Expanded heat pump program helps British Columbians save on home-energy costs (2024)

News Release Communiqué


Monday, May 13, 2024 12:20 PM

Expanded heat pump program helps British Columbians save on home-energy costs (1) (flickr.com)

British Columbians are seeing first-hand the costly impacts of more frequent and intense, extreme weather events fuelled by climate change.

Reducing pollution and making life more affordable, while building a strong economy will help ensure a secure, healthy future for everyone.

Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced a federal investment up to $103.7 million from Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) program to support climate action in B.C. and help people with low or middle incomes reduce their energy costs.

They were joined by Josie Osborne, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Minesand Low Carbon Innovation, and George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, who announced an investment up to$151 million from the Province of British Columbia toward this initiative.

“More and more British Columbians are ready to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, while making their homes more efficient and comfortable,” Osborne said. “We are working to make electric heat pumps and efficiency upgrades more affordable for low- and middle-income households across the province, helping them to save on their energy bills and build cleaner, more resilient communities.”

Funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Energy and Natural Resources Canada will be used by British Columbia to provide grants to enable residents to switch their home heating systems from oil, propane or natural gas to cleaner heating and cooling options. Funding will also enable building upgrades for income-qualified homeowners and tenants through the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program, which aims to support the installation of heat pumps to reduce energy bills for low- and middle-income households. Heat pumps also provide cooling in summer, protecting residents against extreme heat and replacing the need for separate air conditioners.

With the support of the OHPA program, income-qualified applicants could receive a rebate of as much as $16,000 to switch to high-efficiency heat pumps in homes currently heated with oil. With the support of the Low Carbon Economy fund, these changes will also apply to homes heated with natural gas and propane. This is an increase in support of approximately 70% from B.C.’s existing rebate program.

Those who are eligibleand living in northern B.C.can access up to an additional $3,000 toward the installation of a heat pump. Homes that require an electrical system upgrade can also qualify for a rebate of up to $5,000 to complete thework.

This funding could help income-qualified applicants receive a total of as much as $24,000 to cover the costs ofheat-pump installation, including electrical upgrades.

In addition to these increased rebates, successful OHPA applicantswho make the switch from oil heating to an electric heat pumpwill also receive an up-front, one-time payment of $250 from the Government of Canada.

The CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program also provides funding for home upgrades, such as the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors, insulation and ventilation.

These programs will reduce emissions and build a clean economy by facilitating 16,000 retrofits in low- and middle-income households. This program is estimated to reduce more than 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030. This is approximately the same as removing more than 12,000 passenger vehicles from the road, and will create more than 900 full-time jobs.

At the same time, the programs will improve affordability by improving energy efficiency and lowering monthly utility costs. Households that switch from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps for space heating can see energy savings of as much as 80%.

Heat pumps are a proven technology in Canada, capable of providing year-round comfort control for a home by heating it inwinter, cooling it insummer and, in some cases, heating water.Heat pumps, despite their name, can also act as air conditioners.

Learn More:

About the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program (former CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program):https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/income-qualified/

About Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund:

About Canada’s Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program:

About Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan:

Learn more about Canada’s Budget 2024:https://budget.canada.ca/2024/home-accueil-en.html

Three backgrounders follow.

Media Contacts

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 208-6183

Kaitlin Power

Senior Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819 230-1557

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Media Relations
819 938-3338
1 844 836-7799 (toll-free)


Facts about the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program

Initiativessuch as theseincrease affordability for Canadiansand support the goal ofnet-zero emissions by 2050.

  • The Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) program was first introduced in November 2022 as a $250-million investment in a new stream in the Canada Greener Homes Initiative.
  • On Feb.22, 2023, the program was opened to pre-registration and was fully launched in late March 2023, with the first grants issued shortly after.
  • The Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF) supports help provincial and territorial initiatives to reduce emissions. This can include support for households to switch from oil or natural gas to heat pumps and increase energy efficiency.
  • On average, homeowners who switch from oil to cold-climate heat pumps to heat their homes save between $1,500 and $4,700 per year on home energy bills.
  • The Government of Canada has OHPA co-delivery arrangements in place with Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotiaand Prince Edward Island.
  • Anagreement with British Columbia is expected by May 31, 2024.
    • Government looks forward to co-delivering the program with other provinces and territories soon.
  • The OHPA program has received nearly 14,000 applications nationally to date.
  • Under Budget 2024, the Government of Canada is taking numerous steps to make life more affordable for Canadians while addressing climate change.
    • This includes the Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program, which will support the direct installation of energy-efficiency retrofits for Canadian households with low ormedian incomes.
  • The number of households in B.C. with heat pumps has increased by approximately 80% since 2017, from an estimated 142,000 to 254,000.
    • In 2022, for the first time, the number of heat pumps shipped to B.C. (37,800) exceeded the number of natural gas furnaces shipped to B.C. (30,700).
What people are saying about the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program

George Heyman, B.C.’sMinister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“All people in British Columbia want to reduce their home-energy costs and address the impacts of a changing climate — extreme weather, heat and cold — which is affecting all of us.Through cost-shared programs like the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program, people have access to affordable energy upgrade options that create cleaner, healthier, more comfortable home environments. With these new investments, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce people’s monthly energy bills and contribute to a secure and more affordable future for British Columbians.”

Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada –

“Installing a heat pump or energy-efficient windows and doors in your home is one of the best ways to save on your monthly energy bills while reducing the pollution that causes climate change. The Government of Canada is committed to help British Columbians adapt to the costly climate impacts this province knows too well, while doing their part to affordably reduce carbon pollution, in close partnership with the provincial government.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada –

“Making the switch to more energy-efficient heating systems can help Canadians save thousands on their energy bills, reduce their energy use, and decrease their carbon footprint. That’s why we are strengthening the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability program and ensuring that families are supported in making the switch from heating oil to efficient heat pumps.”

Chelsea Brandt, general manager, RedBlue Heating and Refrigeration –

“British Columbia's provincial rebate programs empower residents and businesses to transition to energy-efficient heat pumps, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering carbon emissions. These incentives not only cut energy costs but also stimulate local economies by driving demand for installation services and manufacturing of green technologies. Ultimately, they foster a sustainable future while benefiting both individuals and businesses through improved comfort, affordability, and environmental stewardship.”

Evan Pivnick, program manager, Clean Energy, Clean Energy Canada –

“The cost of living in B.C. is feeling higher than ever, and the energy bills British Columbians pay for fossil fuels are no small part of this. That is why today’s announcement of up to $250 million in joint federal and provincial funding to make heat pumps more accessible is such welcome news. Heat pumps are the lowest-cost option for heating and cooling for a majority of homes in Canada. In B.C., this funding will bring those costs down even more, helping households across the province access this cost-saving, climate-friendly technology.”

Graham Anderson, director, Community Energy Initiative, Ecotrust Canada –

“Energy-efficiency retrofits are the only lasting solution to high energy bills and extreme heat in homes. We are thrilled to see the B.C. government step up its incentive to more completely cover the cost of a heat pump for many lower-income British Columbians. This program will make it possible for thousands of households to enjoy safer, more comfortableand more affordable homes.”

Brendan Haley, senior director of Policy Strategy, Efficiency Canada –

“Eighteen per cent of B.C. households spend more than 30% of housing costs on energy, and improving energy efficiency will result in lasting cost savings. This combination of federal and provincial funding will expand access to heat pumps, while also supporting upgrades to insulation and ventilation that will cut bills and improve comfort. This comprehensive set of energy-efficiency improvements, across different heating sources, will provide real solutions to people’s affordability and health challenges.”

George V. Harvie, board chair, Metro Vancouver –

“In Metro Vancouver, we are seeing more extreme heat events, so every building needs a plan to add cooling systems to safeguard occupant health and improve comfort. Shifting to using high-efficiency electric heat pumps to heat and cool homes will help us move toward a more resilient, sustainable future. Our Climate 2050 plan calls for widespread electrification of existing buildings in the region, and we’re pleased to see the Province of B.C. and Government of Canada making it easier for all of our residents to afford electric heat pumps.”

Graeme Hutchison, president, MoveUP –

“MoveUP commends the B.C. government for taking action to make life more affordable in B.C. This new program will make it possible for lower- and middle-income people to afford a heat pump in their homes, saving them thousands of dollars for the installation while lowering their energy bills. This shows Premier Eby's commitment to making life more affordable for workers and their families and demonstrates decisive action to combat climate change while strengthening B.C.’seconomy.”

Ian Cullis, director, Asset Management, BC Non-Profit Housing Association –

“We are pleased to see a funding increase to support lower-income B.C. residents install high-efficiency heat pumps. The addition of a top-up for northern B.C. residents in this program will be a significant benefit for individuals and families who face high heating costs through the winter. Making heat pumps accessible to more non-profit housing tenants will reduce the risks associated with extreme heat and cold spells for low-income residents and generate energy-efficiency gains that will benefit everyone in B.C.”

New, improved support for heat-pump, energy-efficiency upgrades

The Province is providing improved support to even more people in British Columbiawho need affordable, efficient, clean-energy upgrades – including electric heat pumps – for their homes.

Part of the Province’s CleanBC plan, the Better Homes Energy Savings Program builds on the success of and replaces the former CleanBC Income Qualified Program that currently offers rebates to make fuel-switching and energy-saving upgrades more affordable for low- ormoderate-income households.

New federal and provincial funding is enabling key program enhancements:

  • expanding program eligibility to add middle-income households;
  • providing rebates for 100% of the cost of a new heat pump, up to a cap that varies by the type of heat pump (central, multi-split or mini-split).
    • This means that households may be eligible to receive a free heat pump from the program;
  • increasing the maximum rebate amount for heat pumps from $9,500 to $16,000.
    • This is an increase of approximately 70% from the previous program;
  • providing an additional top-up of up to $3,000 for people living in northern B.C. who are switching from natural gas, propane or oil heating to an electric heat pump; and
  • increasing the maximum rebate amount for electrical service upgrades needed to install a heat pump from $3,500 to $5,000.

All British Columbians who own an eligible home (or renters that have their landlord’s permission), meet income qualification requirementsand have a residential-utility account with BC Hydro, FortisBCor a municipal utility will be able to access the program.

Participants will not need to pay up front for heat-pump installations and other efficiency upgrades. Applicants pre-register for the program to verify their eligibility. Once upgrades are completed by a program-approved contractor, the contractor submits the final rebate application and deducts the rebate amount from the final cost of the upgrade.

The program is income-tested with maximum rebate amounts for heat pump installations varying with household income and size, as outlined by the table linked below:

British Columbians will be able to apply to the new Better Home Energy Savings Program starting on June 18, 2024.

The program will also continue to provide support for other home-efficiency upgrades at current rebate levels – including insulation, windows and doors, and ventilation. It will also provide rebates of as much as $5,000 for households switching from electric baseboards to electric heat pumps, funded by BC Hydro’s energy-efficiency measures.

For British Columbians living in apartment buildings or social housing, the CleanBC Better Buildings program includes "whole-building"rebates to support fuel switching from fossil fuels and energy-efficiency upgrades.

The Province and BC Hydro areworking together to develop a new program for British Columbians wanting to install heat pumps in individual apartment suites, to be launchedthis year.

Media Contacts

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 208-6183

Expanded heat pump program helps British Columbians save on home-energy costs (2024)


How much do heat pumps cost in British Columbia? ›

The cost of a heat pump can vary depending on the type, model and installation needed to support your home's characteristics and size. It ranges from about $6,000 to $14,000, and can cost more if you need more indoor heads or other modifications.

What are the requirements for BC heat pump rebate? ›

The system must meet all the following requirements: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 16 or higher, or (SEER2) of 15.2 or higher. Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF Region IV) of 10 or higher, or (HSPF2 Region IV) of 8.5 or higher.

Do heat pumps really save energy? ›

How Does a Heat Pump Save Energy? Because it moves heat from one place to another rather than generating it, a heat pump uses less energy to warm your home than a conventional electric or gas system. In fact, many of them are efficient enough to earn the ENERGY STAR label.

What is the downside to a heat pump? ›

Before buying a heat pump system, it's important to know the potential downsides. Here are the cons of heating and cooling your home with a heat pump: Higher installation cost: Because heat pumps are more complex, they cost more to purchase and install than a comparable air conditioner.

How much does a heat pump cost to run per month? ›

While in heating mode, a heat pump can consume between 0.86-9.00 kWh per hour, 6.86-72 kWh per day, and 205.71-2160 kWh per month. The cost of operation at $0.15/kWh is $30.86-$324 per month.

How much should I expect to pay for a heat pump? ›

Each type of heat pump has different costs for the unit and installation. We've researched each type available and their average prices to help you determine which is right for your home. Heat pumps cost between $3,500 to $7,500 on average. Common heat pump repairs cost between $80 and $4,500 depending on repair type.

Do heat pumps qualify for federal tax credit? ›

Heat pumps and biomass stoves and boilers with a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75% qualify for a credit up to $2,000 per year.

Are heat pumps eligible for the Inflation Reduction Act? ›

Homeowners can claim up to $2,000 for heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, or biomass stoves. Upgrade costs eligible for the credit can include equipment, installation, and labor costs.

Do I qualify for an air-source heat pump? ›

If you are on a low income and have a high cost of heating your home, or on a low income and vulnerable to the cold because of age, illness or disability, you may also be eligible.

At what temperature is a heat pump useless? ›

For this reason, heat pumps start to lose efficiency at around 40 degrees F and become less efficient than furnaces at around 25 degrees F. Heat pumps continue to be effective at cooling the indoors, even at high temperatures. In the South, it rarely gets below 25 degrees.

How long does it take for a heat pump to pay for itself? ›

Some heat pumps can generate enough energy savings to pay for themselves in as little as two years, though it can vary from five to ten.

Does a heat pump use freon in the winter? ›

Just like air conditioners, all heat pumps use refrigerant. Older units may still use Freon, but all new heat pumps instead use a different type of refrigerant as Freon has been outlawed for more than a decade.

Why do people not use heat pumps? ›

Heat pumps loose their effectiveness (not to be confused with their efficiency) the colder it gets outside forcing you to either use the electric heat or stay cold. Systems that are designed poorly so the ductwork is too small resulting in a lot of air noise and drafts that is not as warm.

Does it hurt a heat pump to run constantly? ›

A heat pump that runs constantly can cause your system to overwork, causing it to have a shorter lifespan. In this article, we look at common heat pump problems, why they are happening, and how to fix them. Many homeowners have a heat pump as their primary HVAC system.

Do heat pumps work well in BC? ›

Heat pumps are ideally suited for the typical climate found in British Columbia's Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. In areas with a colder climate, cold climate heat pumps are recommended (see our What is a Cold Climate Heat Pump FAQ).

How much does it cost to install a heat pump system in Canada? ›

Heat Pumps Installation Expenses in Canada
Type of Heat PumpInstallation Cost Range
Air Source Heat Pump$3,000 – $7,000
Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump$2,500 – $7,000
Ground Source (Geothermal) Heat Pump$10,000 – $30,000
Sep 29, 2023

How much does a heat pump cost for 2000 square feet? ›

You'll need at least a 4-ton heat pump for a 2,000 square-foot home. This size heat pump will cost $4,200 to $7,500 for both the unit and installation.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated:

Views: 5737

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.