As Canadians, we all know how expensive it can be to heat our homes throughout the winter.
Luckily, there are ways for us to decrease our utility bills is through retrofitting our home, improving its energy efficiency, saving money and minimizing our environmental footprint at the same time.
In Canada, you can take advantage of several federal and provincial grant programs to receive free money to improve your home. The main federal program, the Canada Greener Homes Grant, gives eligible Canadians up to $5,600 to renovate their homes to make them more energy-efficient.
In today’s post, we’ll go through the details of this program, along with several other provincial ones, to figure out how you can get free money to retrofit your home.
Let’s get started.
Home improvement and retrofit grants are a way to incentivize Canadians to decrease the carbon emission of their home by increasing their energy efficiency.
The built environment, which includes our homes, office buildings and urban spaces, accounts for nearly 20% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
This is certainly not a small amount that can be ignored, especially in the move towards Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 while creating sound jobs in every region of the country.
Home improvement (also referred to as retrofitting) can be a crucial aspect of moving toward a society that has a lighter footprint on planet Earth.
In addition to its climate benefits, an energy-efficient home has the potential to save its inhabiting household hundreds or thousands of dollars per year in energy bills, improve their home’s resale value and provide a more comfortable home environment (warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer).
In Canada, there exists one main federal grant program that was launched in 2021 (called the Canada Greener Homes Grant), along with smaller provincial programs across the country.
Some home improvement programs are available exclusively to seniors in Canada to increase their safety and independence in their respective homes.
Let’s go through the various home improvement grants to see which ones you could take advantage of as a Canadian.
The Canada Greener Homes Grant was launched in early-mid 2021 to help Canadians make their homes more energy-efficient.
Through achieving this energy efficiency, the government aims to achieve multiple things: assist Canada in lowering its GHG emissions to net-zero by 2050, make Canadian homes are more comfortable and affordable to maintain and create more green jobs that are a part of Canada’s just and green economy.
There are 700,000 grants available to be given out by the program, each worth up to $5,600. There can only be one grant given out per household or building (unless it is a multi-unit residential building owned by a single entity).
In order to be eligible, applicants must own their homes. The breakdown of the $5,600 grant is as follows:
- up to $600 for a home evaluation and expert advice so you can begin to plan and assess your retrofits (both a pre and post-retrofit evaluation is required to be eligible for the program)
- up to $5,000 total to help you make energy efficiency retrofits/improvements to your home
This program works in the way of reimbursements. That is, you will not be receiving any money before you have completed and paid for your home improvements.
Please note that if your home is less than six months old, you will not be eligible for this program.
It is also important to note that the $5,000 retrofit reimbursements that are allocated in each grant package have strict criteria. Through the program, you will only be reimbursed for the following retrofit and home improvement activities, each of which has its designated reimbursement limit.
|Home insulation Insulate your eligible attic/ceiling, exterior wall, basement or foundation, exposed floor and crawl spaces.||Up to $5,000|
|Air-sealing Perform air sealing to improve the air-tightness of your home and reduce the air leaving your house.||Up to $1,000|
|Windows and doors Replace your windows or glass doors with the designated certified models.||Up to $5,000|
|Thermostats Add a smart thermostat to help improve your comfort and save money on your energy bill (must be combined with another retrofit). Space and water heating||Up to $50|
|Space and Water Heating Switch to more energy-efficient heating equipment to save on your utility bill and reduce your environmental footprint.||Up to $5,000|
|Renewable energy Install photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight energy into electricity.||Up to $5,000|
|Resiliency measures Put measures in place to protect your home from the potential environmental damages that are posed by climate change (must be combined with another energy efficiency retrofit).||Up to $2,625|
Many of the provinces across Canada have certain grant programs in place to incentivize their citizens to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and decrease their overall footprint. Many also have programs in place to help seniors with home improvement.
Each province has different eligibility and program details. I’ve linked the appropriate pages for you to start exploring the programs in your province.
|Province||Government Home Improvement Programs|
|British Columbia||Home renovation grants in BC (extensive list) Home Improvement Assistance Programs for SeniorsBC Hydro Rebates for home renovations|
|Alberta||Home renovation grants in Alberta (extensive list)Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) Clean Energy Improvement Program|
|Manitoba||Home renovation grants in ManitobaEfficiency Manitoba|
|Ontario||Home renovation grants in OntarioOntario Green Investment Fund|
|Quebec||Home renovation grants in Quebec Rénoclimat program|
|Across Canada||For the Main Directory of Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Programs in Canada, go here.|
You can take advantage of one of the hundreds of programs in Canada to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Do note that most home improvement grant programs in Canada do not give you free money to renovate your house for aesthetic or purely comfort reasons.
Their purpose is to increase the energy efficiency of your home to aid in environmental goals and save you money on your utility bills, and have strict criteria on the types of retrofits you must execute.
The biggest program in Canada, the Canada Greener Homes Grant, reimburses you up to $5,600 on eligible retrofit activities. You must check your eligibility before going ahead with the plans in order to make sure that you can in fact get reimbursed for your expenses.
If you are a senior in Canada (over 65), your province may have special programs in place to make you feel safer and more independent within your own home.
Such programs may give you very favourable loans or even grants to install things such as handrails and bathtub grab bars in your primary residence. Please see the above list for available programs in your province.
If you are eligible, you should definitely take advantage of the government home improvement programs in Canada.
Not only are they a great way to cut down your carbon footprint, but they also have the potential to save you hundreds of dollars per year in utility costs.