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Ontario Continues To Strengthen Proposed Green Energy Act

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Ontario Continues To Strengthen Proposed Green Energy Act

McGuinty Government Signals Amendments and Policy Changes to Green Energy Plan

Ontarians have made hundreds of constructive suggestions to make the proposed Green Energy Act even more effective in creating a greener economy for Ontario. After completing a series of hearings in communities across the province, the Legislature's Standing Committee on General Government is set to consider the proposed Green Energy Act in a detailed clause by clause review. 

George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, welcomes the public's interest in the proposed legislation. Below are highlights of the government's proposed amendments and policy development to respond to a number of issues raised at the Standing Committee, in legislative debate or when the bill was posted on Ontario's Environmental Registry. 


Home Energy Audits

The buyer can opt out if the audit is not desired  (eg. major renovations or demolition contemplated)

Regulations will focus initiative on principal residences, single family homes.

The audit will be transferable so that retrofit grants can be accessed by buyers.

Community Consultation and Municipal Assistance

Creating a new section that clearly ensures administration of the GEA is done in such a way as to promote community consultation.

A uniform process for proponent consultation with municipalities on site requirements and local infrastructure, as part of the renewable energy approvals process.

Establish a working group involving Ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Environment, Natural Resources, Energy and Infrastructure, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

Establish a provincial program to ensure municipalities can recover costs associated with renewable energy projects.

Community and Aboriginal Assistance


Establish a provincial Aboriginal program to ensure costs associated with renewable energy projects can be recovered.

Establish a program to ensure project costs associated with community renewable energy projects can be recovered.

Health Concerns

Amending grounds for appeal under the Environmental Protection Act to protect against serious health effects.

The Ministry of the Environment to establish and fund an academic research chair to examine potential public health effects of renewable energy projects.

Ongoing review of health and scientific research by the Ministry of the Environment



Continued consultation by the Ministry of Environment to establish province-wide minimum setback standards and regulations regarding renewable energy projects (excluding some forms of renewable energy such as rooftop solar) with regard to human health, noise, and low frequency vibration.


Inspection and search provisions related to home energy audits and minimum energy efficiency standards for appliances and products will be eliminated.


Mandating Domestic Content

New section which clearly establishes the government's commitment to domestic content.

Domestic content levels will be established consistent with trade agreements and consultation with relevant sectors

Minister's Directive Powers

Clarify that procurement directives under the new directive authority focus only on renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.


Energy Procurement


Reviewing future policy opportunities to address energy technologies including geothermal, solar thermal, combined heat and power and small scale wind.

Stray Voltage


Minister to direct the Ontario Energy Board to manage and address issues related to stray voltage.

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Ensuring the ECO can meet the responsibilities outlined in the GEA.

Ensuring the information and documentation related to the development of conservation targets is transparent and publicly available.

Quick Facts

  • The Standing Committee on General Government held hearings in Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, London and Ottawa Ontario as it considered the proposed Green Energy Act. Approximately 130 presentations were made, as well as over 300 written submissions.
  • • Over 600 comments on the proposed Green Energy Act were received in response to a posting of the Bill on Ontario’s Environmental Registry.

Additional Resources


“We’re aiming to be the North American leader on renewable energy and conservation. The proposed Green Energy Act is a historic piece of legislation for Ontario and, if passed, is going to affect all of us for many years to come.”

George Smitherman

Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy & Infrastructure

“The committee process is a very important way to get public feedback on the proposed Green Energy Act. We heard from all sides of the debate and we’re confident that, at the end of the day, the Committee’s recommendations will make this an even better bill. I am very proud to work with a Minister and be part of a government that listens and responds.”

Laurel Broten

Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure



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