Former Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt, left, assists with a home evaluation in this 2009 photo. ((Natural Resources Canada))

The federal government is suspending a program which offered people financial incentives to have their homes evaluated for energy efficiency and then perform upgrades to improve the rating.

Under the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, homeowners could receive a grant of up to $5,000 to carry out energy saving improvements.

The program technically runs until March 31, 2011, but the government will not accept bookings for pre-retrofit evaluations after midnight Wednesday. Homeowners who have already booked an appointment, have completed an evaluation, or applied for re-entry into the program have until next year to apply for the retrofit grant.

On the program's official website, the federal government said it was "committed to reviewing its energy efficiency and emissions reductions programs to ensure they continue to be an effective and efficient use of Canadian tax dollars."

The Conservatives launched the ecoEnergy Retrofit program in April 2007. By 2009, the government had paid out $91 million to homeowners for more than 85,000 home retrofits.

Liberal MP David McGuinty told the Globe and Mail newspaper the program had become too popular and, therefore, too costly.

"Here is what has really happened — demand tripled since 2007," the Globe quoted McGuinty as saying.

The federal budget unveiled on March 4 included an additional $80 million for the retrofit program.

Many provinces, such as Ontario, match the federal rebates. Those programs are expected to continue.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty had commented on the program suspension. In fact, the comments were made by his brother, Liberal MP David McGuinty.
    Mar 31, 2010 11:00 AM ET