September 2017

9.3 Heating Costs

Summary of Policy

The cost of energy to heat a primary residence is included in the calculation of shelter costs up to a maximum shelter allowance. If the heating costs alone exceed the maximum shelter allowance the amount payable will be the actual cost of heating.

Legislative Authority

Sections 31(1) 10, 31(2) 4 and 45.2 of the ODSP Regulation

Summary of Directive

When heating costs are not included in the rental amount, they are added to the shelter calculation, up to the maximum shelter allowance, based on family size.

The exception to this is when heating costs alone exceed the cost of shelter. If the cost of heat alone exceeds the maximum shelter allowance, the actual heating cost is paid.

Intent of Policy

To assist with the cost of heating when these costs are not included in the amount paid for rent or common expenses.

Application of Policy

Heating costs are the actual costs to heat the primary residence. Heating costs include oil, gas, propane, kerosene, electricity, and wood. Where there is room in the shelter allowance, heating costs may also include the security deposits required for connection/reconnection of energy for heat. Heating costs do not include the energy costs associated with cooking food, heating water and lighting, all of which are considered utility items.

If a recipient pays separately for heat, the actual cost of heating (for the members of the benefit unit) must be determined and verification provided. Heating costs are added to the rent/mortgage to calculate the shelter allowance up to the maximum amount based on family size. The GST charged on the cost to heat the home is to be included in the shelter calculation. Late payment charges are not to be included as part of the shelter calculation.

When Heating Costs Have Increased For Period Under Review

Upon request, or at the time of update, shelter costs are reassessed for the period under review to ensure the correct amount of assistance was provided. Verification of heating costs should be reviewed to determine if the average monthly amount input for heating costs was too high or too low.

If the verified average monthly amount was too low, and the recipient is not receiving the maximum shelter amount, the shelter allowance can be adjusted retroactively up to the maximum amount allowable in the shelter table. If the average monthly amount input was too high, an overpayment will be established and recovery will commence.

Rental of Furnaces and Hot Water Heaters

The rental costs of furnaces, hot water heaters and other heating sources are included as part of the shelter allowance up to the maximum shelter allowance.

Shared Accommodation

When a recipient is residing with another adult person(s), who is not a member of the benefit unit, the amount payable for heating is the total cost divided by the number of adults to derive an equal share for heating costs.

Wood as Home Heating Fuel

In cases where a recipient cuts his/her own wood (that is, has no cost for the wood itself) for a fuel source, he/she is allowed a deemed amount for expenses to cover the cost of cutting and transporting the wood as set out in the following table.

Where wood is purchased from a supplier, the actual cost is to be included in the shelter costs up to the maximum.

Annual Amount Deemed By Type of Residence

(Where Applicant/Recipient Cuts His/Her Own Wood)

Number of Rooms

Detached Houses In territorial district

Detached Houses Not in territorial district

Semi-detached, duplex, quadruplex, row housing, apartments, rooms, flats In territorial district

Semi-detached, duplex, quadruplex, row housing, apartments, rooms, flats Not in territorial district

1

$111

$87

$87

$62

2

$161

$111

$111

$87

3

$210

$148

$161

$111

4

$260

$185

$210

$148

5

$309

$222

$260

$185

6+

$358

$260

$309

$222

(Note: The term “territorial district” used in the table refers to Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming. These 10 territorial districts are set out in the Territorial Division Act, R.S.O. 1990.)

Purchasing Wood or Oil for Heat Upfront in the Beginning of Winter

Where there is not enough room in the shelter allowance to cover the full cost of a large supply of wood or oil in one month, the full cost may be averaged over the period of time that the large supply of wood or oil is expected to last and added to the shelter allowance. For example, if the large supply of wood/oil costs $300 and is expected to last for three months, $100 should be added to the shelter allowance up to the maximum for three months.

Exceptionally High Heating Costs

In the months where the cost to heat the primary residence exceeds the maximum shelter allowance, the actual cost to heat the residence is allowed as the cost of. shelter even if it exceeds the maximum set out in the shelter table.

In these exceptional situations, a recipient’s budgetary requirements would consist of the basic needs allowance plus the actual cost to heat the residence. Heating costs are assessed in the month they occur and are not averaged over a 12 month period.

Family Size: 2 People

Family Size: 2 people

$769 - Maximum Shelter Allowance

$525 - Shelter costs (rent/mortgage)
$100 - Fuel costs for heating
$625 - Total shelter costs with fuel

The shelter allowance would be $625. The cost of shelter plus the costs to heat the primary residence is less than the maximum shelter allowance.

$769 - Maximum Shelter Allowance

$525 - Shelter costs (rent/mortgage)
$800 - Fuel costs for heating
$800 - Total Shelter costs

The shelter allowance would be the actual cost of fuel, which is $800 even though this amount exceeds the maximum shelter for a family size of two.

Energy-Conservation

A recipient may be issued a one-time payment of up to $50 assist with the payment of low-cost energy-conservation measures to his/her principal residence. All recipients who own and reside in their principal residence as well as those who reside in a rental unit are eligible for the benefit (where it is clear that the landlord is not responsible for the requested items.

Examples of low-cost energy-conservation measures include. sealing or weather-stripping around doors and windows, insulating hot water pipes and hot water tanks, insulating blankets for electric water heaters, fluorescent light bulbs, clothes line/rack and clothes pins (see Directive 9.16 Discretionary Benefit For Low-Cost Energy-Conservation Measures).

Related Directives:

3.1 Reviewing Eligibility
6.2 Shelter Calculation
9.5 Utilities
9.16 Discretionary Benefit For Low-Cost Energy-Conservation Measures

Bulletins:

21-2000
2004-09