Homeowners across the country have been asking for support to offset the cost of reducing radon in their homes. Finally, some provinces and regions are offering grants that help cover the costs of radon mitigation for families.
Radon gas can cause serious health problems in Canada.
“Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and if you smoke the combined risk is even higher. The only way to determine if your home has high levels of radon is to test. We encourage people in Canada to test their homes for radon as soon as possible and take action to reduce levels if necessary,” said Lynn Murad, senior specialist cancer prevention with the Canadian Cancer Society.
Testing is important because radon is a colorless, odourless, tasteless gas, but testing is only the first step for prevention. The federal government recommends installing a radon mitigation system if a home tests above 200 Bq/m3.
“Testing for radon is inexpensive and easy to do, however reducing radon is really what reduces cancer risk,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol, an associate professor of health science at SFU, “anything that supports mitigation is a move in the right direction.”
Radon mitigation systems are very effective at reducing radon levels. When installed by a C-NRPP professional, systems will be properly sized for the home making them energy efficient. Installation is straightforward and can generally be completed in a day. However, the costs can be burdensome. According to research conducted across the country, the average installation cost is approximately $3,000.
There are glimmers of hope for those with high radon levels, as long-awaited funding initiatives emerge. Grants to offset the cost of radon mitigation are now available and Health Canada recently released radon action guides detailing how new grants and support can be provided through government programming.
The Lung Association, Manitoba offers up to $1,500 for mitigation to low to moderate income families and those fighting lung cancer through their Lungs Matter program, funded in part by the Take Action on Radon initiative. This is particularly welcome in Manitoba as residents have known since the early 1990s that the province has some of the highest radon levels in Canada.
“I am grateful to have received the grant, and I only wish I had known more about radon years ago. That might have prevented my lung cancer through mitigation.” said Corie Haslbeck, a Lungs Matter grant recipient who’s currently fighting stage 4 lung cancer.
“This is a good first step and an important one towards making lasting change,” said Pam Warkentin, executive director of the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, “the program also provides a model that other provinces could easily adopt to get people installing systems.”
Although the Lungs Matter program started in Manitoba, the Canadian Lung Association is proud to announce that a matching program is now available for people across Canada. The application can be found through the Canadian Lung Association’s website. https://www.lung.ca/lungs-matter-radon-mitigation-support “We need to do everything possible to reduce the risk of lung cancer, so fewer families are affected by this debilitating disease. People also need to feel safe in their homes, so we are very pleased to be working with Take Action on Radon and launching this important initiative”, said Terry Dean, President and CEO of the Canadian Lung Association.
Saskatchewan Lung provides reimbursement of a maximum $500* for radon mitigation costs through their Caring Breaths Financial Assistance Program, a new program that became available during the pandemic. In British Columbia, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan gave $500 grants out through a pilot program in that region. “After testing confirmed high radon gas levels in some Okanagan homes, we partnered with Take Action on Radon to help residents that chose to make changes to their home.” Nancy Mora Castro, Central Okanagan Air Quality program coordinator.
Ontario has a slightly different approach that covers the entire cost of the radon mitigation system for new home buyers. The Tarion Warranty provides coverage for all new homes within the first 7 years of construction. This makes testing a home in Ontario something all new buyers should capitalize on. The warranty covers all the costs, homeowners just need to provide a report from a test for radon using a long-term test by hiring a C-NRPP Measurement Professional or using a radon testing kit from a lab certified through C-NRPP.
“For the last five years, we have helped people test their homes in communities across Canada. One of the first questions people ask is what support is there to help with reducing radon levels? If feels incredible to finally point to funding resources. In the three Manitoba communities we are working with this fall, we feel confident that those who need to fix their homes will be able to do so, sooner rather than later,” said Erin Curry, who promotes the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge, a community testing program through Take Action on Radon.
About Take Action on Radon
Take Action on Radon is a national initiative that works to bring together radon stakeholders and raise radon awareness across Canada. The initiative is led by the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST) and the Canadian Cancer Society.