Okay, let’s get this out of the way – this article will NOT make any jokes about the price of houses in Vancouver!
What this article DOES cover are the government rebates that available to B.C. homeowners – rebates that can take the sting out of renovation costs. There are national rebates, and a few that are special to B.C.
Homeowners in this province can get up to $32,790 in government grants and rebates (and check out the additional rebates at the end of this article – rebates that are available only in specific regions of the province).
7 Government Grants & Rebates = $32,790 For Home Improvements
Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program ($24,000)
The RRAP (Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program) was set up by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to encourage homeowners to create “secondary suites” in their homes, and rent them out to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
The $24,000 is a forgivable loan – as long as the program requirements are being met (i.e. you’re renting to a low-income senior or person with a disability) you don’t have to pay back the loan. And at the end of 15 years, you can rent to whoever you want.
GST/HST New Housing Rebate (1.5% of GST/HST)
Don’t let the name of this one fool you – this is not just for new-home builders. The New Housing rebate is meant to defray part of the GST/HST paid on a new house OR substantially renovating an existing house.
Assuming you’re doing $100,000 worth of renovations to your home, you would get back $1,500 through this rebate.
The catch with this one is that if you’re renovating your house, it can’t be worth more than $450,000 once the renovations are completed (obviously a tough task if you live in Vancouver and some other B.C. cities).
Tax Exemptions on energy-efficient appliances and materials
To encourage British Columbians to make their homes more energy efficient, the provincial government has made the following appliances and materials exempt from provincial sales tax:
- Windows, furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps that are ENERGY STAR qualified
- Insulation materials
- Storm windows and storm doors
- Weather stripping
- Caulking material
- Window insulating systems
- Separate multi-glazed windows and doors (including garage doors) containing multi-glazed windows
Assuming you spend $2,000 on insulating your house, $5,000 on a new furnace, and $10,000 to replace your windows, you could get back $1,190 in rebates
Genworth Financial Energy-Efficient Housing Program or CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Refund (10% of mortgage insurance premium)
Canada’s two main mortgage insurance outfits (Genworth Financial, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), will take 10% off your mortgage insurance premium if you buy an energy efficient home, or do energy-saving improvements to your current home.
Assuming you have a $400,000 mortgage on your home, you could get back $1,100.
ecoENERGY Retrofit Grant ($5,000)
The federal government will give you rebates for doing energy-saving renovations to your home, up to a maximum of $5,000. The amount you get back depends on what kinds of home improvements you make. Examples of renovations that pay include installing an energy-efficient furnace, installing better insulation, and sealing drafts in your windows and doors.
Show Me the Green – 3 Steps to $32,790
Now that you know about these grants, what do you do next? Follow the steps below to quickly and easily claim your rebates:
- Find out how to apply for the seven grants and rebates
ShowMeTheGreen.ca has a brief description and simple steps to follow to apply for each of the grants and rebates mentioned in this article. Links to each rebate are provided in step 4 below (but read steps 2 and 3 first!)
- Save your favourites
When you’re on the Description page for each grant and rebate, click on the little “Save to Favorites” button that’s next to the rebate title. This will save a copy of the page for you to get later.
When you’re finished saving all of the rebates, click on “Save Favorites”. You’ll be asked if you want to print all of the rebates, or save them to your computer.
- Follow the steps
Each rebate includes the steps you need to take to submit your application to each rebate program.
Here are direct links to the grants and rebates:
- Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program
- GST/HST New Housing Rebate
- Genworth Financial Energy-Efficient Housing Program or Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Mortgage Loan Insurance Refund
- ecoENERGY Retrofit Grant
- British Columbia Tax Exemption on ENERGY STAR labelled windows
- British Columbia Tax Exemption for Materials and Equipment to Prevent Heat Loss from Buildings
- British Columbia Tax Exemption for Energy Efficient Residential Furnaces, Boilers, and Heat
That’s it! Pick and choose from this list of grants and rebates, or be ambitious and go for them all.