Details of the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan, as reported by The Globe and Mail, have revealed that a hefty portion of the $7-billion plan is being set aside for energy-efficient subsidies and incentives. The plan will cost you $13 a month—a significantly cheaper alternative to a carbon tax, according to the released summary of an internal government report. While Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promises nothing is set in stone, here’s how the plan as it’s currently proposed may impact your incentive to go green:
1. Access to subsidies for buying an electric vehicle
According to the Globe, the Ontario government plans for $285-million in incentives for electric vehicles, which also include plug-in hybrid vehicles. Those who purchase an electric vehicle will not only forgo paying HST but could also get a rebate of up to $14,000, depending on the car and lease. Under the boosted Electric Vehicle Incentive Program that was effective in the province as of February 2016, if you buy a Tesla Model S on a three-year lease, for example, you could be eligible for a $3,000 rebate. A 2016 Chevrolet Volt on the other hand, would get you a $11,517 rebate on a three-year lease.
If you decide to install a home charging station for the vehicle, the government may give you a rebate of up to $1,000. The Globe also mentioned the province’s plans to offer free overnight electricity for charging those vehicles, but whether that refers to home charging or government charging stations is unclear. (The province is already planning to install over 250 charging locations at businesses like Tim Hortons and McDonald’s by March 2017 under the Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario initiative.) The government will also provide additional subsidies for low- and moderate-income families to switch older cars for electric vehicles.
2. You’ll be rewarded for buying an efficient home
The government is also planning to offer incentives to those who purchase new, energy-efficient homes. If you’re looking to buy a house that doesn’t use natural gas heating, you could be eligible for a rebate of up to $20,000.
3. Selling your home? Get ready to be audited
“If you’re selling your house, and you invested in energy-efficiency, it sends a signal that your house is worth more than your neighbours’,” says Brady Yauch, Executive Director of the Consumer Policy Institute. The Globe report explains that those retrofits will be encouraged through mandatory energy-efficiency audits for every single-family home sold in the province.
4. No more fossil fuels
Yauch points out that small towns across Ontario have been going the opposite direction as the provincial government’s proposed plan. “They’ve been dying to get on the natural gas grid, because cost-savings of heating your house on natural gas is significant, estimated to be thousands of dollars cheaper [than electric heating],” says Yauch. Instead, the government is planning building code changes that’ll make sure new homes built after 2030 won’t use fossil fuels like natural gas for heating, and instead rely on electric heating. According to a 2011 Statistics Canada survey, 76% of Ontario households use natural gas as their main heating fuel, meaning this proposed plan, if approved, could mark a massive switchover.