The recent election of a conservative government in Ontario appears to be the reason that Canada’s most populous province abruptly canceled a rebate program for replacement windows that promised up to $5,000 for homeowners who upgraded to energy-efficient fenestration products.

A brief statement on the GreenON website says the rebate programs are closed, though it doesn’t give a specific reason for the shutdown. However, the Toronto Star reported on Tuesday afternoon that the incoming government in Ontario had “quietly axed” the program.

The GreenON website says homeowners will still be able to get cash back for upgrades if they submit a rebate application by September 30, 2018 for work that’s contracted to  be completed by August 31, 2018. A tweet from GreenON posted on June 19 in reply to a question urges those with questions about the program to call 1-888-728-8444.

The program appears to be coming to an end because of Doug Ford’s elevation to the premiership of Ontario after his Progressive Conservative party took 76 of 124 seats in elections for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in early June. Ford wants to pull Ontario out of a cap-and-trade market that was poised to provide more than $350 million for the GreenON rebate program. Ford made campaign promises to reduce Ontario’s gas prices by 10 cents per liter and to cut electricity rates to spur more manufacturing investment in the province.

“I made a promise to the people that we would take immediate action to scrap the cap-and-trade carbon tax and bring their gas prices down,” Ford said in a June 15 statement. “Today, I want to confirm that as a first step to lowering taxes in Ontario, the carbon tax’s days are numbered.”

The Siding & Window Dealers Association of Canada (SAWDAC), which runs a GreenON-authorized certification program for installers called Window Wise, told its members to immediately stop promoting the rebate program.

“You should cease any sales or promotional efforts in support of the GreenON program, including the removal of any references to the GreenON rebates from your website and in other promotional materials,” the association posted on its Facebook page. “We appreciate your cooperation to ensure a smooth process for consumers as we wind down the GreenOn rebates program.”

Laura Weil, the marketing director for EuroVinyl Windows in Toronto, said the GreenON program was beset by problems from the  beginning.

“The finale of this rebate program was unnecessarily abrupt,” she said. “Along with most participating window manufacturers, our lead times are eight to 12 weeks. GreenON faced an enormous amount of backlash for rolling out an antiquated program without thorough consulting and communication with our industry. It appears that they have maintained this business model to the end. Fortunately, the program only ran for a few months and shouldn’t permanently damage our industry with the false economy it created.  Now we can move our focus toward tariffs, labor  shortages and the upcoming shift in building code criteria.”

The Green Ontario Fund (GreenON)  first announced the rebates in mid-December. It promised up to $500 per rough opening up to a maximum of $5,000 for windows rated Energy Star Most Efficient. The rebate did not include doors, such as sliding glass patio doors.

GreenON is part of the province’s Climate Change Action Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Ontario’s cap-and-trade carbon market auctions  raised more than $1.9 billion in 2017, according to the CBC.

1 Comment

  1. This program,although well intentioned and an appropriate way to spend carbon tax dollars was rushed out last December with no regard for previously trained professionals in the geothermal industry.Now a large number of these professionals have taken expensive RETRAINING for zero benefit.

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