The federal government has set aside up to $250 million over four years for a new program aimed at making home heating more affordable for households across the country — especially in Atlantic Canada, where 30 per cent of homeowners still use furnace oil to heat their homes.
Of the $250 million, $118.4 million is earmarked for Atlantic Canadian provinces where using oil for home heating is more common, according to a release from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The money will be given to provinces and territories through the Low Carbon Economy Fund, with a focus on helping low-income households make the switch from fossil fuels to more efficient heating systems, like electric heat pumps.
The government says moving from heating oil to a heat pump can save homeowners thousands of dollars each year.
Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change, made the announcement Thursday in Ottawa.
He said the fund will help Canadians access greener, cheaper home heating.
"This new funding can be stacked with other federal and provincial incentives, so that up to 100 per cent of the cost of a new heat pump may be covered for low-income households," said Guilbeault.
Funds will be given to provincial and territorial governments through the Low Carbon Economy Fund to expand current energy efficiency programs.
Kody Bloise, MP for Kings-Hants, said the cost of electric heat pumps is a big barrier for homeowners who want to stop using oil.
"There are many families across the country who have already made a transition. They've invested in a heat pump or made their homes more energy efficient," Bloise said.
"However, we know that there are some families that simply do not have the means in order to be able to do so."
Bloise said the funding will make a difference in people's lives by reducing energy bills.
He said it was a priority to support vulnerable households to transition energy sources in light of global oil prices.
The government said in a release that allocation of funds by province is not yet finalized.
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