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July 24, 2018

Social housing retrofits fall victim to cap and trade cancellation in Ontario

 

The cancellation of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program will mean the city will lose almost $7 million earmarked for renovations to social housing buildings in Windsor and Essex County.

“There is significant risk associated with the termination of the cap and trade program and the loss of funding,” said Sonia Bajaj, the city’ co-ordinator of housing administration and policy, in a report that went to council Monday. “Many of the social housing multi-residential units were built in the 1960s and 1970s and are now in the period of their life cycle where major building systems must be replaced.”

Premier Doug Ford made good on an election promise and scrapped the cap-and-trade program that set a hard limit on greenhouse gas emissions produced by industries. Under the program, industries that produce less than their caps are awarded credits that can be sold or traded with other industries that exceed their caps. Industries buy pollution permits from the province, money that can be reinvested in green initiatives like the one that would have given the city money to renovate its stock of social housing.

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Coun. Rino Bortolin, who sounded the alarm Friday about the loss of funding, said people saw only the negative aspects of cap and trade. Critics warned the program would increase gasoline prices and home heating costs.

“People don’t understand or don’t know the hundreds of millions that went back into municipal coffers.”

Bortolin, who ran for the Liberals in the last provincial election, supports the program.

He said businesses who may have been contracted to do the renovations will no longer be needed to do the work, hurting the local economy.

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