#FinancialFridays: Changes to LEAP (Low-income Energy Assistance Program)

Francesca here.

On February 12th we received the following communication from the Ontario Energy Board.

LEAP is the Ontario-wide program that assists people with arrears for electricity and natural gas utility companies.

Here are some of the highlights that take effect on March 1st, 2024

  • Income eligibility will now match the OESP income eligibility (grid below)
  • The maximum electricity and natural gas grants will be increased from $500 to $650
  • The maximum grant for those heating with electricity will be increased from $600 to $780
  • Distributors CANNOT run out of money – this will impact Westario Power locally as they tend to run out late summer or early fall – more when we confirm and understand what their plan is

The good news is anyone who got LEAP in January and February of this year can get a top-up from $500 to $650 or from $600 to $780 after March 1st.

Income change details:

Other things to know:


If you qualify for the OESP with your current income, but you didn’t qualify with last year’s income, we can help with a “manual income verification” application. If you qualified for the OESP last year and your taxes are up to date, you can do the application yourself here. If you need computer help, your local library might be able to help you.

If you need your current income to be the threshold, then give us a call and make an appointment with Karen to do the application – 519-376-1560.

Disconnection Ban and LEAP applications

Ends May 1st, but it can take 3 weeks to process a LEAP application, so if you are in arrears, start your application in early April – call LEAP at 1-855-487-5327 – try and avoid lunchtime, their phone lines can get overloaded at lunch.

For Westario Power you need to call Bruce County Housing at 1-800-265-3022. They do service ALL of Westario Power clients, regardless of the County you reside in.


We try and keep 211 updated on all of these changes and all of the programs. So if you’re not sure about which program can help with what utility, give 211 a call. Our “Turning Over Stones” guide to supportive programs also has a lot of good information. We are currently updating it with this new information.

Your United Way

I (Francesca here) sit on the Ontario Energy Board’s Financial Working Group (FAWG) and we bring a lot of the challenges our clients experience to that table. We also see the solutions in these types of changes to programs. We are also involved with the Low-Income Energy Network (LEIN) an advocacy group for energy issues.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of scams out in the community right now around energy programs. If you are not sure if it is real or not, or if you have the right program, call 211 and they can help. None of the legit programs have urgent screaming deadlines, so if you’re getting high-pressure sales, back off and ask for time to look into things.