Seniors in Ontario may struggle with renovating their homes, making them safer, more beautiful, and more accessible. This is usually in the form of a financial burden, as a pension is usually not enough to cover the cost of necessary repairs.
This is why there are home renovation grants for seniors in Ontario. These grants allow homeowners to receive financial aid to complete necessary home repairs and modifications.
I will share how to get this financial aid and how to apply for government grants for home renovation for seniors in Canada. I will also share some tips to make the process smoother.
- The Ontario Renovates Program offers $15,000 for repairs and $5,000 grants for accessibility modifications
- You must be at least 65 and the homeowner to apply
Are There Home Renovation Grants for Seniors in Ontario?
Yes, for Ontario, there is the Ontario Renovates Program, which is a home renovation grant specifically for seniors. This grant allows a senior to renovate their home with financial assistance.
What is the Ontario Renovates Program?
The Ontario Renovates Program is financial assistance in the form of a 10-year forgivable loan of $15,000 and a $5,000 grant for accessibility modifications. The total together is a maximum of a $20,000 load for home renovations.
The $15,000 covers essential home repairs and renovation. I can also cover accessibility modifications, like a chair lift or wheelchair ramp.
The $5,000 is only for accessibility modifications and cannot be used for any other project or renovation.
What are the Benefits of the Ontario Renovates Program?
There are several benefits of using the Ontario Renovates Program, which are:
- Assistance in getting needed renovations done for your home.
- Improving safety in your home.
- Allowing a senior to age in place.
- Reduced risks of adverse health outcomes.
Assistance With Renovations
The benefits of government grants for home renovation for seniors in Canada include assistance in getting needed renovations for your home, such as a wheelchair ramp.
This can provide financial relief, as it means seniors don’t have to resort to loans from other sources to get necessary renovations done to maintain a good quality of life. Homeowners in Ontario spend roughly $1,810 on renovations, but modifications like grab bars and other senior-friendly items can cost quite a bit more (1). With financial assistance, homeowners can focus more on preparing for their renovation instead of worrying about the financial aspect.
“When getting ready to renovate, put your plans on paper and draw them out. This leaves minimal guesswork for when the contractors start doing the renovations and drafting design plans,” stated Jenny Hughes, a Senior Writer of The Spruce.
Grants can offer a solution for making a home for seniors safer. This includes non-slip floors, especially in the bathroom. This also includes grab bars and handrails, which can reduce the risk of accidental slips, trips, or falls.
Allowing Seniors to Age in Place
Another key benefit of the Ontario Renovates Program is that it allows seniors to age in place. This means that their homes can be more accommodating and safer for seniors. This also means that they don’t have to move into a senior residence, as the ability to age in place provides them with more independence.
One of the most essential benefits of home renovation grants for seniors in Ontario is that they reduce risks due to the modifications in place, like non-slip floors. These risks include tripping or falling.
Seniors are known to be prone to bone damage if they fall, so these reduced risks mean there is a less likely chance they’ll be sent to the hospital for an accidental fall due to the renovations in place.
How Do You Become Eligible for the Ontario Renovates Program?
According to the City of Ottawa, to become eligible for the Ontario Renovations Program, there are a few criteria you must pass (2):
- Your home value must be under $670,908.
- You must be at least 65 years old.
- You must own your home.
- You must have a disability. Or, you must live with someone who has a disability.
- Your total income must be at most $40,000 for one person and $53,400 for two people.
How do You Apply?
You can apply for the Ontario Renovates Program online by emailing email@example.com with all the necessary information. You can also mail it to the City of Ottawa, or deliver it in person. Necessary information includes:
- A completed application.
- A copy of your photo ID.
- A Notice of Assessment for everyone in the home under 18.
- A copy of your home insurance.
- A disability document.
- Confirmation of all liquid assets.
Tips for Getting Renovation Grants for Seniors
There are many tips for getting renovation grants for seniors and how this will shape your home, which are included below:
- Review the guidelines carefully.
- Contact Housing Services for any questions.
- Submit the application early.
- Keep copies of your documents.
- Notify contractors.
- Budget wisely with the grant funds.
- Maintain compliance when using the funds.
Review the Guidelines
Before submitting, it’s helpful to review the guidelines at least twice or thrice. Once you submit, it can be very challenging to add extra documents that were forgotten or have the agency have to delay the application due to missing or incomplete forms.
Pro Tip: A great way to ensure you don’t miss anything is to have a second pair of eyes help you go over the guidelines. This could be a family member or a tax advisor.
Contact Housing Services
It is always a good idea to contact Housing Services directly to see how long application wait times are and if there’s any information you should know before submitting.
The number to contact Housing Services is 613-580-2424 with the extension 12300. The office hours to contact them are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
When contacting any government agency, I like to call earlier in the day. The lines are often shorter, and I can get help sooner.
Another helpful tip is to submit your documents sooner rather than later. The Ontario Renovates Program has limited funding and is only available on a first-come-first-served basis. The program is available only until March 31st, 2024, after which they might not accept more applications.
Before you submit your application, it is always a good idea to take photocopies of every part of your application for your records. This helps you be on the same page with the Housing Services office if they claim a part of the application is missing. It is also something that you can look back on years down the road and remember exactly what was sent and when.
I usually keep special documents all in one folder in an office. That way I know where it is and can refer to it whenever I need to.
You should let contractors like Renowell know when you’ve submitted your application and what to do when the grant is approved. This way, you can start looking for the best quote and have a contractor chosen and ready to go when your grant comes through.
When renovating a home in Mississauga or within Ontario, it is essential to consider your budget carefully. You are typically charged the cost of renovation per square foot. So, if you have large, expansive floors that need non-slip material installed, this will cost more than a smaller home with less floor space.
I always like to have everything accounted for and a buffer. This buffer allows wiggle room in the renovation if anything exceeds the outlined budget. This helps avoid any surprises.
“Putting grab bars in place is as simple as $20-$30 per bar. To have them installed is around $100 each. This can help make slippery tubs and showers safer for seniors,” explained Margarette Burnette, a Senior Writer of Nerd Wallet.
Another crucial tip is to ensure you’re using the granted funds correctly. Below is a table of what possible complaint renovations could be made throughout your home.
|Location of the Home
|Possible Compliant Renovations
Walk-in shower or tub
|Move the bedroom to the main floor or install a stair lift
|Lower the countertop height
Install pull out drawers for wheelchair access
Rounding or cushioning sharp edges to avoid accidental bumps
|Secure rugs with rug tape
Pro Tip: When in doubt, you can contact Housing Services to see what parts of your renovation stay compliant with using the funds.
My Experience With Home Renovation Grants for Seniors
In my experience with home renovation grants for seniors, I always recommend applying as soon as possible. Clients have come to me saying that there’s a long wait and limited capacity with the grants, and they were always concerned about whether they would get the grant or not. Those who did get the grant were overall very satisfied and relieved to have the extra financial help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you have to be to claim a senior homeowners grant in Ontario?
You must be at least 65 years old to claim a senior homeowners grant in Ontario.
Receiving a government grant for home renovation doesn’t have to be a headache and a frustrating process. As long as you know the eligible criteria, like needing to be over 65 years of age, and having someone help you through the process, like a friend or grandchild, can help immensely.
What are your thoughts on home renovation grants in Ontario for seniors? Let us know in the comments below!
- Statistics Canada (2000.) Homeowner Repair and Renovation Survey. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75f0010x/4060207-eng.htm#:~:text=Homeowners%20in%20Ontario%20and%20British,average%20of%20%241%2C240%20per%20household.
- City of Ottawa (2023.) Ontario Renovates Program. Retrieved from: https://ottawa.ca/en/family-and-social-services/housing/ontario-renovates-program/homeowner#section-3e667fd5-f1ec-497d-9aa7-b07bcf443d24