(Kaitlin Salole, Queen’s University)
Premier designate Doug Ford has recently put a halt to the GreenON program.
GreenON was an initiative introduced by Chris Ballard, the previous Minister of Environment and Climate Change, nearly a year ago.
As part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, the not-for-profit agency strived to provide Ontarians with rebates to reduce energy costs (in both homes and businesses) across the province, while simultaneously reducing Ontario’s carbon footprint.
This short-lived program worked to spread the message that reducing our carbon footprints is increasingly important, and much more simple to do than we think. As said in a Legislative Assembly Newsroom Article, “no matter where you live or work in Ontario, fighting climate change can be as easy as changing a lightbulb, switching your thermostat, or making other home improvements that cut your energy bills”.
Fueled by cap-and-trade proceeds, the GreenON program offered Ontario residents several services to fight climate change and reduce their energy costs.
The GreenON program offered up several incentives including but not limited to; up to $7,200 in rebates for insulation, up to $5,000 for new windows, up to $20,000 for new ground source heat pumps and programs targeted toward financial assistance for social housing. These incentives and programs are presented on the GreenON website, along with the program’s budget. In a Global News Article, Ballard said, “those funds [allocated to the program] are being re-invested in programs like this where we are helping business, we are helping homeowners fight climate change and save money”.
However, these programs are now closed. On June 15th, Ford announced that Ontario will exit the cap-and-trade program as he finds it to be both ineffective, and a cash grab to harm businesses.
Leader of the Opposition, Ms. Horwath, commented on Ford’s decision stating “to imagine that we have no responsibility whatsoever to deal with the changing climate and impact that it has had on people and communities and the viability of our planet it putting your head in the sand.”
In my eyes, and the eyes of many, scrapping this initiative was a reckless decision made by Premier-designate Ford. Not only did GreenON provide Ontarians with financial assistance to help offset the costs related to energy in their homes and businesses, it also helped reduce our carbon footprint.
It is predicted by many that GreenON will be one of many programs and initiatives that will be cancelled to assist Ford in his search to find the six billion dollars in efficiencies he promised during his campaign.
This decision by Ford hardly follows his campaign slogan “For the People”.
Ferguson, Rob, and Kristen Rushowy. “Incoming Premier Doug Ford quietly axes Green Ontario Fund.” The Star. 18 June 2018.
Jeffords, Shawn. “Ontario green home renovation program to offer thousands in rebates.” Global News. 31 December 2017.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. “Ontario Launches the Green Ontario Fund to Help People Save Money and Fight Climate Change.” Ontario.ca. 30 August 2017.