The City of Montreal is planning to stop using oil burning furnaces in its municipal housing units.

Eventually, this is expected to become a ban on oil furnaces for all Montrealers.

The move comes a few months after the city banned wood-burning stoves.

Oil delivery companies, like family-owned “L’Huile Bertrand” in Laval, say that the demand for oil has been steadily decreasing through the years.

“We used to be with the school board to supply the oil – the heating oil for the school – and now they are all converted to electric or natural gas,” Bertrand explained.

In Montreal, it’s estimated that six per cent of households still use oil for heart.

In Bertrand’s view, this is one reason why the city shouldn’t be regulating the market.

“It’s only a little margin that is still heating oil, so with time, the natural change is going to be done,” he said.

The city, however, says it wants the change done faster.

Last week at the Executive Committee meeting, Jean-Francois Parenteau said the plan is to heat all city buildings with natural gas by 2021. Of the 542, there are 13 left to be converted.

Parenteau says, according to a city report, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 36 per cent because fewer people heat with oil in Montreal.

The goal is to decrease gas emissions by 85 per cent between now and 2021.

Unusually cold weather last year prompted a spike in oil consumption, resulting in an oil shortage. An indication, says Bertrand, that some people with dual heating systems rely on oil during a cold snap.

The Landlords’ Association told CTV Montreal that most buildings heated by oil in the city are occupied by tenants, and says the change could force landlords to increase rents to cover the high cost of changing equipment.

It calls the proposed change more political than environmental.