Province of Ontario Investing $92 Million to Create Jobs and Retrofit Social Housing

Artist's rendering of an affordable housing building in Toronto's Pan-Am Village

Ontario continues to put its new Climate Change Strategy into action by investing $92 million from the Green Investment Fund into social housing retrofits to take advantage of the economic opportunities in clean technologies, improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Most of Ontario’s social housing towers were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s and can use up to 25 per cent more energy per square metre than a house. “This new program will support needed upgrades to older, energy inefficient buildings to reduce their energy costs,” Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing said. To help ensure that these buildings can better meet the challenges of climate change, the province is investing $82 million toward energy retrofits for high-rise social housing towers of 150 units or more.  The retrofits will include installing energy-efficient boilers, insulating outer walls and mechanical systems, and installing more energy efficient windows and lighting. At an average cost of $3.5 – $5.5 million for each high-rise project, the funding could help retrofit between 16 and 23 buildings.

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Social housing in Ottawa

Ontario will also invest a further $10 million to help improve electricity efficiency in approximately 1,300 single social housing homes, which are often found in smaller and rural communities.

Starting this month, eligible social housing service managers and the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services Corporation may submit expressions of interest for funding to the province. The selected service managers will distribute funds starting this spring to the most appropriate projects in their communities.

Ontario’s new Green Investment Fund is a $325-million down payment on the province’s cap and trade program to strengthen the economy, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This $92-million investment will help lower greenhouse gas emissions by about 3,600 tonnes over a 20-year period and create approximately 1,650 job years.  Communities eligible for retrofits include: Toronto, Windsor, London, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, and Ottawa.