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Additional Financial Supports

Are you in need of additional support towards your living costs? Are you having difficulty keeping up with your utility bills? 

If you are from a low-income household, you may be eligible for additional financial assistance through one or more publicly-funded programs, such as the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), and the Energy Affordability Program (EAP)

Student Financial Assistance has created a high-level summary of these utility-related financial aid supports in efforts to help guide you through general questions when accessing these services. For more information, visit the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) website, external link, opens in new window and/or the SaveOnEnergy website, external link, opens in new window

Disclaimer: The information on this page is unofficial and subject to change. Please review the original source of the information, hyperlinked in each section of the summaries listed below.

Last updated: July 13, 2021

What is It? 

The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) is a recurring monthly credit (for a maximum of two years) offered to eligible lower-income Ontarians towards reducing their electricity bill, based on household size and income. This program provides ongoing support. There is currently no deadline to apply. 

For more information, please visit the OESP FAQ page, external link, opens in new window.  

Am I Eligible? 

To qualify, your household income has to fall below a certain amount. The amount of income it takes to qualify depends on two factors:

  • How many individuals live in your home
  • Your combined household income

To determine your eligibility, use the Self-Assessment Tool on the OESP website, external link, opens in new window.

Note: In order to apply you must be the account holder for the electricity bill and live at the service address for the account. Furthermore, all household members who live at the service address for six or more months of the year must be listed on the application.

The Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association (ONWAA) is available to assist Indigenous households with their applications. Indigenous households can contact ONWAA at 1-844-885-3157 or email oesp@onwaa.ca to confirm their eligibility.

How do I Claim It?

To apply, you will need the following documentation: 

  • Your current utility bill or your electricity bill account number, service address, and account holder details
  • The names and birth dates of all residents in your home registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
  • Social Insurance Numbers (SINs) or Individual/Temporary Tax Numbers (ITNs/TTNs) for all tax-filing household members 

You can submit an application one of three ways:

  1. Online: Complete the online application for free at the OESP website, external link, opens in new window.

  2. Paper: A paper version of the application, along with the OESP Consent Form, can be downloaded for free from the OESP website, external link, opens in new window.

    If required, a paper application can be mailed to applicants through the OESP Contact Centre (at 1-855-831-8151) upon request. Mail the filled and signed documents in to: 

    Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)
    PO Box 1540 STN B
    Ottawa, ON, K1P 0C7

  3. Intake agency: Ontarians unable to apply through the above two methods can contact an intake agency for assistance. There is no cost for this service. You can search for a designated intake agency near you on the OESP website, external link, opens in new window. For a smoother experience, view a map of OEB-associated agencies, external link, opens in new window on an incognito browser.

What Happens After I Apply?

  • Completed applications and signed Consent Forms will be screened for eligibility within 4-6 weeks once received. 
  • If you qualify, the credit will appear on your electricity bill in about 6-8 weeks after your approval. 
  • Altogether, the process can take approximately 10-14 weeks

Who Can I Contact?

For questions and assistance, you can contact the OESP Contact Centre by: 

The OESP Contact Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

Reference(s)

What Is It? 

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is a one-time grant offered to eligible Ontarians towards their electricity or natural gas bill who:

  • are in arrears (or behind/past due on their utility bill), and/or
  • may face having their service disconnected

This program provides emergency financial assistance only and is not meant to support applicants with ongoing bills.

Through the program, low-income consumers can receive up to $500 in emergency assistance towards electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 towards natural gas bills. 

Funds are limited and available only on a first-come/first-served basis. If required, applicants may qualify for both LEAP and the Ontario Emergency Support Program (OESP).

Am I Eligible? 

To qualify, your household income has to fall below a certain amount. The amount of income it takes to qualify depends on two factors:

  • How many individuals live in your home
  • Your combined household income

To determine your eligibility, visit the LEAP website, external link, opens in new window for more information. 

How Do I Claim It? 

In order to qualify, interested Ontarians will need to arrange an interview with a representative of a PDF filedesignated social or government agency to apply, external link

At your interview, you will be asked to provide the following documentation: 

  • Identification
  • Current electricity and gas bills
  • A disconnection notice, if you have received one
  • A copy of a rental contract, lease or mortgage documents
  • Proof of household income: cheque stub, employment letter, income tax return for adult members of household
  • A copy of your most recent bank statement

What Happens After I Apply? 

If approved, the agency will contact your electricity or natural gas provider and ask them to pause any further disconnection or collection activity on your account until a decision is made. Your utility will also be notified if your application is denied. 

Grants are issued on your behalf and paid directly to your utility — you will not receive a cheque.

Who Do I Contact? 

For questions and assistance, you can contact the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Consumer Relations Centre by: 

The Consumer Relations Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)

Reference(s) 

What Is It? 

The Energy Affordability Program (EAP) provides personalized, energy-saving upgrades tailored to the specific needs of income-eligible households, all at no cost. Through the program, participating consumers can reduce their energy bills by between $100 and $1,000 per year, depending on eligibility, while increasing their home comfort. 

Eligible households may receive one or more of the following: 

  • Participants most in need may qualify for a free energy-needs assessment conducted by a trained energy professional, that will help identify energy-efficient upgrades available for their homes, such as replacement appliances and weather stripping
  • Other income-eligible participants may qualify for free energy-saving kits customized to meet their energy needs that could include energy-saving timers, faucet aerators and/or clothes drying lines

Am I Eligible?

To qualify, applicants must live in Ontario and be responsible for paying their monthly electricity bill either as: 

  • Homeowners
  • Tenants (with the consent of building owner or manager)
  • Social housing providers
  • Income-eligible Indigenous people connected to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)-controlled electricity grid, including within on-reserve First Nations communities

Programs continue to be available to assist on-reserve First Nations communities to benefit from energy-saving upgrades to help on-reserve homes and buildings and to help residents and communities save on energy costs.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, Indigenous households can call the First Nations Conservation Program at 1-844-349-8972 or visit the First Nations Conservation Program website, external link, opens in new window.

The type of support provided will depend on your household income level from the previous year and how many people live in your home, or on your receipt of a qualifying government or energy-support benefit. Residents of social housing may also be eligible. 

Depending on your situation, you may receive different energy-saving products and services, but all advice and energy-efficiency upgrades are completely free of charge.

To determine your eligibility, visit the EAP website, external link, opens in new window for more information. 

How Do I Claim It?

Interested applicants can apply via one of two methods: 

  1. Call 1-855-591-0877
  2. Apply online through the EAP website, external link, opens in new window

Once you reach a representative, you will work together to determine your eligibility requirements and if you qualify, to choose the most efficient energy-saving measures for your household and lay out your next steps. 

Who Do I Contact? 

For questions and assistance, you can contact Greensaver by: 

Greensaver is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)

References