Yukoners will soon have access to low-interest loans for energy retrofits following legislative amendments to the Assessment and Taxation Act and the Municipal Act.
Bill No. 3, Act to Amend the Assessment and Taxation Act and the Municipal Act (2021), received assent today in the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The amendments enable the creation of the Better Building Program, which can provide loans up to $50,000 for home energy retrofits and up to $100,000 for business energy retrofits. Loans will be offered at the lowest interest rates in the country.
The program will make homes and businesses more efficient, reducing Yukoners’ energy bills and the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Amendments to the Assessment and Taxation Act will expand the definition of local improvements to include energy-efficiency retrofits. Amendments to the Municipal Act will define retrofits for energy saving, while allowing the Government of Yukon to work with participating municipalities to make the Better Building program available within those municipalities.
In addition, the Government of Yukon now has the authority to support home and business energy retrofits outside of municipalities, as well as the required powers to make, create and regulate the retrofit program for rural Yukoners. Changes to the legislation will also allow the Government of Yukon and participating municipalities to levy, collect and remit taxes to support residential and commercial property owners who want to participate in this program.
Over the past several months, the Association of Yukon Communities’ working group and the Government of Yukon worked together on how the program could be best implemented in Yukon municipalities. The working group brought forward recommendations on administrative and financial elements that would be needed for participating municipalities. The Government of Yukon is committed to addressing these recommendations as the program is created.
With the passage of the enabling legislation, the Better Buildings program details will be developed and launched through the Department Energy, Mines and Resources. This includes the drafting of program-related regulations, agreements with municipalities, program details and marketing materials.
The Better Building program will allow Yukoners to make energy retrofits to their homes and businesses with loans at the lowest lending rate in the country. Thank you to the Association of Yukon Communities and Municipal representatives for meeting with us over the past several months to find a way that ensures the Better Building program can soon be implemented. I look forward to seeing Yukoners take advantage of this program to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses, reduce emissions across the territory and help meet our climate targets in Our Clean Future.
Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn
Reaching our climate action targets in the coming years requires efforts on many fronts. The Better Building program is smart. As we make our homes and businesses more energy efficient we need less energy to heat them. This innovative program is an additional tool that will help the Yukon collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions while protecting owners against rising energy costs and adding value, comfort and longevity to their homes and buildings.
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker
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 Better Buildings program will further collective goals under the Our Clean Future plan by making it easier for Yukoners to make targeted improvements to increase the energy efficiency of homes and commercial buildings.
Retrofit projects will also qualify for Good Energy rebates.
Existing titled commercial or residential properties in the Yukon, including First Nation government-owned buildings will be eligible. Property owners will have to be in good standing on their property taxes and be approved by a mortgage lender.
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 taxes 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.
- 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.