Nunavut homeowners brace for fuel price hike

An Iqaluit homeowner is unhappy that those with an income over $100,000 can’t access the territory’s Senior Fuel Subsidy.
The sun over Frobisher Bay at noon. Homeowners in Nunavut are bracing for a hike of 10 cents per litre in diesel, the fuel many use to heat their homes. (Jeanette Gevikoglu)

The price of diesel went up by 10 cents a litre in Nunavut on Jan. 1. 

That has some people in the territory worried about their home heating bills.

Like other homeowners in Iqaluit, John Maurice and his wife, Rhoda Ungalaq, use diesel to heat their house. The couple live on a fixed income, but they aren’t eligible for the territory’s Senior Fuel Subsidy.

“The thing with retired people who worked for the government and own their own houses, is they usually make enough money to be fairly comfortable, but they're not at the level that makes them eligible for any kind of subsidies,” Maurice says.

The territorial government subsidizes fuel for seniors, but only to households with annual incomes under $100,000.

Maurice says that number is surprising.

“I looked at it and I thought, wow, the level that you would earn to be eligible for that fuel oil subsidy for elders, you would have to be so low that you couldn't really afford to even own a house.”

Roy Green is the deputy minister with community and government services.

He says fuel rates have to increase to cover the rising cost of fuel.

“Nunavummiut have enjoyed stable fuel prices over the last two or three years. In fact we've seen decreases in both diesel and gasoline prices over the past several years,” Green says.

The government also offers a Fuel Tax Rebate for harvesters, outfitters, and tour operators.

It's 6.4 cents per litre on gas for eligible activities.


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