Following Australia's initiative to phase out the sale of “traditional” incandescent light bulbs by 2010, Ontario, Canada's Ministry of Energy recently announced plans to ban the sale of inefficient light bulbs by 2012.

“By making this one small change, we can all make an enormous difference in the way we use electricity,” said Energy Minister Dwight Duncan.

Efficient lighting, such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), use approximately 75% less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs. According to the Canadian government, six million megawatt hours can be saved annually by replacing the estimated 87 million incandescent bulbs in Ontario households with CFLs — enough energy to power 600,000 homes.

“Ontarians can and will do their part to fight climate change, starting with something as simple as changing a light bulb,” said Environment Minister Laurel Broten. “This is an important day for Ontario's environment. This action alone represents a huge step forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions — it's the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road.”

Effective immediately, the Ontario government will only purchase energy-efficient light bulbs for its own buildings. In addition, the Minister of Energy will meet with industry, U.S. regulators, and federal and provincial governments to develop new performance standards for lamps and to draft regulations to ban the sale of inefficient light by 2012 where alternatives exist in the market.

Exceptions to the ban include the use of incandescent bulbs in fields such as medicine.