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Ontario Investing up to $900M in Energy Retrofits for Social Housing, Private Residential Apartment Buildings

Climate Change Action Plan Will Reduce GHGs, Create Jobs, Support Sustainable Communities

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Ontario is leading the fight against climate change by investing up to $900 million over four years from cap and trade proceeds to support people who rent by retrofitting social housing apartments and providing grants and rebates for residential multi-tenant buildings.

As part of the Climate Change Action Plan, which will be released this spring, the province will invest up to $500 million to retrofit social housing apartments with energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies such as energy-efficient windows, and thermal insulation on piping and other mechanical systems. In addition to reducing emissions, this would improve comfort for residents and save money for social housing providers to make other capital improvements. Indigenous social housing would also be eligible for retrofits under this program.

Ontario will also help improve energy efficiency in private residential apartment buildings by investing up to $400 million in an incentive program that will offer rebates or grants toward the purchase and installation of energy efficient technologies, like boiler replacements and lighting retrofits.

To ensure that carbon pricing does not negatively impact tenants and that private building owners take advantage of retrofit programs, the province will also consult on and develop options to make it illegal to pass these costs onto tenants.

Through the Climate Change Action Plan, Ontario will ensure cap and trade proceeds are invested in a transparent and accountable way back into projects that fight climate change by helping households save money on their energy costs, creating good jobs in sectors like clean-tech and construction, and helping small- and medium-sized businesses reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Fighting climate change while supporting growth, efficiency and productivity is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • In February 2016, Ontario invested $92 million to retrofit social housing through the Green Investment Fund.
  • An ERA Architects and University of Toronto study has shown that high-rise apartment buildings use up to 25 per cent more energy per square metre than a house.
  • Fossil fuel use in the buildings sector, including homes, represents about 19 per cent of Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions. This figure rises to about 24 per cent if electricity used by equipment and appliances is included.
  • Strong action is needed to help reduce greenhouse gas pollution to meet Ontario’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. Ontario’s targets are ambitious yet achievable, and in line with global objectives, with reductions from 1990 emission levels of 15 per cent in 2020, 37 per cent in 2030 and 80 per cent in 2050.
  • About 20 per cent of Ontario’s renters live in social housing.
  • A 2012 Deutsche Bank study [PDF] found that every $1 million invested in energy efficiency-related retrofits in multi-family affordable housing buildings generated between $1.3 million and $3.9 million in energy savings and increased Gross Domestic Product.


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