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Canada - British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE COMMUNIQUÉ
For Immediate Release
2024EMLI0023-000739
May 13, 2024
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Energy and Natural Resources Canada
Expanded heat pump program helps British Columbians save on home-energy costs

VICTORIA – British Columbians are seeing first-hand the costly impacts of more frequent and intense, extreme weather events fuelled by climate change.

Reducing pollution and making life more affordable, while building a strong economy will help ensure a secure, healthy future for everyone.

Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced a federal investment up to $103.7 million from Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) program to support climate action in B.C. and help people with low or middle incomes reduce their energy costs.

They were joined by Josie Osborne, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, who announced an investment up to $151 million from the Province of British Columbia toward this initiative.

“More and more British Columbians are ready to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, while making their homes more efficient and comfortable,” Osborne said. “We are working to make electric heat pumps and efficiency upgrades more affordable for low- and middle-income households across the province, helping them to save on their energy bills and build cleaner, more resilient communities.”

Funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Energy and Natural Resources Canada will be used by British Columbia to provide grants to enable residents to switch their home heating systems from oil, propane or natural gas to cleaner heating and cooling options. Funding will also enable building upgrades for income-qualified homeowners and tenants through the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program, which aims to support the installation of heat pumps to reduce energy bills for low- and middle-income households. Heat pumps also provide cooling in summer, protecting residents against extreme heat and replacing the need for separate air conditioners.

With the support of the OHPA program, income-qualified applicants could receive a rebate of as much as $16,000 to switch to high-efficiency heat pumps in homes currently heated with oil. With the support of the Low Carbon Economy fund, these changes will also apply to homes heated with natural gas and propane. This is an increase in support of approximately 70% from B.C.’s existing rebate program.

Those who are eligible and living in northern B.C. can access up to an additional $3,000 toward the installation of a heat pump. Homes that require an electrical system upgrade can also qualify for a rebate of up to $5,000 to complete the work.

This funding could help income-qualified applicants receive a total of as much as $24,000 to cover the costs of heat-pump installation, including electrical upgrades.

In addition to these increased rebates, successful OHPA applicants who make the switch from oil heating to an electric heat pump will also receive an up-front, one-time payment of $250 from the Government of Canada.

The CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program also provides funding for home upgrades, such as the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors, insulation and ventilation.

These programs will reduce emissions and build a clean economy by facilitating 16,000 retrofits in low- and middle-income households. This program is estimated to reduce more than 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030. This is approximately the same as removing more than 12,000 passenger vehicles from the road, and will create more than 900 full-time jobs.

At the same time, the programs will improve affordability by improving energy efficiency and lowering monthly utility costs. Households that switch from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps for space heating can see energy savings of as much as 80%.

Heat pumps are a proven technology in Canada, capable of providing year-round comfort control for a home by heating it in winter, cooling it in summer and, in some cases, heating water. Heat pumps, despite their name, can also act as air conditioners.

Learn More:

About the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program (former CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program): https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/income-qualified/

About Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund:
https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/low-carbon-economy-fund.html

About Canada’s Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program: 
https://natural-resources.canada.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/canada-greener-homes-initiative/oil-heat-pump-affordability-program/24775

About Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: 
https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2022/03/2030-emissions-reduction-plan--canadas-next-steps-for-clean-air-and-a-strong-economy.html 

Learn more about Canada’s Budget 2024: https://budget.canada.ca/2024/home-accueil-en.html

Three backgrounders follow.

 
Contacts:
 
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 208-6183
 
Kaitlin Power
Senior Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Kaitlin.Power@ec.gc.ca
819 230-1557
 
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Media Relations
media@ec.gc.ca
819 938-3338
1 844 836-7799 (toll-free)
 

 
Canada - British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 1
For Immediate Release
2024EMLI0023-000739
May 13, 2024
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Energy and Natural Resources Canada
Facts about the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program

Initiatives such as these increase affordability for Canadians and support the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • The Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) program was first introduced in November 2022 as a $250-million investment in a new stream in the Canada Greener Homes Initiative.
  • On Feb. 22, 2023, the program was opened to pre-registration and was fully launched in late March 2023, with the first grants issued shortly after.
  • The Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF) supports help provincial and territorial initiatives to reduce emissions. This can include support for households to switch from oil or natural gas to heat pumps and increase energy efficiency. 
  • On average, homeowners who switch from oil to cold-climate heat pumps to heat their homes save between $1,500 and $4,700 per year on home energy bills.
  • The Government of Canada has OHPA co-delivery arrangements in place with Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  • An agreement with British Columbia is expected by May 31, 2024.
    • Government looks forward to co-delivering the program with other provinces and territories soon.   
  • The OHPA program has received nearly 14,000 applications nationally to date.
  • Under Budget 2024, the Government of Canada is taking numerous steps to make life more affordable for Canadians while addressing climate change.
    • This includes the Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program, which will support the direct installation of energy-efficiency retrofits for Canadian households with low or median incomes.
  • The number of households in B.C. with heat pumps has increased by approximately 80% since 2017, from an estimated 142,000 to 254,000.
    • In 2022, for the first time, the number of heat pumps shipped to B.C. (37,800) exceeded the number of natural gas furnaces shipped to B.C. (30,700).
 
Contacts:
 
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 208-6183
 
Kaitlin Power
Senior Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Kaitlin.Power@ec.gc.ca
819 230-1557
 
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Media Relations
media@ec.gc.ca
819 938-3338
1 844 836-7799 (toll-free)
 

 
Canada - British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 2
For Immediate Release
2024EMLI0023-000739
May 13, 2024
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Energy and Natural Resources Canada
What people are saying about the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program

George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“All people in British Columbia want to reduce their home-energy costs and address the impacts of a changing climate — extreme weather, heat and cold — which is affecting all of us. Through cost-shared programs like the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program, people have access to affordable energy upgrade options that create cleaner, healthier, more comfortable home environments. With these new investments, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce people’s monthly energy bills and contribute to a secure and more affordable future for British Columbians.”

Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada –

“Installing a heat pump or energy-efficient windows and doors in your home is one of the best ways to save on your monthly energy bills while reducing the pollution that causes climate change. The Government of Canada is committed to help British Columbians adapt to the costly climate impacts this province knows too well, while doing their part to affordably reduce carbon pollution, in close partnership with the provincial government.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada –

“Making the switch to more energy-efficient heating systems can help Canadians save thousands on their energy bills, reduce their energy use, and decrease their carbon footprint. That’s why we are strengthening the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability program and ensuring that families are supported in making the switch from heating oil to efficient heat pumps.”

Chelsea Brandt, general manager, RedBlue Heating and Refrigeration –

“British Columbia's provincial rebate programs empower residents and businesses to transition to energy-efficient heat pumps, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering carbon emissions. These incentives not only cut energy costs but also stimulate local economies by driving demand for installation services and manufacturing of green technologies. Ultimately, they foster a sustainable future while benefiting both individuals and businesses through improved comfort, affordability, and environmental stewardship.”

Evan Pivnick, program manager, Clean Energy, Clean Energy Canada –

“The cost of living in B.C. is feeling higher than ever, and the energy bills British Columbians pay for fossil fuels are no small part of this. That is why today’s announcement of up to $250 million in joint federal and provincial funding to make heat pumps more accessible is such welcome news. Heat pumps are the lowest-cost option for heating and cooling for a majority of homes in Canada. In B.C., this funding will bring those costs down even more, helping households across the province access this cost-saving, climate-friendly technology.”

Graham Anderson, director, Community Energy Initiative, Ecotrust Canada –

“Energy-efficiency retrofits are the only lasting solution to high energy bills and extreme heat in homes. We are thrilled to see the B.C. government step up its incentive to more completely cover the cost of a heat pump for many lower-income British Columbians. This program will make it possible for thousands of households to enjoy safer, more comfortable and more affordable homes.”

Brendan Haley, senior director of Policy Strategy, Efficiency Canada –

“Eighteen per cent of B.C. households spend more than 30% of housing costs on energy, and improving energy efficiency will result in lasting cost savings. This combination of federal and provincial funding will expand access to heat pumps, while also supporting upgrades to insulation and ventilation that will cut bills and improve comfort. This comprehensive set of energy-efficiency improvements, across different heating sources, will provide real solutions to people’s affordability and health challenges.”

George V. Harvie, board chair, Metro Vancouver –

“In Metro Vancouver, we are seeing more extreme heat events, so every building needs a plan to add cooling systems to safeguard occupant health and improve comfort. Shifting to using high-efficiency electric heat pumps to heat and cool homes will help us move toward a more resilient, sustainable future. Our Climate 2050 plan calls for widespread electrification of existing buildings in the region, and we’re pleased to see the Province of B.C. and Government of Canada making it easier for all of our residents to afford electric heat pumps.”

Graeme Hutchison, president, MoveUP –

“MoveUP commends the B.C. government for taking action to make life more affordable in B.C. This new program will make it possible for lower- and middle-income people to afford a heat pump in their homes, saving them thousands of dollars for the installation while lowering their energy bills. This shows Premier Eby's commitment to making life more affordable for workers and their families and demonstrates decisive action to combat climate change while strengthening B.C.’s economy.”  

Ian Cullis, director, Asset Management, BC Non-Profit Housing Association –

“We are pleased to see a funding increase to support lower-income B.C. residents install high-efficiency heat pumps. The addition of a top-up for northern B.C. residents in this program will be a significant benefit for individuals and families who face high heating costs through the winter. Making heat pumps accessible to more non-profit housing tenants will reduce the risks associated with extreme heat and cold spells for low-income residents and generate energy-efficiency gains that will benefit everyone in B.C.”

 

 
Contacts:
 
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 208-6183
 
Kaitlin Power
Senior Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Kaitlin.Power@ec.gc.ca
819 230-1557
 
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Media Relations
media@ec.gc.ca
819 938-3338
1 844 836-7799 (toll-free)
 

 
Canada - British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 3
For Immediate Release
2024EMLI0023-000739
May 13, 2024
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
New, improved support for heat-pump, energy-efficiency upgrades

The Province is providing improved support to even more people in British Columbia who need affordable, efficient, clean-energy upgrades – including electric heat pumps – for their homes.

Part of the Province’s CleanBC plan, the Better Homes Energy Savings Program builds on the success of and replaces the former CleanBC Income Qualified Program that currently offers rebates to make fuel-switching and energy-saving upgrades more affordable for low- or moderate-income households.

New federal and provincial funding is enabling key program enhancements:

  • expanding program eligibility to add middle-income households;
  • providing rebates for 100% of the cost of a new heat pump, up to a cap that varies by the type of heat pump (central, multi-split or mini-split).
    • This means that households may be eligible to receive a free heat pump from the program;
  • increasing the maximum rebate amount for heat pumps from $9,500 to $16,000.
    • This is an increase of approximately 70% from the previous program;
  • providing an additional top-up of up to $3,000 for people living in northern B.C. who are switching from natural gas, propane or oil heating to an electric heat pump; and
  • increasing the maximum rebate amount for electrical service upgrades needed to install a heat pump from $3,500 to $5,000.

All British Columbians who own an eligible home (or renters that have their landlord’s permission), meet income qualification requirements and have a residential-utility account with BC Hydro, FortisBC or a municipal utility will be able to access the program.

Participants will not need to pay up front for heat-pump installations and other efficiency upgrades. Applicants pre-register for the program to verify their eligibility. Once upgrades are completed by a program-approved contractor, the contractor submits the final rebate application and deducts the rebate amount from the final cost of the upgrade.

The program is income-tested with maximum rebate amounts for heat pump installations varying with household income and size, as outlined by the table linked below:  
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/MaximumRebatesHeatPumps.pdf

British Columbians will be able to apply to the new Better Home Energy Savings Program starting on June 18, 2024.

The program will also continue to provide support for other home-efficiency upgrades at current rebate levels – including insulation, windows and doors, and ventilation. It will also provide rebates of as much as $5,000 for households switching from electric baseboards to electric heat pumps, funded by BC Hydro’s energy-efficiency measures.

For British Columbians living in apartment buildings or social housing, the CleanBC Better Buildings program includes "whole-building" rebates to support fuel switching from fossil fuels and energy-efficiency upgrades.

The Province and BC Hydro are working together to develop a new program for British Columbians wanting to install heat pumps in individual apartment suites, to be launched this year.

 
Contact:
 
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 208-6183
 

 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect