On Monday May 6th, Mayor Valerie Plante announced that every oil furnace in Montreal will be banned by 2030. The ban will include all residential and institutional buildings by that time, with industrial and commercial buildings required to have phased out any oil-burning heat sources by 2025. The city is expected to introduce a bylaw by next year and it would also include an immediate ban on the installation of oil furnaces in any newly-constructed buildings throughout the city, as well as in existing buildings undergoing major renovations. To set an example, she also announced the city will replace all oil furnaces in municipally-owned buildings by 2021 and that $4 million has been allocated to make the conversions. The ban will not include any demerged suburbs.
If you are thinking to switch your heating system to natural gas, think twice – as the city also wants to ban them by 2050. Mayor Plante said they realize the conversion could be a financial challenge for many landlords and homeowners and it is why they set their target date for 2030. There are existing programs which offer financial support for those who will have to make the change she said, such as Heat Green and Chauffez Vert – and they will also work with the provincial government, that already has several existing programs in place, to expand upon them in order to help owners switch to a cleaner source of energy such as electricity or other renewable energy sources.
At the press conference, she said it was all part of a plan to reduce greenhouse gases and make Montreal carbon-neutral as quickly as possible and that the city will be moving away from heating oil to protect the environment and fight climate change. “By 2030, the use of heating oil in Montreal will be over,” she said. “The climate emergency is becoming more and more concrete… the flood episode that our fellow citizens are currently experiencing is only one striking example of the disruptions that await us if we remain idle.”
Although many people have already converted their oil furnaces to other sources, the city does not know how exactly how many homes still use oil, but they estimate there are at least several thousand – and that they plan to do an inventory over the next two years. They do know that three decades ago, almost one in five dwellings in the city relied on heating oil, but that number has now dwindled to only 6%. But it is to be noted that within the Montreal Agglomeration, heating oil is the source of 28% of greenhouse gas emissions from residences and 14% of commercial and industrial buildings.