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An Ontario homeowner shows off his energy-efficient heating system in September of 2008.

Glenn Lowson

The Conservative government is preparing to announce that any Canadian who wants to apply for a rebate under its EcoEnergy retrofit program to make homes more efficient will have to have an evaluation of their home's energy use conducted by midnight tonight, a Liberal MP says.

The office of Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis confirmed that there would be an announcement at 5 pm but would not give the details.

"They are saying they are not killing it since it still technically goes until March, 2011," Liberal MP David McGuinty said. "But if you haven't got your energy audit done by tonight at midnight, you are out of luck. There is not rebate for you. It's a completely arbitrary date. We have never heard this date before."

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The government is announcing the end of the program at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday, after most people would have had a chance to get an evaluation done before the deadline, he said.

The federal budget released on March 4 promoted the program. "Due to unprecedented demand under the ecoEnergy Retrofit - Homes program, the Government is allocating a further $80-million to support additional retrofits by Canadian homeowners," said the budget documents.

The program stipulated that a post retrofit audit had to be completed by March 31, 2011, but did not give homeowners a deadline for the initial application. Conducted in concert with the provinces, it pays up to $5,000 to help reduce energy use.

"Here is what has really happened," Mr. McGuinty said. "Demand tripled since 2007."

(File photo: Glenn Lowson for The Globe and Mail)

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