Montreal will soon join a growing number of Canadian cities next fall to ban gas-powered systems in new construction builds.
The city's executive committee Wednesday morning approved a ban on residential gas-powered stoves, indoor gas fireplaces, and hot water heaters and furnaces that emit greenhouse gases, starting October 1, 2024. It also includes barbecues and pool or spa heaters that draw from gas lines.
The regulation will apply to new residential buildings up to three storeys high and 600 square metres in area, with a similar ban expected for larger buildings six months later.
Montreal city council said the measure will help them reach carbon neutrality by 2050, noting buildings account for one fourth of their greenhouse gas emissions.
On May 30, Vancouver city council also tabled a motion to bar natural gas stoves and fireplaces in new homes and condos, as part of their aim to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. Councillor Adriane Carr then claimed natural gas is a "threat for health, especially children and our planet."
The province said about 87% of its electricity comes from hydroelectric sources. As of 2019, natural gas provided about 4% of its total energy.
Instead, councillors aligned the motion’s language to Vancouver’s building bylaw with the new provincial government Zero Carbon Step Code.
"The Zero Carbon Step Code provides tools for local governments to encourage or require lower emissions in new buildings. Together, the changes meet commitments in the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 to gradually lower emissions from buildings until all new buildings are zero carbon by 2030 and are net-zero energy ready by 2032," reads a government release.
Effective May 1, 2023, the B.C. Building Code required 20% better energy efficiency for most new buildings throughout the province.
In March, Victoria City council debated a ban on gas ovens and heating for rezoned developments after several city councillors proposed a motion to remove natural gas alternatives.
"We are in a climate emergency," reads the motion. "Victoria has targets for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, and it will be difficult to hit those targets."
Victoria bylaws articulate that rezoning is required when a new development proposal fails to meet the area's existing use and density requirements. The city currently has 93 rezoning applications for residential buildings near its harbour, independent senior rental apartments in the downtown core and other developments.
As of 2025, Victoria will no longer permit the construction of housing heated by natural gas, after implementing a gas prohibition for new homes last August.
"About 40% of GHG emissions in Victoria are from buildings," said the motion. "Installing GHG-producing systems in new buildings will lock in decades of GHG emissions or require far-more-expensive retrofits later."