Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn tabled Bill No. 3, the Act to amend the Assessment and Taxation Act and the Municipal Act today.
The Government of Yukon is proposing to develop the Better Buildings Program to enable ultra-low interest loans so residential and commercial property owners can improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Amendments will provide the Government of Yukon with the authority to construct and fund such local improvements outside of municipalities. They will also allow the program elements and processes to be set in regulation.
The amendments to the Assessment and Taxation Act would expand the definition of "local improvement" to include energy-efficiency retrofits and enable the process of recovering funds through the annual local improvement tax process.
Amendments to the Municipal Act would introduce the retrofitting program, define retrofits for energy saving and enable the Government of Yukon to work with participating municipalities to make this program available within municipalities. It would be up to municipalities whether they participate in the program or not.
The Government of Yukon will be working with municipalities to ensure that their voluntary participation is manageable. They will also work to identify how to make the program easy and efficient to administer, so that municipal and rural property owners can access the program planned for introduction across the Yukon in 2022.
As we are in a climate emergency, we need to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Better Buildings Program will allow many Yukoners to do that with their homes and businesses. The program is a commitment under the Our Clean Future strategy and is crucial in our climate goals as a territory. I look forward to continuing to work with municipalities to provide access to this program to all Yukoners while minimizing administrative burden.
Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn
Our Clean Future contains 131 actions over 10 years. It is the Government of Yukon’s blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and making investments in renewable energy.
The Government of Yukon currently provides two low-interest financing programs to Yukon property owners. Property owners repay the low-interest financing through Local Improvement Charges applied to their annual property tax bills:
- the Domestic Water Well Program is available to property owners in municipalities and rural Yukon who want to drill water wells on their property to access clean drinking water; and
- the Rural Electrification and Telecommunications Program is available to rural Yukon property owners to access electricity (including solar system installation) and telecommunications.
In the 2020–21 construction season, under the Rural Electrification and Telecommunications Program, 91 projects were funded, including 55 solar projects. During this season, 30 projects were completed under the Domestic Water Well Program.
Property Assessed Clean Energy programs, including partnerships with utilities, loans and mortgages across North America, as well as third-party financing are providing ways to help property owners undertake energy-efficiency improvements. The Yukon government is focusing on this type of program since it already administers programs tied to property taxation.