A Fredericton home inspector says his phone has been ringing off the hook since word got out that the province is winding down its residential rebate program.
Efficiency NB says due to budget cuts, it has to stop accepting applications at the end of February for rebates on home efficiency upgrades. Home owners will no longer be offered up to $6,000 in rebates for projects such as replacing drafty windows.
Bill Hall, who runs Amerispec Home Inspections, says his employees are getting a flood of calls from anxious homeowners eager to order tests before the fast approaching deadline.
Hall said the residential rebate program spurred his average customer to spend $7,000 to $12,000 fixing up their homes.
“I would say we're looking at between 35 and 40 jobs between three companies that will be laying off and we’ll lose those New Brunswickers too. It's already been said, a few of my evaluators are talking about going out West already,” he said.
Efficiency NB said it might not have enough money to rebate the 3,500 customers already enrolled.
Those who oppose the change question why the province would cancel a program that seems to be very successful at creating employment and boosting the local economy.
Steve Sanderson said he’s spending $30,000 on new doors, windows, insulation and outdoor siding on his Quispamsis home.
Overall, he says, he's dealing with nine different companies.
Sanderson said he can't understand how the David Alward government can lament its out-migration problem, then axe a program creating jobs.
“This government is saying, let's bring back our sons and daughters. Here's an opportunity to keep your sons and daughters here without them having to go away. We've worked with all local people, local, small enterprises and they've done at tremendous job,” he said.
Meanwhile, Efficiency Nova Scotia promotes its job creation record. It said the work keeps young people in the province.
Efficiency NB was allotted $8.7 million in the provincial budget for 2014-15, down from $11.6 million this year.