer a rebate to low- and moderate-income households to help replace their older cars with new or used electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.
In addition, a number of programs are already available to help low-income energy consumers. For example, the Ontario Electricity Support Program, launched in January 2016, provides low-income consumers with a monthly on-bill credit to reduce their electricity bill. Ontario's Low-Income Energy Assistance Program provides a one-time grant for an electricity or natural gas bill if a low-income consumer is temporarily unable to make ends meet in an emergency situation.
The action plan will not affect the ongoing provision of these programs that are available to low-income households.
Current natural gas conservation programs can help save households $7-11 per month. In addition, government programs are already helping Ontarians with the cost of their energy bill, including:
- The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit: saves individuals up to $993/year, and up to $1,131/year for qualifying seniors for the 2015 benefit year.
- The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program: provides emergency financial support of up to $600 for qualifying consumers.
- The saveONenergy Home Assistance Program: helps income-eligible consumers manage their energy costs by providing home energy efficiency assessments and energy saving measures at no cost.
- The Home Winterproofing Program and the Home Weatherization Program: helps eligible low-income residential natural gas customers lower their energy costs and make their home healthier, comfortable and energy efficient by offering a home energy assessment and insulation and draft proofing measures at no cost.
- The Northern Ontario Energy Credit: helps families and individuals in Northern Ontario by providing tax credits - up to $143 for individuals, and $221 for a family (including single parents) for the 2015 benefit year.