Liberals, Tories unveil home renovation tax measures to help fight climate change

Liberals, Tories unveil home renovation tax measures to help fight climate change

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau both offered proposals to make homes more energy-efficient on Wednesday as part of their platforms to help fight climate change.

Speaking at a campaign stop in Quebec, Scheer revealed details on his plan for a 20 per cent refundable tax credit to anyone who spends between $1,000 and $20,000 on energy-efficient home renovations.

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High-quality insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, replacing doors and windows, and installing solar panels were among some of the renovations that could qualify for the tax credit. The party says that Canadians could save up to $3,800 on renovations every year.

“Together the measures in our environmental plan will allow you to save while protecting our environment,” Scheer said.

“Our realistic strategy will also give Canada the best chance to meet our Paris targets.”

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The Conservatives announced the program in June, estimated to cost roughly $900 million in 2019-2020, as part of their $2.5 billion plan for the environment, which includes repealing the federal carbon-pricing regime, and focuses on clean technology.

The Conservative platform has faced criticism from environmental advocates who say it does not lay a specific plan for achieving reductions agreed to under the Paris Agreement. Canada has committed to reducing its emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels.

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When questioned by reporters on this issue, Scheer was evasive, repeating that his plan would give Canada “the best chance to achieve those Paris targets.”

“These are all measures specifically designed to help lower Canada’s emissions but also lower global emissions,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Trudeau said that if re-elected, his government would help Canadians make their homes more energy-efficient. He also promised to help communities better prepare for climate-related disasters by establishing a national flood insurance program and better flood mapping at a cost of $150 million over three years.

“It’s expensive to adapt to a changing climate. We are going to help you replace those drafty windows or your old furnace — so you can cut your utility bills and keep our environment healthy,” Trudeau said in a statement.

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The Liberals say they will help retrofit 1.5 million homes over the next five years to make them more energy-efficient.

According to Liberal Party documents, the program would be implemented by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and give homeowners and landlords an interest-free loan of up to $40,000, based on the results of an energy efficiency audit.

The loan can be paid back over 10 years through a CMHC-insured mortgage, bank loan, or in partnership with a utility company, through energy savings on monthly bills, according to the party. Cash incentives of $250-$750 will be offered to those who participate in the program.

WATCH: Trudeau says he’ll introduce interest-free loans up to $40K for retrofitted homes

The Liberals are also proposing a grant of up to $5,000 to help buyers of newly-built homes that are certified zero-emissions through the Net Zero Homes Grant.

The new pledges are part of the Liberals’ environmental plan that has vowed to get Canada to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 if re-elected on Oct. 21, which has been criticized for being short on details.

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On Tuesday, Trudeau faced repeated questions from reporters about why he was not providing Canadians with the details of how that plan would work if his party is re-elected.

Trudeau was also asked about a warning from the PBO in June that Ottawa will not be able to hit its emissions-reduction targets unless it increases the carbon tax and that Canada currently falls short of hitting those targets.

“The major policy discussions ahead of us will be centred around mitigating climate change. This is a fact. This is our great global challenge,” Trudeau said.

“So here’s the question: do you want to be represented by a team that has a plan and is ready to do more? Or do you want a team of climate deniers?”

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The plan to get Canada to net-zero emissions set out five-year milestones based on advice from scientists and introduces more support for workers who will be impacted by the transition to clean energy. However, there were few details included in the announcement.

The Liberals have yet to provide any of its promises to the Parliamentary Budget Office for costing. The party said they are working with the PBO on the costing of specific electoral proposals and will be released in the coming weeks.

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Meanwhile, the NDP have promised to reduce Canada’s greenhouse  emissions to 450 megatonnes by 2030, a 37 per cent reduction from 2017 levels and have also promised a retrofit program for all housing stock in Canada by 2050, though low-interest loans that repayable through energy savings to pay for home upgrades.

The Green Party has promised building retrofits and installation of renewable energy technologies though  grants and zero-interest loans. The Greens pledged to reduce emissions by 60 per cent by 2030, doubling Canada’s current plans under the Paris agreement.

— With files from Amanda Connolly and the Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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