The application window for the federal government’s Greener Homes grant program will close within two weeks as the federal government transitions to a new home energy retrofit program.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced the new timeline in a news release Monday. Starting Monday, Feb. 5, homeowners have two weeks to apply for a Greener Homes grant.
The federal government said approved applications still making their way through the system will be processed.
The government said it expects to pay out grants to 550,000 households and nearly 165,000 households have received the grant so far.
Most applications have come from Ontario. Ottawa’s delivery partner in the province, Enbridge, has paused its intake process already. Applicants in other provinces and territories still have up to two weeks to apply, although the government said that if there’s an avalanche of applications, the program could be paused sooner.
The government says this won’t end its initiatives to help Canadians reduce their energy bills and carbon footprints.
The government still accepts applications for its Greener Homes loan program and the oil-to-heat-pump affordability program. On Monday, Wilkinson also suggested that the Greener Homes grant program will return soon with new eligibility rules.
“We are readying the next phase of the Canada Greener Homes Initiative to offer more accessible support to families across the country who need it most, while continuing to take action on climate change,” the minister said in Monday’s news release.
The next phase will offer supports “that are more accessible” to homes “with low-to-median incomes,” the government said in its media statement.
A frequent criticism of the Greener Homes grant program is that it requires applicants to spend thousands of dollars upfront, which tends to favour households with more disposable income.
The government addressed that criticism in its oil-to-heat pump program, which provides money upfront to applicants.
Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings accounted for 13 per cent of Canada’s total emissions in 2021 — about 87 megatonnes — making it the third-highest source of emissions after oil and gas production and transportation. Canada has vowed in its emissions reduction plan to slash emissions from buildings by 37 per cent by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.
Ottawa estimates that, by 2027, the Greener Homes grant program would have helped up to 550,000 households save an average of $386 on their energy bills and would have had the impact of removing 185,000 cars from the road annually.