High-rise Retrofit Improvement Support (Hi-RIS) is made possible through an amendment to the provincial regulation regarding local improvement charges. A local improvement charge is a municipal financing tool traditionally used to help cover the costs of local infrastructure improvements (e.g. street lights, sidewalks for a particular street). The amendment allows municipalities to advance funding to consenting private property owners to cover the cost of undertaking building improvements that provide energy efficiency and water conservation benefits.

View the City Council decision and staff report regarding the program.

View the most recent City Council approved changes and staff report on the program.

View more information about the LIC regulatory amendment.

A property owner can apply to the Program and, based on the building eligibility and an energy assessment (energy audit), enter into an agreement with the City to undertake building improvements that reduce energy and water consumption. Once the work is completed, the City places a special charge on the property equal to the cost of the improvements, plus the cost of borrowing and a charge reflecting the administrative costs incurred by the City.

The property owner then pays the special charge on the property tax bill over an agreed term which reflects the useful life of the improvements. Available financing terms range from 5 to 20 years. Through the Program, the payment obligation attaches to the property, not the owner, and is secured by the City’s priority lien status. If a property changes ownership, the new owner would assume the obligation to the City and continue to make payments until the special charge is fully paid.

  • The property must be a residential rental apartment building of 3 storeys or more located in the City of Toronto
  • All registered owner(s) of a property must consent to participating in the Program.
  • Property taxes, utility bills and all other payments obligations to the City for the past five years must be in good standing.

Property owners must also ensure that they comply with obligations to financial institutions or other lenders who have a mortgage interest in the property. This may necessitate obtaining independent legal and financial advice with respect to participation in the Program.  Participating properties must complete and submit the required program application forms and provide an energy assessment (energy audit) that meets the qualifying criteria.

Program Applications Forms

  1. Expression of Interest
  2. Funding Request Form
  3. Project Completion Form

Qualifying improvements include:

  • Building envelope: window/balcony door replacements, window/door caulking, exterior wall cladding, solar air heating systems, insulated roofing, and more
  • Mechanical system: boilers, booster pumps, building automation systems, make-up air units, garage exhaust fan & CO controls, heat/energy recovery ventilators, heat pumps, cooling system upgrades, and more
  • Water fixtures: low flow/ultra-low flow toilets
  • Renewable energy: solar photovoltaics, geothermal heating and cooling and more
  • Lighting: LED lighting systems and controls
  • Any measure that provides energy efficiency or water conservation benefits

All improvements that receive funding through the Program must be identified in an Energy Assessment (energy audit) Report that meets the qualifying criteria. If you are not certain if the improvements you are considering would qualify for funding under the Program, please the Tower Renewal Office at tower@toronto.ca.

The special charge on the property is calculated as the sum of three parts:

  1. Funding Amount (i.e. final project cost for energy and water improvements)
  2. Cost of Borrowing (i.e. the City’s notional cost of borrowing to fund the Program charged through the Program interest rates noted below)
  3. Administrative charge (i.e. a charge that reflects the City’s cost of administering the Program)

The administrative charge for the multi-residential stream of the Program is 0.8%. This charge will be calculated on the final funding amount and billed over the term.

The maximum funding amount for any property cannot exceed 10 per cent of the property’s Current Value Assessment (CVA), up to a maximum of $2 million per building. The CVA for your property can be found on the City of Toronto property tax bill. If your property meets the program eligibility criteria, the City will calculate the maximum allowable funding amount for a 5, 10, 15 and 20 year term and provide this information to you in a Notice to Proceed letter, after reviewing the Expression of Interest forms.

Program interest rates are annual interest rates and shall remain fixed for the duration of the term. For Hi-RIS, terms of 5 to 20 years are available. Please note that the agreed term for any property will not extend beyond the useful life of the qualifying improvements.

Program interest rates shown for each of the terms in the table below are valid until December 31, 2017 and may be subject to change thereafter.

Term Annual Interest Rate
5 years 2.00%
10 years 2.75%
15 years 3.50%
20 years 3.75%

  • Above Guideline Rent Increase Restriction: Property owners must agree not to apply for any rent increases above the guideline as identified in the Residential Tenancies Act in connection with any improvements funded through the Program.
  • Early pay-out: Property owners have an option to make a one-time payment of the full special charge amount to clear an outstanding balance in advance of the completion of the agreed term.
  • Pre-Authorized Payment Plan: Participating property owners are required to enrol in the City’s payment program whereby property owners authorize automatic withdrawals from a bank account 11 times per calendar year to pay the property tax bill.