This is from a recent press release from McGuinty Government:
"Ontario is proposing sweeping new legislation to attract new investment, create new green economy jobs and better protect the climate. The proposed bill, the Green Energy Act (GEA), if passed, would help the government ensure Ontario's green economic future by:
1. building a stronger, greener economy with new investment, creating well-paying green jobs and more economic growth for Ontario -- a projected 50,000 jobs in the first three years
2. better protecting our environment, combating climate change and creating a healthier future for generations to come.
The proposed GEA is a bold series of coordinated actions with two equally important thrusts:
1. making it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life, and
2. fostering a culture of conservation by assisting homeowners, government, schools and industrial employers to transition to lower energy use."
While the stated objective sound great and will be received well by most us, the devil is in the details.
I had a peek at Bill 150 (it has to go through a number of stages before it is passed into law). It will have an immediate impact on people who are selling and buying homes.
Under section 2 of the proposed Act, the Government can require a seller to provide to the buyer a report on the "energy and efficiency" of the building. There is an indication (nothing is firm yet) that such a report could cost approximately $300. Also, it is expected that this report will become another factor in the negotiation process. Buyers will want some reduction in the purchase price if the report shows that the house is energy inefficient. This is similar to the situation when a home inspection, which is becoming standard in a residential sale, shows major deficiencies. This may force homeowners to upgrade or retrofit their homes in order to not risk a decrease in their home equity, or to make their property more sellable in the market. Some in the real estate industry question whether this is the right time for this specific provision in view of our fragile economy.
There are many other parts to the Bill which will be relevant to people, farmers, business and municipalities. Stay tuned.
Michael Cobb is a partner at the law firm of Cobb & Jones LLP (offices in Simcoe and Port Dover)