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Ottawa says it will have news soon on the future of the Greener Homes grant

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Ernest Moral about a heat pump he was installing during a visit to an apartment construction site in Hamilton, Ont., on July 31, 2023. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Ernest Moral about a heat pump he was installing during a visit to an apartment construction site in Hamilton, Ont., on July 31, 2023. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press - image credit)

An announcement is "coming soon" on the Greener Homes grant program, the federal government's delivery partner said in an email to CBC.

The Greener Homes program, launched by the federal government in 2021, provides homeowners with up to $5,000 for energy efficiency retrofits and home energy evaluations, and up to $600 to help with the cost of home energy evaluations.

Homeowners must spend the money upfront and then be reimbursed. The $ 2.6 billion program was supposed to last until 2027 or until the funds are depleted.

The program has been quite popular. Enbridge, which administers the program in Ontario, paused accepting applications in January to give it time to assess whether it has enough money to cover the applications that have been received.

The utility company suggested there's news coming soon about the program's future.

"Since we are a delivery agent on the Greener Homes Program, we have to take our communication lead from [the federal government]," said Leanne McNaughton, the external communications and media relations supervisor for Enbridge Gas.

"There will be a formal announcement soon."

A senior government source who was not authorized to speak publicly also told CBC the government is expected to share new details about the future of the program early next week.

While Enbridge has paused applications in Ontario, the program is still accepting applications in other jurisdictions. Ontario has accounted for the lion's share of applications — 51,321 paid out with an average payment of $3,617.

While sources suggest that the pause on applications may be temporary, those in the energy efficiency sector say Enbridge's pause was accompanied by a pause in the provincial energy efficiency program.

"The pausing of the federal program, it's also created a pause on Ontario's provincial program, which is funded by ratepayers, which is unfortunate," said Brent Kopperson, the executive director of the York Region's Windfall Ecology Centre.

The centre helps people in Toronto and surrounding areas sign up for federal and provincial grants worth up to $10,000.

Dylan Trebels is an Ottawa-based registered energy auditor who depends on the federal grant program for much of his business. He said he's anxiously awaiting the federal government announcement.

He said he also hopes any future program provides long-term, sustainable work for energy auditors and the HVAC industry. Trebels said the program needs to be re-balanced to help homeowners who can't afford the upfront expense.

"I think what we need to hear from the government is how they plan to build this in as a program that doesn't mirror past errors," he said.