Eligible residential building owners can access financing to increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve tenant comfort through Hi-RIS.
The High-Rise Retrofit Improvement Support Program (Hi-RIS) program makes low-cost financing available for owners of residential apartment buildings built before 1990 of three or more storeys to make improvements that reduce energy and water consumption.
Hi-RIS is made possible through an amendment to the provincial regulation regarding local improvement charges, which are municipal financing tools used to help cover the costs of local infrastructure improvements, such as streetlights or sidewalks. The amendment allows municipalities to advance funding to consenting private property owners to cover the cost of building improvements that improve energy efficiency and water conservation.
Learn more about the Hi-RIS Application Process.

A property owner can apply to the Program and, based on the building eligibility and an energy assessment (ASHRAE Level 2 or above), 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 five 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. 

Through the Hi-RIS Program, building owners can: 

  • pay for building improvements over time, using associated energy, water and operational savings to offset costs
  • access lower interest rates and choose a fixed repayment term of five-, 10-, 15- or 20-years
  • hire their preferred energy auditors and contractors

To be eligible for the Hi-RIS Program: 

  • The property must be a residential rental apartment building built before 1990 of three or more storeys in the City of Toronto.
  • All registered owner(s) of a building 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.
  • Building 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.
  • Building owners must complete and submit the required program application forms and provide an energy assessment report (ASHRAE Level 2 or above) that meets the qualifying criteria. 

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 panels, 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 report (ASHRAE Level 2 or above) that meets the qualifying criteria.

The Special Charge on the property is the total of the following three costs:

Cost Description
Funding Amount Final project cost for energy and water improvements
Cost of Borrowing The City’s notional cost of borrowing to fund the Program charged through the Program interest rates noted below
Administrative Charge Covers the City’s cost of administering the Program. The administrative charge for the multi-residential stream of the Program is 0.8 per cent. 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 $2.5 million per building. The CVA for a property can be found on the City of Toronto property tax bill. If a property meets the program eligibility criteria, the City will calculate the maximum allowable funding amount for a five-, 10-, 15- and 20-year term and provide this information in a Notice to Proceed letter, after reviewing the Expression of Interest forms. 

Hi-RIS provides financing with up to 20-year terms at the competitive fixed rates. Please contact Tower Renewal staff for current interest rates. 

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 enroll 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.