14% of Canadians struggling to heat, cool their homes: Statistics Canada – LifeSite

OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) — Statistics Canada has found that as energy costs continue to rise, some Canadians are unable to afford to properly heat or cool their homes. 

On October 30, Statistics Canada reported that many Canadians are keeping their homes at “unsafe or uncomfortable” temperatures as they are unable to pay energy bills amid Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ongoing energy regulations and taxes.   

“In the face of rising energy prices, not all Canadian households are able to adequately heat and cool their dwellings, resulting in possible increased risk of climate-related morbidity and even death,” StatsCan wrote.   

“In 2023, 14 percent of Canadian households reported that they kept their dwelling at an unsafe or uncomfortable temperature for at least 1 month in the past 12 months because of unaffordable heating or cooling costs,” the report continued.  

The research found that over a quarter of households (26 percent) in 2023 did not use air conditioning. Similarly, 26 percent of Canadians do not have air conditioning or cooling equipment in their homes.   

36 percent of those who went without air conditioning lived in the lowest income bracket, while only 15 percent were in the highest income bracket.  

Furthermore, Canadians living in apartments are least likely to have air conditioning. Numbers revealed 38 percent of Canadians in low-rise apartments and 33 percent of Canadians in high-rise apartment do not use air conditioning.  

According to StatsCan, a lack of air condition can “lead to dangerous living conditions and has been linked to an increased risk of heat-related morbidity and mortality.” 

The report found that 2 percent of households were so affected by their home being too hot or too cold that a member of their household required medical care.  

As energy bills continue to rise, one in seven Canadians have been forced to go without necessities, such as food and medicine, to pay their energy bills. Additionally, about 8 percent revealed that they have had to go without necessities for at least three months.  

Research found that 27 percent of those who have had to sacrifice basic necessities to pay energy bills are single-parent families. Single parents are 1.5 times more likely to forfeit necessities than couples with children and 3 times more likely than couples without children.  

Additionally, some Canadians are unable to make their payments at all. In the past 12 months, 3 percent of households said their energy was disconnected or shut off, while one in ten reported that they could not pay their bill on time or at all. 

The StatsCan findings come amid ongoing debate over Trudeau’s carbon tax, which extends to many forms of home heating.  

Trudeau recently determined to suspend the carbon tax for home heating oil, a decision which has been criticized for benefiting Atlantic provinces, a historically Liberal stronghold, while leaving western and Conservative provinces literally out in the cold.    

As a result, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his province will stop collecting a federal carbon tax on natural gas used to heat homes come January 1, 2024, unless it gets a similar tax break as the Atlantic Canadian provinces.   

However, Trudeau, along with other Liberal officials, have announced that no more concessions are to be made.  

“There will absolutely not be any other carve-outs or suspensions of the price on pollution,” Trudeau told reporters. “This is designed to phase out home heating oil, the way we made a decision to phase out coal… This is specifically about ending the use of home heating oil.”    

Trudeau’s statement was supported by both Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.    

Wilkinson dismissed Moe’s demand of further tax relief, saying, “There will be no more carve-outs coming.”    

“We expect him to comply with the laws of the land,” he added. “It is a requirement that they collect that or that it be collected in some way.”   

Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Pierre Poilievre condemned the rising energy costs citing the carbon tax as a driving factor and making reference to the StatsCan report.   

“Already, 14 percent of Canadians are living with unsafe temperatures in their homes. One in 10 have missed a heating bill in the last 12 months. Will he, before people go cold and hungry, axe the tax so that people can keep the heat on?” he asked in Parliament.  

Trudeau’s decision comes as Atlantic Liberals are beginning to vote alongside Conservatives to end the carbon tax. The Atlantic provinces have voted primarily Liberal since 2015, but recent polls reveal that many Canadians living there plan to vote Conservative.    

Trudeau’s carbon tax, framed as a way to reduce carbon emissions, has cost Canadians hundreds more annually despite rebates.     

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer calculated the total carbon tax costs for fuel in 2023 minus the government rebates. The steepest increase is for Albertans, who will pay an average of $710 extra per household. Following Alberta is Ontario with a $478 increase.  

Prince Edward Island households will pay an extra $465, Nova Scotia $431, Saskatchewan $410, Manitoba $386, and Newfoundland and Labrador $347.   

The increased costs are only expected to rise, as a recent report revealed that a carbon tax of more than $350 per tonne is needed to reach Trudeau’s net-zero goals by 2050.     

Currently, Canadians living in provinces under the federal carbon pricing scheme pay $65 per tonne, but the Trudeau government has a goal of $170 per tonne by 2030.