Delivering support for Canadians on energy bills
The reality is that there are people who are struggling to pay their bills right now and who are feeling a lot of pressure, not just in Atlantic Canada, but across the country. We’ve already taken many steps to help Canadians make ends meet, including the grocery rebate and $10‑a‑day child care services. And today, we’re taking new steps to ensure that our commitment to protecting our environment continues to be delivered in a way that benefits people in Atlantic Canada and in rural areas across the country.
Let me first talk a bit about the price on pollution. Economists and experts around the world have long known that putting a price on carbon emissions is the best way to drive down those emissions that cause climate change. It's the cheapest, most efficient, and most impactful way, and it's working. We are bending the curve, leading the G7 countries, because of our price on pollution, and we designed that price on pollution so that it incentivizes people to choose less polluting ways to live and work, and it puts money back in the pockets of eight out of ten households where the federal system applies. So, it both drives behaviour and puts more money back in the pockets of eight out of ten households across the country. So, it supports people to make better choices and puts money back in their pockets.
However, we've heard clearly from Atlantic Canadians through our amazing Atlantic MPs that since the federal pollution price came into force this summer, replacing provincial systems, certain features of that pollution price needed to be adjusted to work for everyone. Specifically, as Kody said, many people in Atlantic Canada, and in rural communities across the country, rely on home heating oil. And to be blunt, the price signal on heating oil is not resulting in enough people being able to switch to electric heat pumps, despite people wanting to move to these cleaner home heating options. Well, as a government that is focused on evidence and data and outcomes, and that is listening to Canadians, we heard you.
We heard our Atlantic MPs and we heard Atlantic Canadians. We heard it through conversations at the door, conversations with other orders of government, concerns even as people were concerned about the need to continue to fight climate change, concerns about our abilities to continue to support our families and make it through winters, and concerns that even though people wanted to do the right thing, they weren't necessarily given the option or the ability to do it. So, this team behind me worked incredibly hard with our ministers, with our whole team, to get it right, to make sure that we are still leading in the fight against climate change, that we are unwavering in our commitment to protect Atlantic Canadians, and indeed all Canadians, from the extreme weather events that are increasingly the norm while ensuring that people can be confident about their present and their future financially.
Now, Kody talked about how all Atlantic Canadians understand, as well as anyone else in the country, why we need to fight climate change and what the impacts of extreme weather are on people, but we have to make sure we're fighting climate change in ways that supports all Canadians. That has been at the center of our choices as a government for the past eight years, fight climate change while supporting Canadians in how we do it. So, that is why, today, we are announcing a three-year pause on the federal pollution price on heating oil so that we can give everyone the time and ability to switch to heat pumps.
Now, switching to an electric heat pump from oil heating, which is very vulnerable to volatile global market prices can save people a lot of money. In fact, it can mean as much as thousands of dollars a year less spent on energy bills. So, the second part of our announcement today is that, piloting in the Atlantic, we're working with provinces to install a free heat pump for people who are making at or below median household income.
And to encourage people to sign up for the change, we're providing a $250 incentive payment. That's money in your pocket right now.
Yeah, you didn't know about that one, guys.
And for everyone else, we've got an enhanced program that will deliver heat pumps upfront to be paid off with the savings you'll be getting over the coming years. We are switching to heat pumps off home heating oil as a region in Atlantic Canada and as a country.
And one more thing, today, we are doubling, from 10 to 20%, the rural top-up that people get as part of their quarterly pollution price rebates.
Because if you live in a rural community, you don't have the same options that people who live in cities do. We get that. So, this is more money in your pocket to recognize those realities, even as we continue to fight climate change and build a stronger economy.
Today’s announcement covers a range of measures, including doubling the supplement for people living in rural areas as part of the quarterly pollution price rebates. It will also make it easier for more people to choose an electric heat pump, which will save them money and keep our air cleaner.
This package has a lot of big pieces that will make a real difference, and the bottom line is this. Life is tough for many people right now, and it can be tough in different ways depending on whether you live in the Atlantic or in rural Ontario or in a big city like Montreal or Calgary. I hear that. This team hears that. We'll always have your back by investing in you, by putting more money in your pocket, and by finding the right solutions that not only make life more affordable, but keep a strong, healthy future for everyone. Canada is the best country in the world. Let's keep working to make it even better.