A Message from Our CEO, Lawrence Krimker, About the Canada Greener Homes Grant
Consumers and businesses want to go green, but they can’t do it alone—they need support from our government. Let me explain.
I have long been an advocate for big business and small government. I believe that by and large, governments should focus on improving our infrastructure and social services and let businesses and consumers guide the free market’s evolving journey.
That being said, there are notable exceptions. A primary obligation of government, where business is concerned, is to support the free market by providing consumers and businesses with grants and incentives that bolster entrepreneurship, propel innovation, and provide greater choice. This is especially the case when the incentives are aligned with a migration toward a greener economy and a more carbon-neutral future.
Rebates like these give consumers the opportunity to affordably purchase the most efficient and reliable products that support their shift to a greener lifestyle. In addition to these benefits for consumers, incentives and grants provide emerging, small, and medium-sized businesses with an equitable playing field where they can compete, succeed, and scale to market.
I have often spoken of the importance that a government grant played in helping me get my first business off the ground—a business that gave rise to an organization with $3 billion in total assets under management and has helped more than half a million Canadians improve their carbon footprint. That is why I was delighted to learn about the newly announced Canada Greener Homes Grant, which supports energy-efficient home renovations with up to $5,600 in rebates for homeowners. This comprehensive and ambitious $2.6 billion program is exactly the kind of value-added involvement in the market that we need from the government.
As Canada’s non-bank consumer lender of choice, specifically focused on the home renovation space, I have built this business on the idea that if we can remove cost barriers, consumers will make the best choice for them, but also better environmental choices. A program like the Canada Greener Homes Grant is one small, but significant, example of how government can play a role in making it easier for Canadians to make environmentally friendly choices.
Being a company that has worked devotedly to remove financial barriers for consumers and help lower their energy costs, I believe that supporting consumers with green incentives has multiple benefits.
It bolsters small-business and drives sustainable innovation.
Small and medium-sized businesses in the home renovations space have created incredible new products that help enhance home comfort, reduce long-term expenses associated with repairs and energy costs, and help curb carbon emissions that damage our environment. But they have not taken off commercially because they are too expensive for many consumers. Removing traditional cost barriers creates increased demand, giving small, innovative companies a better footing to compete with big players.
It changes consumer behaviours.
Most home renovations today are reactive, meaning that consumers wait until an air conditioner or hot water tank breaks down. They are then faced with a time-sensitive decision that can lead to being taken advantage of or choosing the least expensive, and least efficient replacement in hopes of a quick fix. Products that save you money in the long-term are more expensive in the short-term, so consumers procrastinate, delay, and repair instead of replacing. Promoting sustainability by providing incentives, rebates, and grants means homeowners are more likely to change their behaviours and become proactive by seeking out energy-efficient products sooner. This is a win-win for the consumer and the environment.
It supports consumer spending preferences.
The fact of the matter is that Canadians want to live more sustainably. A recent study by the National Retail Federation found that nearly six in 10 consumers would change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact, and nearly 80% of respondents say sustainability is important to them. The biggest challenge is cost. Consumers will purchase more sustainable products if these items are financially within their reach.
It helps Canada meet its environmental commitments.
The government has committed to reducing Canada’s carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. We will not get there by will alone. Consumers want to go green and entrepreneurs want to support that demand with innovative new products. We must remove financial barriers that prevent the products from coming to market, and when they finally arrive, we need to create the conditions to make them affordable to the masses.