End to federal home retrofit program a blow to contractors


mentalfloss
#1
End to federal home retrofit program a blow to contractors

The federal government has cut off access to a grant program that helped Canadians make their homes more energy-efficient and boosted business for insulation, window and heating equipment companies.

The EcoEnergy Retrofit Homes program, launched in 2007 and renewed in June 2011, was originally supposed to end on March 31.

About $400 million was budgeted for the program through Canada's Economic Action Plan but just half of that amount is expected to be spent.

The government said the program has been ended as a money-saving measure.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver also said the program has reached its goal of registering 250,000 homeowners.

The 250,000 cutoff was not mentioned in the original announcement for the EcoEnergy program.

B.C.'s LiveSmart program, which also offers grants for home upgrades to improve energy efficiency, is not affected.

Cessation of the federal program is bad news for Vancouver Island homeowners looking to take part in the program, as well as for businesses and contractors who have benefited from the jobs it supported.

The average federal grant has been about $1,400 per dwelling, the EcoEnergy website says; the maximum available is $5,000.

Those already enrolled have until March 31 to complete renovations and until June 30 to complete post-refit evaluations and apply for grants.

"When the EcoEnergy and the LiveSmart B.C. grants are working together, we definitely see an uptick. It's a tipping point that gets people to do more windows now rather than later," said Cam Drew, managing partner of Thermoproof Windows in Chemainus.

Energy auditors such as City Green Solutions, a Victoria non-profit enterprise, measure energy loss in homes and match homeowners with grants.

Peter Sundberg, executive director of City Green Solutions, said Monday these energy programs pay for themselves. "The government is getting the money back in taxes so it's essentially revenue-neutral for them," Sundberg said.

B.C. is better off than other provinces because it has a similar provincial program, he said. The halting of the federal program will be "absolutely devastating" in other provinces, Sundberg said.

He's critical of the federal government for promising the program before last year's election and cutting it off now, with half the promised money clawed back.

"It also leaves us wondering what the government is doing to address climate change and job creation," Sundberg said.

"It's puzzling to us why they're doing this cut right now."

End to federal home retrofit program a blow to contractors (external - login to view)
 
TenPenny
+1
#2  Top Rated Post
If you rely on a government grant program for your business to survive, you need a new plan.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#3
This seemed like the kind of basic make work project that actually had some benefits. A mistake to end. it.
 
gerryh
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

If you rely on a government grant program for your business to survive, you need a new plan.


Spoken like a true idiot and someone that doesn't have a clue.
 
TenPenny
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

Spoken like a true idiot and someone that doesn't have a clue.

Care to explain, or would you rather just swear? Your assertion is that operating a business that can only exist due to government grants is a good, solid business plan?

Is that a good way to be in control of your future? Like being a passenger means you have any control over driving the bus?
 
petros
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

Care to explain, or would you rather just swear? Your assertion is that operating a business that can only exist due to government grants is a good, solid business plan?

Is that a good way to be in control of your future? Like being a passenger means you have any control over driving the bus?

If I were an apprentice tin basher or in a pre-employment trades program which did these upgrades for low income homeowners or social housing which utilized these programs to give experience I'd be miffed.

Some warning of a cut off would have been appropriate.
 
L Gilbert
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

If you rely on a government grant program for your business to survive, you need a new plan.

It was a home reno grant. One can still claim a credit for home renos if they have a home-based business. And BC LiveSmart provides up to $7K per grant.
 
petros
#8
Even without a home based business there is a tax credit for labour and materials on improvements.
 
L Gilbert
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchyView Post

This seemed like the kind of basic make work project that actually had some benefits. A mistake to end. it.

It wasn't a make work project. The work is just a result. It was a make-your-home-more-energy-efficient project. It costs money to develop more and more energy to keep people happy. More trouble with this is that the gov't subsidizes utility companies.
Expect an increase in energy costs. The gov't probably planned for that to reduce subsidy costs. So it's sort of a double boost to gov't pocket book. One part is direct and the other is indirect.

All I can say is, I'm glad we have micro hydro for our home here.

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Even without a home based business there is a tax credit for labour and materials on improvements.

Yup.

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

If I were an apprentice tin basher or in a pre-employment trades program which did these upgrades for low income homeowners or social housing which utilized these programs to give experience I'd be miffed.

Yep, me, too.

Quote:

Some warning of a cut off would have been appropriate.

Actually the feds added an extension onto the program in June last year I think. The extension was supposed to continue till the end of March this year.
 
jariax
#10
The contractor in the article suggests that the retrofit program pays for itself in terms of additional tax revenues collected, and therefore suggests that the program pays for itself.

While this claim is patently false, the contractor does have one legitimate complaint. Governments should not remove programs in an unpredictable fashion. Companies adjust their business to the regulatory and tax environment. As such, these retrofit contractors may have made significant investments into taking advantage of the tax credit. While it is certainly the prerogative of the government to remove the tax credit, they need to do so in a predictable fashion, announced ahead of time, and following planned milestones.

To do otherwise is not only unfair to business for this particular instance, but creates an environment of unpredictability in the business sector where businesses can not adequately respond to changes in government programs, as they do not know if they can trust the word of government. This in turn, diminishes the benefits government seeks to reap through incentivized and other programs.
 
L Gilbert
#11
If I had a business in this field, at 2 months before the end of the extension, I'd be preparing myself and my business for the end. And I'd imagine that he's not going to discount any existing work, just won't be handing out any more cash anyway.
But, you never know, Harpy might change his little mind if enough people squawk.
 

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