April 15, 2004
TORONTO - The Toronto Environmental Alliance and the Canadian Environmental Law Association released a report today with key recommendations on a strategy for low income energy and assistance, including consumer protection policies, an energy rebate program and a comprehensive set of energy efficiency programs.
"The recommendations in this report will not only ensure that no one misses meals or loses their home because of high energy bills, but also makes low income households key players in the fight against smog and climate change," said Keith Stewart, spokesperson for the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
"Ontario needs a sustainable program for energy conservation and energy assistance for low income consumers," says Theresa McClenaghan, counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. "We don't want people to get to the point of crisis because of Ontario's changing energy policies. Access to conservation programs for low income consumers is critical and any barriers, such as initial capital outlays, must be overcome."
"Low income families are already struggling to make ends meet," said Sarah Blackstock, research and policy analyst with the Income Security Advocacy Centre. "The provincial government must take action to ensure that low-income families maintain access to electricity."
One in five tenant households in Ontario pays 50% or more of household income on shelter, including utilities. "For people living on the financial edge, the risk of homelessness is a daily reality," said Mary Todorow, policy analyst with the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. "Even a small increase in shelter costs can have serious consequences; those dependent on electricity for heating are especially vulnerable."
The report, prepared by IndEco Strategic Consulting, is attached below.
For further information:
Keith Stewart - Toronto Environmental Alliance 416-596-0660
Theresa McClenaghan - Canadian Environmental Law Association 416-960-2284 ext. 218
Mary Todorow - Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario 416-597-5855 ext 5173
Sarah Blackstock - Income Security Advocacy Centre 416-597-5820 ext. 5150