EcoEnergy reaches 250,000 homes, shuts down early
By Patrick Flannery
Jan. 30, 2012 – Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver closed the popular EcoEnergy Retrofit – Homes program to any new registrants on Jan. 29, saying it had reached its goal of 250,000 registered homeowners. The sudden closing of the program comes two months before its official end date on March 31, 2012.
Visitors to the EcoEnergy website see the following message:
"The program has successfully reached its goal of 250,000 registered
homeowners. As planned, the program is no longer accepting new
registrations. To help ensure registered homeowners have time to get
their post-retrofit evaluations and receive a grant, the Government of
Canada is extending the deadline to June 30, 2012, for homeowners to
complete post-retrofit evaluations and apply for a grant. All retrofit
renovations must still be completed by March 31, 2012."
Critics say the program cutoff was done without warning, and before the program invested even half of the budget dollars allocated last year. According to Building Insight Technologies, a Vancouver-based energy auditor, industry estimates show that by capping registration the federal
government will invest at most $192 million in total EcoEnergy home
retrofit grants. This investment would be less than half of the $400 million
the federal government committed in Budget 2011.
"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," said Jeff Murdock, vice-president of
Building Insight Technologies. "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
Murdock says 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.