Kitchener-Waterloo

Why you may need to be patient to take advantage of the new Canada Greener Homes Grant

Homeowners keen to cash in on a new federal grant program that offers funding for energy-saving home upgrades will need to be patient. Companies that book energy evaluations are warning of delays caused by the pandemic and a shortage of auditors. 

Shortage of energy auditors, pandemic mean wait lists to get evaluated for federal program

Solar panels, replacing windows and doors are all eligible projects under the $5,000 Canada Greener Homes Grants program, but scheduling an energy evaluation by a certified adviser — the first step in the process — may be delayed by pandemic restrictions and staffing issues. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Homeowners keen to cash in on a new federal grant program announced Thursday that offers money for energy-saving home upgrades will likely need to be patient.

Companies that book energy evaluations — the first step in applying for a Canada Greener Homes Grant — are warning of delays caused by the pandemic and a shortage of auditors. 

After Ottawa launched its new program, the government website crashed throughout the morning. The phone at Ameri-Spec Canada in Mississauga, Ont., started ringing at 8 a.m. ET, and didn't stop all day, said owner Chris Harper. 

It was a similar story at REEP Green Solutions in Kitchener, said executive director Mary Jane Patterson.

None of the service organizations are exactly prepared as far as manpower goes. I can see a really long delay with this until people get enough energy advisers ready to go.- Chris Harper, Ameri-Spec Canada

"It's been a little painful. I'll admit that because it's been announced and people have been asking," Patterson told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. 

"Right now we are not doing home energy evaluations. We are being cautious and abiding by the stay-at-home order."

Wait list of 2 to 3 months

Patterson said REEP Green Solutions has a wait list and is booking two to three months out. In that time, she also hopes to bring on another full-time energy energy adviser to help with the demand. 

Ontario — and Canada as a whole — has a shortage of energy advisers. Harper said he would have liked to have seen the program pushed back a few months to allow for training of more staff. 

"None of the service organizations are exactly prepared as far as manpower goes. I can see a really long delay with this until people get enough energy advisers ready to go," said Harper, who is booked through the end of June in just the first day of calls. 

He said his company has two trained energy advisers, one more in training but who still needs to write their exams. 

"I wish it was a little more thought out, I wish they'd delayed it a little bit — to be honest," said Harper. "Put people in place, then get the program ready. I know it's kind of a fine line, but this one was a bit of a surprise."

Last week, the federal government announced it's providing up to $10 million to recruit, train and mentor 2,000 people to conduct energy audits.

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