Since 2010, the Toronto Green Standard (TGS) Development Charge Refund Program offers a partial refund on development charges paid, for verified Tier 2, 3 or 4 sustainable and high performance development projects. Certified development projects are profiled by the City of Toronto for their high achievements. The program is administered by the Environmental Planning Office in the City Planning Division.
In August 2022, City Council approved an increase in the Development Charge Refund Incentive to accelerate greater uptake of the higher Tiers of the Toronto Green Standard, to achieve net zero emissions sooner than 2030. This is great news for high performing projects and for the planet. The TGS will result in over 30 MT of cumulative avoided GHG emissions by 2050.
All projects must demonstrate the minimum achievement of Tier 1 and 2 levels of the Toronto Green Standard in order to be eligible for the Development Charge Refund program. Tier 1 is verified through Site Plan Approvals. Tier 2, 3 and 4 are third-party verified and certified by a Registered Project Evaluator with the City of Toronto.
Applicants must apply to the program by completing the Development Charge Refund Application and Estimate forms and submitting the forms to Environmental Planning for review and acceptance prior to the issuance of the Notice of Approval Conditions (NOAC) as part of site plan approvals. To discuss your project and obtain a copy of the most current Development Charge Refund Application forms, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW: Section 415(7) of the 2022 Development Charges Bylaw includes a new sunset provision for applications made to the DC Refund program under the prior TGS version in effect. A partial refund on development charges may be given for meeting the Tier 2, Tier 3 or Tier 4 requirements of the prior version of the Toronto Green Standard Program, only where such application has been approved by the City within 1 year of the in effect date of the most recent Council approved Toronto Green Standard. This means that applications made to the program under TGS Version 3 for example, must be made and accepted by Environmental Planning by May 2023, one year after TGS Version 4 came into effect for new planning applications.
Tier 2, TGS Version 3 requires the completion of all Core categories plus the selection of three (3) Optional performance measures selected from any category. Tier 3 and 4 performance measures are exchangeable and replace the same Tier 2 performance measures. Projects must select three (3) measures in total from Tier 3 or 4.
For projects under TGS Version 4, all Tier 2 or 3 requirements are Core and must be met and third-party verified.
Complete the applicable High Performance Checklist to ensure all performance measures are being met and documented for third party review. Third party review occurs at two stages: 50% construction drawings stage and Occupancy stage, using a combination of issued for construction drawings and reports, declaration templates and on-site inspections. The third party evaluator works with the design team to document higher levels of TGS performance compliance for the DC Refund.
The authority for the Toronto Green Standard Development Charge (DC) Refund program is provided by the City of Toronto Council adopted DC By-law in effect. The City’s DC rates and the Tier 2 cap may be amended from time to time due to an amendment to the DC Bylaw.
Contact must be made with the Environmental Planning Office of the City Planning Division to qualify projects for eligibility to enroll in the DC Refund program as early as possible and prior to issuance of the Notice of Approval Conditions (NOAC) for site plan approval (SPA).
Once accepted, the application to enroll in the Toronto Green Standard DC Refund program is valid for a period of 1 year from the date of the issuance of the Notice of Approval Conditions (NOAC) from the City Planning Division. If all required Development Charges are not paid and the applicable Above-grade Building Permit is not issued within 1 year from the date of issuance of the NOAC from the City Planning Division, the application is no longer valid.
Payment of fees for third party verification is made directly to the third party project evaluators selected by the applicant. The City of Toronto takes no responsibility for the level of service provided.
Tier 2, 3 and 4 performance verification is the role of third-party project evaluators, registered with the City of Toronto. Evaluators must declare no conflict of interest, whether direct or indirect, that could affect their ability to objectively review the project being verified.
The project evaluator must be retained on the project by 50 percent construction documentation stage. Verification is a two-stage process that includes: a review of the construction drawings and specifications and a site inspection at Occupancy stage. The Verification Report is submitted to the satisfaction of City Planning, preferably with 3 to 6 months of occupancy and within 5 years from the date that DCs were payable to the City. If the report is deemed satisfactory, the applicable development charge refund will be issued.
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Discuss your intent to pursue Tier 2 or higher levels of sustainable performance and the Development Charge Refund Program with the community planner on the file and contact the Environmental Planning Office directly, that administers the DC Refund program at: email@example.com. Indicate Tier 2, 3 or 4 on the TGS Checklist submitted with your planning application. The Environmental Planning office reviews Tier 2, 3 or 4 planning submissions and comments on Tier 1 compliance to qualify the project to enroll into the program.
Address any Tier 1 compliance requirements in your site plan application and update the TGS Checklist and Statistics. Complete the applicable High Performance Checklist for TGS Version 4 Tier 2, 3 or 4 projects in full and submit it with the application to enroll into the incentive program in Step 3. Discuss any technical or program questions with Environmental Planning.
Prior to the issuance of the Notice of Approval Conditions (NOAC), complete the Development Charge Refund Application and Estimate forms, and submit the forms to Environmental Planning for review and qualification to enroll in the program. Environmental Planning will issue written correspondence advising the applicant of enrolment. For a copy of the most current Development Charge Refund Application Form and Estimate Form email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select and retain a third party consultant/evaluator from the Project Evaluator List by 50% construction drawings documentation stage. The retained consultant will provide guidance to achieving certification following a two-stage verification review. They will complete the City’s Verification Report templates and submit the completed report to Environmental Planning within five (5) years of the date that DCs were payable to the City. The Tier 2 Verification Report includes the third party reviewer’s supplementary photos, plans, reports and declaration forms in support of Tier 2 compliance and recommends certification to the City.
Environmental Planning reviews the Verification Report submission. Once all proof of compliance documentation is determined to be satisfactory, a request for refund is issued and processed and a refund cheque is awarded to the applicant. The refund amount is calculated based on the Tier 2, 3 and 4 cap rates in accordance with the DC Bylaw and rates in effect on the date of processing the refund.
Environmental Planning will contact the applicant or their agent to request a Profile to post on the City’s website to showcase the project’s achievements. A brushed plaque template is available to certified projects upon request.