Energy Poverty in Canada

Nearly 2 million Canadian households experience energy poverty

This map shows households that face this challenge the most. It highlights areas where more than 6% of income goes towards energy bills.

It gives a clear picture of how energy costs are putting financial strain on families and housing across Canada.

Explore the map to see how widespread this issue is in each province and territory.

27%

27% (113,690)

households are experiencing energy poverty

26%

26% (16,975)

households are experiencing energy poverty

26%

26% (86,380)

households are experiencing energy poverty

31%

31% (69,985)

households are experiencing energy poverty

10%

10% (374,105)

households are experiencing energy poverty

12%

12% (637,810)

households are experiencing energy poverty

12%

12% (61,990)

households are experiencing energy poverty

15%

15% (69,345)

households are experiencing energy poverty

16%

16% (261,750)

households are experiencing energy poverty

10%

10% (211,080)

households are experiencing energy poverty

24%

24% (4,145)

households are experiencing energy poverty

22%

22% (3,355)

households are experiencing energy poverty

7%

7% (700)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Alberta

16% (261,750)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

British Columbia

10% (211,080)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Manitoba

12% (61,990)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

New Brunswick

26% (86,380)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Newfoundland and Labrador

26% (69,985)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Northwest Territories

22% (3,355)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Nova Scotia

27% (113,690)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Nunavut

7% (700)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Ontario

12% (637,810)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Prince Edward Island

26% (16,975)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Quebec

10% (374,105)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Saskatchewan

15% (69,345)

households are experiencing energy poverty

%

Yukon

24% (4,145)

households are experiencing energy poverty

Energy efficiency improves health and housing for vulnerable communities

Research shows that seniors, renters, newcomers, and single-parent families are more likely to struggle with stable housing and health. Challenges in keeping their homes warm or cool can make these problems worse.

Here is a cross-country breakdown of demographics who are more likely to struggle with high energy costs. This data does not measure energy poverty directly, but those who could be more susceptible to it. Making homes more energy efficient across Canada can prevent energy struggles and make housing and health better, especially for those who need help the most.

8%

of Canadians are newcomers

seniors icon

17%

of Canadians are seniors

Renters icon

30%

of Canadians are renters

17%

of Canadians are single parent households

Improving energy efficiency in housing will make life more affordable for struggling families

Improving energy efficiency in housing will make life more affordable for struggling families

Providing all Canadians with access to energy efficiency upgrades has a variety of benefits:

  • A proven way to conserve energy and lower energy bills
  • Creates good jobs for Canadians
  • Offers protection from cold and extreme weather events
  • Improves health and housing quality for those struggling to meet their home energy needs

Providing energy efficient homes to all Canadians, including private market renters, is critical to address these energy affordability concerns and in reducing emissions to achieve Canada’s climate goals.

Policy gaps are preventing millions of Canadians from accessing potential energy cost savings through energy efficiency programming:

  • Canada does not have a national approach to improving energy efficiency for low-to-moderate income homes
  • Existing programs require an investment – and not everyone can cover the upfront costs
  • Private market renters are still excluded from energy efficiency programs

The majority of Canadians support funding energy efficiency programs for low-income households

The majority of Canadians support funding energy efficiency programs for low-income households

The federal government has strong public support for expanding low-income energy efficiency. According to polling conducted by Abacus Data for Efficiency Canada, 72% of Canadians are in favour of government funding toward energy efficiency for low-income housing. This support spans across rural and urban populations, owners and renters, all income groups, voters for all political parties and in all regions*.

Research on energy poverty in Canada

Access Efficiency Canada’s research and policy briefs on low-income energy efficiency in Canada, in which we explore existing programs for low-income households as well as how to improve energy efficiency in rental units and reduce emissions.

Policy progress on energy poverty in Canada

The fight to end energy poverty is not over, but significant progress has been made. We’ve tracked some of the policy milestones that have contributed to progress on low-income energy efficiency across Canada, including Efficiency Canada’s own work.

  • In a 2019 Federal Budget submission, Efficiency Canada called for a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy to build Canada’s low-carbon future. Part 2 of the 2019 Federal Budget titled “Affordable Electricity Bills and a Clean Economy” outlined plans to reduce energy costs by increasing energy efficiency for Canadians.

  • Efficiency Canada hosted a virtual rally featuring a series of speakers across Canada who shared the challenges of living in energy poverty and working for change. This was part of Efficiency Canada’s larger campaign for energy poverty, which included a sign on letter in support of federal funding for low income energy efficiency programs every year since 2019.

  • Efficiency Canada released the Canada’s Climate Retrofit Mission report, which outlined the scale and performance of building retrofits, and policy actions that are needed to confront the climate emergency. The report also discussed systemic impacts that a large-scale retrofit program could have on health, indoor environmental quality, in reducing poverty, and in creating resilience against climate impacts. Ideas from the report were included in two federal election platforms in 2021.

  • Efficiency Canada published the Efficiency for All report, which detailed how federal investment in provincial low-income energy efficiency programming could help achieve net-zero emissions and reduce energy poverty.

  • Efficiency Canada released the Energy Efficiency in Rental Housing report, which examines how governments can develop public policies to improve energy efficiency while also protecting and enhancing tenant rights. The report outlines challenges and reiterates the importance of improving the energy efficiency of Canada’s private rental stock to reduce emissions and to maintain healthy, comfortable homes for all Canadians.

Never miss an update on research and policy progress on energy poverty in Canada
and gain access to tools that will help accelerate change in your community

Looking for an expert on energy poverty in Canada?

To connect with an expert, reach out to us via media@efficiencycanada.org
2022 scorecard
Abhilash Kantamneni

Research Manager, Efficiency Canada

Abhi has a decade of experience helping communities across US and Canada use clean and efficient energy to achieve local priorities including improving housing, increasing ‘good jobs’ and reducing poverty. His community-based approach to clean energy, civic engagement and capacity building has earned him wide recognition including being named a ‘40 Under 40 Energy Leader’ by the Midwest Energy News and a Canada Storyteller Award by SSHRC-CRSH.

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