The Ontario government has committed to developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy by the end of 2008. A series of government consultations were held across the province in May and June, and Ontarians were invited to submit ideas and comments either through the government's website at www.growingstronger.ca, or by fax or regular mail.
LIEN believes that the province's poverty reduction plan and its long-term affordable housing strategy must both address energy poverty. The LIEN submission to the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction recommended that the following changes be made to help low-income people who are finding it increasingly difficult to afford their energy bills: (1) establish permanent, adequately-funded energy conservation programs for low-income consumers, with targets for the number of homes to be retrofitted annually. Such programs should be available at no cost to eligible participants and be equitably accessible province-wide; and (2) establish a permanent Ontario Home Energy Affordability Program for low-income consumers.