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Ontario invests in social housing retrofits

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ontario continues to put its new Climate Change Strategy into action by investing $42.9 million in social housing retrofits in Toronto. The funding is part of the province’s Green Investment Fund, which is providing $82 million for social housing retrofits to take advantage of the economic opportunities in clean technologies, improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The City of Toronto has been selected to distribute $42.9 million of these funds and will select local projects through a competitive process.

Many of Ontario’s social housing towers were built in the 1960s and 1970s and can use up to 25 per cent more energy per square metre than a house. To help ensure they can better meet the challenges of climate change, the province is funding energy retrofits for high-rise social housing towers of 150 units or more. The retrofits will include installing energy-efficient boilers, insulation and windows. It’s expected 35 to 50 of Ontario’s social housing apartment towers will be retrofitted through this program.

Ontario’s $325-million Green Investment Fund, a down payment on the province’s cap and trade program, is already strengthening the economy, creating good jobs and driving innovation while fighting climate change — a strong signal of what Ontarians can expect from proceeds of the province’s cap and trade program. These investments will help secure a healthy, clean and prosperous low-carbon future and transform the way we live, move, work and adapt to our environment while ensuring strong, sustainable communities.

Fighting climate change while supporting growth, efficiency and productivity is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Social housing retrofits quick facts:

• Direct emissions from residential buildings in 2013 were estimated to be 12 per cent of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
• A 2012 Deutsche Bank study [PDF] found that every $1 million invested in energy efficiency-related retrofits in multi-family affordable housing buildings generated between $1.3 million and $3.9 million in energy savings and increased Gross Domestic Product.
•  The province’s new $325 million Green Investment Fund was announced in the 2015 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. Green Investment Fund projects will also include: more electric vehicle fast-charging stations, support for Indigenous communities, industry and small and medium-sized businesses and help for local organizations to fight climate change.
• In May 2015, Ontario became the first province in Canada to set a mid-term greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 37 per cent below the 1990 level by 2030.
• Ontario is developing a cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that is causing climate change.
• About 20 per cent of Ontario’s renters live in social housing.

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