Retrofit program ends early
The head of the provincial home-building association is crying foul over a decision by the federal government to cut short a popular renovation-rebate program.
The federal government has announced it is closing the ecoEnergy Retrofit-Homes program two months earlier than originally scheduled.
However, Doug Wittal, owner of Kamloops-based DW Builders and president of the B.C. Canadian Home Builders’ Association, argued the change is unfair and the group is calling on the government to follow through with the original deadline.
“They shouldn’t be putting a deadline on it,” he told KTW.
“I think it’s quite unfair how they word things then.”
The retrofit program, which essentially offers rebates to homeowners who replace their mechanical systems with higher-efficiency models, was scheduled to take applications until March 31.
However, it was announced last week the program will not accept applications after Jan. 29.
Wittal suggested there are homeowners who waited to do the work in February or March under the assumption they would be eligible for the program.
“We’re totally taken aback by it,” he said, adding the program was promoted by the industry every time a renovation was involved.
Wittal said the program not only saved the customer money, but also benefitted the environment.
He said the Canadian Home Builders Association plans to send a letter to Ottawa, but he’s not sure how much good it will do.
Though the decision caught the home-building industry off-guard, Kamloops’ MP offered a reason for the end of the program.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod said the program had received more than enough applications to fill the program.
“It [the program] was very successful and subscribed up to its budget,” she told KTW.
The program was limited to 250,000 participants, while the federal government committed to funding $400 million.
Though some trade groups have said Ottawa would only meet half of its original commitment, McLeod said her government will fully fund the program.
She wouldn’t speculate if the federal government will consider offering the program again.