News & Events

Act Now to Save Housing Supports for people on OW and ODSP!

The Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) and the Home Repairs Benefit were both eliminated in the 2012 budget. The cuts will come into force in January 2013.

CSUMB can be used to prevent disconnection of utilities (gas, electricity, water) or to restore utility services if there has been a disconnection of service. It can also be used for utility deposits. The Home Repairs Benefit can be used to repair or replace unsafe electrical wiring, and furnaces or wood stoves.

Cutting these benefits is the wrong decision!

Click here to send an email against these cuts - fill out your name and address, add some comments about the impact of losing these benefits in your community, and click the submit button.

Your email will be sent to John Milloy, Minister of Community and Social Services, with copies to Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance.

Copies will go to Progressive Conservative and NDP Critics in these areas.

This campaign is a joint project of two of LIEN's steering committee members, ACTO (Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario), and ISAC (Income Security Advocacy Centre).  

Register now for the 2010 LIEN annual conference

Registration is now open for the LIEN annual conference, "Forging Ahead: Shaping Ontario's Low-Income Energy Future".

Draft Agenda

Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Location: Thomas Lounge, Oakham House, 63 Gould Street

There is no registration fee for the conference and lunch will be provided, but we ask that you register as soon as possible so that we can order the right amount of food. Space is limited. Preference will be given to those who register by May 18, 2010.

Fill in the online registration form below:

Directions: Oakham House is located on the southwest corner of Church Street and Gould Street. It is a 2 minute walk east of Yonge Street, just north of the Dundas subway station.

In keeping with the theme of the conference, if feasible, we encourage the use of public transit or car pooling. There are several paid public parking lots also nearby.

Mark your calendar - upcoming LIEN conference!

The LIEN annual conference will be held on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Oakham House, Ryerson University, Toronto.

This exciting (and free) event is a gathering for anti-poverty, affordable housing and environmental advocates to share experiences and engage in an action agenda on low-income energy issues.

More information, including registration and agenda, to come within the next few weeks.

OEB LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program) initiative halted!

The Minister of Energy and Infrastructure is in the process of developing a province-wide integrated program for low-income energy consumers. As a result, the Minister has requested that the OEB not proceed with the LEAP implementation in advance of a ministerial direction. The Minister further indicated that the MEI, in the development of its program, would build upon the work the OEB has undertaken to date.

For more information:

OEB letter: http://www.oeb.gov.on.ca/OEB/_Documents/EB-2008-0150/letter_LowIncome_NextSteps_20090928.pdf

MEI letter: http://www.oeb.gov.on.ca/OEB/_Documents/EB-2008-0150/letter_Ministry_20090908.pdf

The impact of smart sub-metering on low-income tenants

LIEN is very concerned about the impact of smart submetering on housing affordability for low-income tenants who right now pay for electricity in their rent and already struggle to pay for other basic necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medicine.

Having utilities included in rent is a fundamental and valuable term in residential rental contracts, providing tenants with some degree of certainty with respect to expected costs in order to make crucial household budget decisions.

People on social assistance, single-parent families, the elderly, visible minorities, immigrants and persons with disabilities are all over-represented in the population of low-income tenants. They are particularly vulnerable to increases in shelter and utility costs - increases which are difficult to absorb and which could put their housing in jeopardy.

For information on smart submetering, please refer to the resources below: 

1) Tenant information flyer on smart submetering
2) Smart submetering FAQs for tenants

Affordable energy and the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy

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.

Saving Energy: The 6-Step Guide to Tenant Action

LIEN is pleased to announce a great new resource called "Saving Energy: The 6-Step Guide to Tenant Action"!  This Guide was written for people like you who want to help tenants save energy and money. Offering a simple 6-step approach to get neighbourhoods organized and working towards common goals, the Guide can help kick start tenant-led energy conservation activities and more.  In this Guide you will find key advice every 'Step' of the way, examples and tips based on lessons learned from real-world experiences, and a helpful 'Info & Ideas' resource section at the end.

This Guide, written by the Toronto Environmental Alliance, is part of a 3-part project in partnership with LIEN to provide resources, workshops, and program opportunities for low-income tenant neighbourhoods to work together, take action and save energy!

We hope you will benefit from this Guide and share it with others!

Click here for your own free copy.

Energy Poverty Fact Sheet

Compelling statistics, compiled by LIEN, that illustrate the disproportionate energy burden facing low-income energy consumers.

Energy Poverty Fact Sheet (updated June 2008)

2006 Ontario statistics on heating equipment by income quintile

Custom tabulation for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and the Income Security Advocacy Centre from SURVEY OF HOUSEHOLD SPENDING 2006; DWELLING CHARACTERISTICS AND HOUSEHOLD EQUIPMENT BY HOUSEHOLD INCOME QUINTILE, ONTARIO, 2006. STATISTICS CANADA, INCOME STATISTICS DIVISION, CUSTOM TABULATION* (FEBRUARY 26, 2008)

2006-ontario-stats-on-heating-equipment

2006 Ontario statistics on appliances by income quintile

Custom tabulation for the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and the Income Security Advocacy Centre from SURVEY OF HOUSEHOLD SPENDING 2006; DWELLING CHARACTERISTICS AND HOUSEHOLD EQUIPMENT BY HOUSEHOLD INCOME QUINTILE, ONTARIO, 2006. STATISTICS CANADA, INCOME STATISTICS DIVISION, CUSTOM TABULATION* (FEBRUARY 26, 2008)

2006-ont-stats-on-appliances-by-income-quintile

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Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN)
c/o Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)
1500 - 55 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2H7
Phone: 416-597-5855 ext. 5167
Toll-free: 1-866-245-4182 ext. 5167
Fax: 416-597-5821
Email: info@lowincomeenergy.ca