Many low-income Ontario residents have little money to spare after covering monthly expenses, and some find themselves having to choose between paying their utility bills or buying groceries or prescriptions.
There are several types of financial assistance programs to help pay for hydro and gas bills. Some programs may provide assistance with a deposit for connection fees or equipment such as a water tank. In a few municipalities, there are also programs that help with propane, firewood and oil. To reduce the cost of your energy bills overall, there are also a variety of energy conservation programs. Dial 2-1-1 any time of the day or night to learn about programs in your community, eligibility criteria and how to apply.
There are also many community agencies that provide help with the forms and application process to apply to these programs, which can be confusing. 211’s Community Navigators can refer you to these agencies and always help you if you want more information. You should also visit your utility company’s website to ensure you are utilizing their recommended ways to save energy.
Overview of Utility Financial Assistance Programs Across Ontario
The Ontario Energy Board’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) provides up to $1,000 in emergency financial assistance to pay gas or electricity bills.
You might also qualify for the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), which applies a monthly credit directly to electricity bills.
Municipal programs, often through their local housing programs, may also provide assistance to access these programs or help with deposits.
If you receive the Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support benefits, there might also be discretionary financial assistance available for bills. You would need to contact your local office.
Thunder Bay has a block heater timer program to reduce your energy use.
Energy Saving and Conservation Programs
The Save On Energy Affordability Program offers free energy-saving upgrades at no cost. Additionally, Enbridge Gas’ Home Winterproofing Program delivers free insulation upgrades, draft proofing and a smart thermostat.
The federal government through the Canada Greener Homes Grant is also offering rebates for energy efficiency retrofits. A deep retrofit might consider things like heat pumps, insulation and air sealing, smart thermostats, high efficiency furnace and solar PV options. For more details on the Canada Greener Homes Grant, visit Natural Resources Canada’s web page.
Municipalities or community conservation programs may also offer water conservation resources to reduce your overall water use.
When preparing your taxes, the Ontario Trillium Benefit offers the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, a tax-free payment to help with property taxes and sales tax on energy costs. The Northern Ontario Energy Credit helps with the higher home energy costs faced by Northern Ontarians.
- To find out about the details of utility bill assistance programs in your community, dial 2-1-1.
- You can also chat online with 211, Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Or you can enter ‘utility assistance’ and your municipality on this page to see if there are utility assistance programs near you.
Want to Learn More about Energy Efficiency Programs?
See this video from Enbridge Gas on insulation upgrades.
See how these homeowners saved with the Home Efficiency Rebate by Enbridge Gas.