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Ontario Government Runs Out of Energy

Posted by Sherry Rioux on April 30, 2009
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… to bring forth bold legislation that is.

Last week, a delegation from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) appeared before the Standing Committee on General Government to discuss REALTOR® concerns related to the Green Energy Act, and more specifically, mandatory home energy audits.

Since then, it appears that the government will be amending sections of the Act as originally proposed.  From a memorandum we received today from OREA, it would appear that in regard to the provision pertaining to mandatory home energy audits, they will no longer apply to leases or commercial properties and, in fact, will only apply to single family residences.

The most significant proposed change however is that the government added a provision that would allow purchasers to waive their right to receive an energy audit report provided they do so in writing.

According to the OREA memo, the next steps, are that the government will now draft regulations to implement the home energy audit provisions; “We expect that, given some of the difficulties mentioned above, that could well be a lengthy process. That section of the Green Energy Act may therefore not be proclaimed for some time.”

The memo went on to say, “We believe these amendments are a victory for OREA that is largely due to the thousands of emails individual REALTORS® sent to their MPPs as well as significant support from our member boards.< > This is an outstanding example of how REALTORS® can work together to influence legislation affecting our industry.”

While OREA is busy self-congratulating and while the government is rolling over on their bold legislation, I’m sorely disappointed.  I know I am neither alone in my views  nor am I in a majority however, I steadfastly disagree with OREA on this one and strongly believe that mandatory energy audits were the only way we’d effect change at the speed we need it to happen.  Our future is not something we should gamble with over challenges that could be addressed.  Audits have already been voluntary for years yet very few home owners, home sellers or home buyers have done them in their homes.  Yes, there were problems in the Act as proposed and yes, there would be a difficult adjustment period however, the intent was correct and everything could have been addressed.  Mandatory audits exist in many countries and once again, we fall behind in our commitment to urgently address our environmental problems and commitments for change.

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