Environment Minister announces $20 million in funding for N.B.

    Steven Guilbeault Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada during his conference held at the Dunn Russel lounge for the Future Electricity Fund. (Submitted: Steven Guilbeault)

    Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault visited St. Thomas University on March 11 to announce that New Brunswick homeowners would receive $20 million in pollution pricing returns through the Future Electricity Fund. 

    “This funding will go a long way in helping homeowners in New Brunswick improve their homes with energy-efficient upgrades as they get off [of] heating their homes with oil,” said Fredericton Member of Parliament Jenica Atwin, who also attended the news conference at the Dawn Russell Student Lounge. 

    The funds are going towards NB Power’s Enhanced Energy Savings Program to assist eligible households.

    The Enhanced Energy Savings Program is available to homeowners with an annual combined gross household income under $70,000 and a need for major energy efficiency upgrades. There is currently a waitlist for the program, which NB Power CEO Lori Clark told the news conference she hopes this funding will help deal with.

    The goal is to help homeowners move towards more energy-efficient heating methods by providing heat pumps, free insulation, or free air sealing.

    “This allows them to better manage their energy bills, be more comfortable and … help the environment,” said Clark.

    David Coon, leader of New Brunswick’s Green Party, said the program could go further.

    Still of Steven Guilbeault and David coon the Party leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick. (Submitted:Steven Guilbeault)

    Since the program started, NB Power has been able to service 5,600 households and have another 2,600 underway, but 118,000 households meet the income cut off, he said.

    “It’s great to get some money from the federal government towards this,” Coon said. “But … it really is inadequate to the task in terms of what might be considered the federal government’s fair share here.”

    When questioned, Guilbeault acknowledged that this is not enough to significantly reduce energy waste and get New Brunswick where it needs to be. 

    “The short answer to your question is no,” said the former climate activist, Guilbeault.

    He said they will announce more ways homeowners in Atlantic Canada can receive assistance in reaching energy efficiency goals.

    “Clearly, we need to do more and we are, in fact, doing more.”