OTTAWA, October 27, 2023 – As Prime Minister Trudeau looks to deliver support on energy bills to Atlantic Canadians and other rural areas across the country, the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) is calling on the federal government to include propane in its three-year carbon tax pause for rural heating.
Yesterday, the prime minister told rural Canadians that he is putting more money back in their pockets and making it easier for them to find affordable, long-term solutions to heat their homes and businesses. Trudeau said those measures will help make a real difference. What the prime minister did not say was that there will not be any help for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who depend on low-emission propane for heating their homes and businesses.
“Propane, like heating oil, is a rural fuel,” said CPA President and CEO Shannon Watt. “Those same rural communities that rely on heating oil also use propane. These are rural Canadians facing the same financial pressures as their neighbours and deserve the same breaks on their heating bills.” Across Canada, upwards of 200,000 households use propane to heat their homes. About 30,000 households in Atlantic Canada use propane.
Many thousands more businesses, farmers, community centres, hospitals and schools also use this low-emission energy. Atlantic Canadians depend on propane for space heating more than any other region of the country. More and more people in rural communities in Canada are choosing propane over heating oil as they look for cleaner and dependable energy. On average, high-efficiency propane furnaces emit about 38% fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than oil furnaces.
Propane generators also supply critical energy during severe weather events. Hurricane Fiona, which struck Atlantic Canada last year, is an important example. On July 1, Atlantic Canadians and rural communities across the country who use propane to heat their homes and businesses were hit with a 10.6 cents-per-liter carbon tax. This put a heavy burden on heating bills. In Canada, heating homes and businesses is not a choice and tackling heating costs is an important way to address the higher cost of living. Last winter rural Canadians had difficulty paying residential energy bills.
“Federal assistance must be fair to all rural Canadians, not a patchwork and the prime minister must also be there for those who depend on propane for heating," said Watt. “Otherwise, efforts to help rural Canadians pay their energy bills will just end up creating winners and losers right in rural communities themselves, and nobody wants that.”