March 31st, 2010 was a dismal day for many when the Conservative Government announced the termination of the ecoEnergy Retrofit Program.  The Nation was given less than 24 hours to absorb this fact and advised to move quickly. If homeowners didn’t book their ecoEnergy audit by 5 p.m on April, 1st, 2010, they would no longer be eligible for up to $5,000 in grants.

Suffice to day, licensed advisor’s worked til the last minute booking audits and there were many homeowner’s who were left out in the cold.  At the cusp of renovation season, homeowner’s are now faced with the fact that none of their energy efficient upgrades will qualify for the Federal Rebate.  Not to mention, renovators, from windows to HVAC to insulation,  have spent thousand’s of advertising dollars to promote the rebates offered for Renovation Season 2010.

It is my considered opinion that stripping a program, such as this one, at such a delicate time, is malice on behalf of the Conservative Government.  They are supposed to work on behalf of the nation….for the nation.

I write and work within the renovation industry.  I witnessed first hand the business growth when the Home Renovation Tax Credit was announced.  I felt the panic in homeowner’s when the January 31st deadline approached with no installation complete.  I anticipated that on February 1st, 2010, a new Home Renovation Tax Credit would be announced because of it’s success and stimulated growth in renovations.  It kept money moving in the time of recession. This program had a phenomenal impact on the Canadian economy.  Homeowner’s knew that they didn’t have to pay for an audit, but simply had to do up to $10,000 in renovations to get up to a $1,500 tax credit.  However, there was no such announcement.

I was elated to hear that, on March 4th, 2010, the Conservative Government budgeted $80 million dollars more into the ecoEnergy program.  I was hopeful that this program would continue past the March 31, 2011 deadline as there was hope to keep homeowner’s buying and the renovation industry strong.  Due to the recent announcement, we were informed that the budgeted amount was to account for the 300,000 homeowner’s who are registered within the program. These homeowners are either awaiting their grant or in the midst of submitting their final application.

Alas, the Conservative Government has potentially wiped out an entire green industry.  I state potentially very lightly as there is the Ontario Green Energy Act still awaiting government approval.  This program will force all honeowner’s to have an ecoEnergy audit at the time of selling their home.  This will provide an Energuide For Houses rating on the home much like their appliances or car.  It is my opinion that this is a worthwhile program for the home buyer.

Every program does run its course and it’s obvious that the Federal ecoEnergy Retrofit Program has done just that.  There are several provincial grant programs still in effect.  Incentives still available in Ontario, is the Home Energy Audit Program and the Ontario Power Authority’s Cool/Heat Savings Rebate.   Perhaps, there is hope to keep our economy strong in the cusp of tough economic times.

Things to Note:

The Federal Government’s ecoEnergy Grant Program was announced in 2007 with a budget of $765 million dollars.
– The Federal Government announced a 25% increase in Grant Allowance in 2009.
– Homeowner’s can obtain up to $5,000 in rebates with Ontario’s Home Energy Audit Program.  Check your province for existing rebates after March 31, 2010.

Commentary by Trina Stewart on CTV News, April 1, 2010 about the termination of the ecoEnergy Program

Related Images: