Province proposes Northern Ontario energy credit


Ontario is proposing a new permanent Northern Ontario Energy Credit that would help eligible low- to middle-income northern residents with their energy costs.
The annual credit would be available to northern residents aged 18 and older who pay rent or property tax for their principal residence.
A single person would be eligible for a credit of up to $130 while a family (including single parents) would be eligible for up to $200.
The credit would be reduced for a single person with an adjusted net income over $35,000, and eliminated when income exceeds $48,000.
It would be reduced for families with adjusted family net income over $45,000, and eliminated when income exceeds $65,000.
For 2010, the province would process applications and deliver the credit in two instalments (November, 2010 and February, 2011).
For subsequent years, the credit would be paid quarterly and the application would be part of the personal income tax return.
The proposed credit would be available to eligible residents of the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming
People living on northern reserves who incur residential energy costs also would be eligible.
But Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath charged the government’s northern energy credit won’t come close to covering the sky-high home heating and electricity bills families pay every month.
“Families in the north pay staggeringly high bills to keep the lights on and the home heated,” she said.
“It’s beyond me how putting a bit of money into one pocket, but taking out even more from the other, is going to help people.”