Ottawa waiting on draft proposals from provinces for $250-million home heating fund

HALIFAX — Environment and Climate Change Canada says it’s still waiting for draft proposals from most provinces on administering a $250-million home heating assistance program announced six weeks ago.

The four-year program that includes about $120 million for Atlantic Canada was announced by the federal department on Sept. 15.

A department source with knowledge of the program tells The Canadian Press that it needs draft proposals within the coming weeks and a final program plan by January in order to get the funding “out the door” before the end of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31.

The source says Nova Scotia alone is slated to get at least $60.5 million as a “starting point” but adds the province has not yet proposed how it will roll out the federal money.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced the funding after the four Atlantic provinces raised concerns around energy costs associated with Ottawa's carbon pricing plan.

Nova Scotia Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton says the province intends to do what the federal department is asking and is pleased to learn of its funding allocation.

“We’re going to get on this right away, we want to get this out as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Rushton. “It’s a huge sum of money … and it would certainly assist Nova Scotians to get off home heating oil."

The funding is to help homeowners move to greener energy sources such as electric heat pumps.

According to the federal government, early estimates indicate the funding could help between 10,000 and 25,000 homes across the country, with over 40 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press