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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Canada to help small businesses invest in energy-saving equipment and retrofits

The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change announced two new proposed programs that will help owners of small and medium-sized businesses be more energy-efficient, save money, and take action to reduce pollution.

From Environment and Climate Change Canada 

May 30, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians are fighting climate change because they know a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand. Climate action presents a global economic opportunity representing $26 trillion and 65 million jobs. Energy efficiency reduces energy costs and helps people save money. Likewise, small business owners across the country want to do their part in the national effort to fight climate change.

Recognizing that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, the Government of Canada has reduced the small business tax rate to nine per cent, making it the lowest among G7 countries. We are also making significant new investments to help small and medium-sized businesses reduce pollution, save energy and boost their productivity.

Today, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced two new proposed programs, subject to Royal Assent of the Budget Implementation Act, that will help owners of small and medium-sized businesses be more energy-efficient, save money, and take action to reduce pollution.

Under the Climate Action Incentive Fund, small and medium-sized businesses such as restaurant owners, farmers, truck drivers, convenience and small grocery store owners in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — the four provinces where the federal price on pollution applies — could be eligible to:

  • Receive refunds between 25% and 50% on the cost of new energy-saving equipment such as appliances, which could include fridges, dishwashers, heating and cooling equipment, anti-idling devices and high efficiency boilers;
  • Funding of up to 25% of eligible costs for energy-efficient retrofits and other projects to improve energy efficiency, reduce their energy use and save money.

These investments will help make small and medium-sized businesses across the economy more productive and competitive as they reduce their energy costs.

The Government is also establishing an External Advisory Committee, which will provide practical advice to help refine and improve the ongoing delivery of Climate Action Incentive Fund programs for small and medium-sized businesses.

In addition, the Government will open up shortly a new call for proposals for smaller projects from small and medium-sized businesses across the country under the Low Carbon Economy Fund Partnerships stream. Approximately $10 million will be available to help those businesses make investments to improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and save money.


“In communities across Canada, small and medium-sized businesses are proving that taking action on climate change is good for business. To build on their leadership and ensure more small and medium-sized businesses have the means to take action, we are helping business owners invest in new equipment and retrofits to be more energy efficient, cut pollution and save money.”

— Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


“Small and medium-sized businesses have told me that they want to do their part to fight climate change but that they worry about the costs associated with cutting pollution. That’s why our government is helping small and medium-sized businesses invest in energy-efficient equipment that will not only cut their pollution, but also increase their productivity. Canadians know that the environment and the economy go together, and we’re proud to help small business owners be part of the solution to climate change.”

— Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Quick facts

  • These programs are subject to passage of the Budget Implementation Act and subsequent specifications by the Minister of Finance.
  • The revenues from pricing pollution available to support small and medium sized businesses is estimated to total $1.4 billion over 5 years. Revenues will be returned to the jurisdiction they came from. Over five years, that means $295 million for small and medium-sized businesses in Saskatchewan, $130 million in Manitoba, $975 million in Ontario and $55 million in New Brunswick.
  • Under the Climate Action Incentive Fund, SMEs – defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees — will be eligible for federal funding to support projects that reduce carbon pollution, save money and create good jobs in a clean economy.
  • Recent analysis found that every $1 spent on energy efficiency programs generates $7 of GDP. The same study found that from 2017 to 2030, Canada’s GDP would see a net increase of $356 billion from implementing the energy efficiency measures in Canada’s climate plan.
  • The Government of Canada implemented changes to accelerated capital costs that allow businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing and processing of goods, or immediately write off the full cost of specified clean energy equipment.
  • Budget 2019 introduced full write-off for zero-emission vehicles purchased by businesses in the year of purchase, a tax benefit worth about $13,000 per vehicle for a typical small business.
  • The Low Carbon Economy Partnerships stream totals $50 million in funding to support investments that cut pollution and reduce energy use for projects selected through a competitive, merit-based process. The fund will soon be re-opened to consider more applications from small and medium-sized businesses across Canada.

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