In this month of COP15 in Montreal, we talk about all the initiatives that can help the climate: Limiting the rise in temperatures, among other things, is an element that can contribute to this.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal reminded the Plante Administration in a press release of “its opinion entitled Zero-emission buildings: moving resolutely forward, with a clear and predictable timeline.”
The Board of Trade encourages “the City to change its fiscal approach and to put in place incentives to encourage these projects, by mobilizing the financial contribution of the federal and provincial governments when necessary. We need to encourage, rather than penalize, those who act for the green transition.”
“The City must ensure that it maintains a predictable and competitive business environment, which is an essential condition for continuing to attract real-estate investment to its territory. The new net-zero requirements for buildings will need to be clearly stated, with a realistic timeline. We believe that, ideally, these requirements should be from a metropolitan or even provincial perspective. The City’s ambition must inspire the rest of Québec,” continued Michel Leblanc.
The Association des Propriétaires du Québec (APQ) supports this initiative: As a representative of residential rental landlords, private landlords can also be part of the solution. And it is the whole of Québec that is subject to it. Naturally, the landlord must be allowed to distribute the expenses incurred equitably by changing the method of calculation used by the Administrative Housing Tribunal.
Buildings(2), including houses, are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada.
Québec, including the City of Montréal, must also make regulatory changes to reduce GHG emissions and improve the energy efficiency of the building stock.
The City of Montreal indicates in its “2020–2030 Climate Plan”(3) certain orientations but no implementation in December 2022:
The City is also committed to actively soliciting the collaboration of government actors, whose programs and investments are necessary to support the improvement of residential buildings. As part of agreements with these authorities, the City will deploy the following actions:
*Improvement of the AccèsLogis program.
The City will revise the AccèsLogis program, which funds social and community housing projects on the Island of Montreal, to improve the energy efficiency and climate resilience of this type of housing.
Creation of new programs for owners of residential rental buildings.
The City is working to implement renovation subsidy programs for owners of residential rental buildings. These enhanced programs encourage landlords to incorporate environmental best practices and improve the tenants’ living conditions in their renovation projects.
A program will provide subsidies to owners of 2 to 5 units. The replacement of an oil-feuled heating system will be required by this program, where applicable. This program will complement the Réno Affordable Housing program, which provides grants to owners of buildings with 6 or more units, one-third of which are affordable. The grant is equivalent to 30% to 45% of the contractor’s invoice for eligible work.
Beyond the economic aspect, technical support for Montreal rental-housing owners is necessary to encourage them to improve the energy balance of their building by reducing the uncertainty and lack of information perceived by them.
While waiting for concrete programs, we can look at the few initiatives in force.
To encourage renovations, owners of private houses in Canada can try to obtain one of the grants of up to $5000.00 offered by Canada(4).
But this aid does not affect rental properties. We can read at the beginning of the process: “If one of the following criteria applies, you are automatically ineligible for the subsidy: I own a rental property and I rent my property.”
In Quebec, three programs exist but they do not meet the needs of all:
- Rénoclimat: Rénoclimat guides you in your residential renovation work to improve the energy performance of your housing.
- Chauffez vert: Everything related to oil heating.
Éconologis: The Éconologis program is offered from October till March only and for low-income households.
The APQ maintains that rental-housing owners will not be able to meet their standards or even have their work carried out without financial assistance.
Material costs have risen dramatically.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicator “Maintenance and repairs by the owner” was at 150.10 in January 2021, and in November 2022 it stood at 166.90, an increase of 11.19%.
Not to mention that renovating in a green way costs most of the time more than putting back standard materials without energy benefits.