Public agencies, not-for-profit organizations and private sector energy services providers are all expected to play a role in developing the workforce that will underpin Canada’s promised home retrofit program, slated to launch in the fall of 2021. The program, announced in the 2020 fall economic statement, aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, stimulate post-pandemic economic recovery and create green employment through up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 for home energy improvements.
A newly announced $10-million fund will underwrite training and recruitment of approximately 2,000 energy advisors, who will be tasked with performing up to 1 million home energy audits and recommending effective retrofit measures. The Canadian government is now seeking expertise and resources to help build that nationwide team, and is offering grants of up to $100,000 to $200,000 per year to delivery agents of a range of required services.
“There are currently 936 energy advisors in the country who are qualified to use the EnerGuide Rating System v15 to assess home energy performance and make recommendations,” observes Brendan Haley, policy director with the research and advocacy organization, Efficiency Canada. “So this will be a big ramp-up.”
Grants are available in five categories: up to $200,000 per year to train new recruits for energy advisor positions; up to $150,000 per year for mentoring programs; and up to $100,000 per year for professional development/upskilling support, recruitment of under-represented groups in the energy management sector, and capacity building in underserved or remote communities. Potential delivery agents of any or all such endeavours are invited to submit applications by July 8.
Applications will be considered for either a single year or a multi-year period, but all proposed work must occur between September 2021 and March 31, 2024. Provincial/territorial, local and Indigenous governments, Indigenous and other and not-for-profit organizations can receive funding for 100 per cent of eligible costs, while for-profit organizations qualify for coverage of up to 75 per cent of eligible costs. Applicants from or on behalf of under-represented groups will be prioritized, as will proposals that specifically entail recruiting and developing energy advisors from under-represented groups of the population or in underserved locales of the country.
“I am proud of the impact that this investment will have in getting more women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized Canadians into the workforce,” says Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “This investment takes an inclusive approach in helping us get closer to our climate goals and ensuring that all Canadians have access to the skills training they need to succeed in the labour market.”