Ontario Keeping Energy and Housing Costs Down

Beamsville – This week, the Ontario government introduced legislation that, if passed, would reverse a December 2023 decision by the Ontario Energy Board that would have significantly increased the costs of building new homes across the province. Reversing this decision will prevent an average of $4,400 being added to the price of new homes, or tens of thousands of dollars being added to the price of a home in rural Ontario.

“Our government is working hard to ensure every person in Ontario has access to attainable housing,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“This proposed legislation will help lower energy and housing costs and keep the province on track to build at least 1.5 million homes.”

“Since day one our government has taken action to lower energy costs, including by cancelling the previous government’s cap-and-trade carbon tax and cutting the gas tax,” said Hon. Todd Smith, Minister of Energy.

“While previous governments implemented schemes that led to skyrocketing energy prices, we are using every tool in our toolbox to keep costs down for people and businesses. The Keeping Energy Costs Down Act will protect future homebuyers from increased costs and keep shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure projects.”

The Keeping Energy Costs Down Act, would, if passed, give the province authority to reverse the Ontario Energy Board decision to require residential customers and small businesses to pay 100 percent of the cost of new natural gas connections upfront. These costs would have previously been paid over forty years. Once the government introduces a Natural Gas Policy Statement, a recommendation of the Electrification and Energy Transition Panel’s final report, it will require the Ontario Energy Board to consider this issue again.

The government will also appoint a new Chair of the Ontario Energy Board this spring with the expectation that the board and commissioners conducts appropriate consultation – in line with the proposed legislative requirements – before reaching decisions that support the objective of an affordable, reliable, and clean energy system.

“Natural gas will continue to be an important part of Ontario’s energy mix as we implement our pragmatic plan to invest in and bring online more clean nuclear energy,” added Minister Smith.

“Unlike the previous government, which saddled families with sky-high hydro bills, our government is taking a thoughtful approach that keeps costs down for people and businesses and delivers energy security.”

To ensure that future decisions reflect and support the priorities of the people of Ontario, the Keeping Energy Costs Down Act would require the Ontario Energy Board to conduct broader engagement to ensure impacted organizations and sectors have an opportunity to participate in proceedings. It would also enable the government to require the Ontario Energy Board to conduct a separate hearing on any matter of public interest.

The proposed legislation would also maintain the existing treatment of gas transmission projects that are critical to the province’s economic growth by ensuring new customers do not have to incur upfront financial contributions and update the Leave to Construct process of the Ontario Energy Board to respond to concerns raised by municipalities around supporting critical housing projects and local economic development initiatives.