Energy Poverty in Canada: a CUSP Backgrounder

Energy poverty is qualitatively defined as the experience of households and communities that struggle with meeting their home energy needs. Home energy needs typically include electricity and home heating fuels. Currently, there is no formal and official definition for energy poverty in Canada. However, it is most commonly characterized in terms of high home energy cost burdens, and using concepts such as affordability. Most households in Canada spend less than 3% of their after-tax income on their energy needs. Households that spend more than twice this value (i.e. more than 6% of their income) on securing access are thought to experience disproportionately high home energy cost burdens. For purposes of policy discussion and painting an overall picture of energy poverty we use this value as our affordability threshold.

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Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners