Tower & Neighbourhood Revitalization Unit


High-rise Retrofit Improvement Support Program (Hi-RIS)

The High-rise Retrofit Improvement Support Program (Hi-RIS) is a pilot program now offered by the City of Toronto to help residential property owners pursuing energy and water efficiency and conservation improvements. The multi-residential stream of the Program has a $10 million funding envelope with a participation target of approximately 10 buildings.

For information about the Single-family Residential Program click here.


Program Overview


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 energy and water improvements.

To view the City Council decision and staff report regarding the Program, please click here.

More information about the LIC regulatory amendment can be accessed here.

ExpandHow Hi-RIS Works

Participation in the Program is voluntary.  A property owner can apply to the Program and, based on the qualifying criteria, enter into an agreement with the City to undertake certain energy and water improvements. 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 for a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 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 and continue to make payments until the special charge is fully paid.

More details on the Program application process can be found here.

ExpandWhy Participate in Hi-RIS

Property owners would be attracted to this Program for a number of reasons:

  1. Property owners pay for energy efficiency and water conservation improvements over time.
  2. The funding of the project does not tie-up other traditional sources of capital.
  3. Competitive interest rates and longer repayment terms in comparison to traditional financing options (i.e. line of credit).
  4. Because the payment obligation is attached to the property, and not the owner, the benefits and costs of the obligation are assumed by a new owner, if the property is sold.
  5. Property owners will be able to hire their own energy auditor and retrofit contractors.


ExpandMulti-residential Stream Eligibility Criteria

  • The property must be a residential building of 5 storeys or more located in the City of Toronto. Properties that have multiple single owners such as condominiums will not be eligible for the Program without commitment from all property owners;
  • All registered owner(s) of a property must consent to participating in the Program; and
  • Property tax, utility bills and all other payment 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 also comply with the Program energy assessment criteria and complete and submit the required program application forms.

Expression of Interest Form (PDF)

Funding Request Form (PDF)

Project Completion Report (PDF)

ExpandQualifying Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Improvements

Qualifying improvements include:

  • Building envelope: such as insulation upgrades, air sealing, exterior cladding
  • Mechanical system: such as boiler upgrades & replacement, bi-level lighting in parking garages, hot water circulation pump controls
  • Water fixtures: such as low-flow toilets

All improvements that receive funding though the Program must be identified in an Energy Assessment Report that meets the Program criteria. The Program energy assessment criteria can be found here. If you are not certain if the improvements you are considering would qualify for funding under the Program, please contact the Program Manager at tower@toronto.caor 416 397 5257.

Improvements that are not permanently affixed to the property or improvements with an expected useful like of less than 5 years would not be eligible for the Program.  The City makes no guarantees of the materials, performance, cost-effectiveness or any warranty of the measures supported by the Program by defining categories of improvements and associated measures.

ExpandHow is the Special Charge Calculated?

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 5 per cent of the property‚Äôs Current Value Assessment (CVA).  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.

ExpandProgram Interest Rates and Terms

Program interest rates are annual interest rates and shall remain fixed for the duration of the term.  For multi-residential buildings, 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, 2015 and may be subject to change thereafter.


Term Annual Interest Rate
5 years 2.5%
10 years 3.75%
15 years 4.25%
20 years 4.50%

ExpandAdditional Program Terms & Conditions

  • 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.


Supporting Information


The Application Process

In order to receive funding under the Hi-RIS, property owners must meet the program eligibility criteria and provide all information required as part of the Program application process.


Criteria for the Energy Assessment Report

As part of the Hi-RIS application process, the City requires property owners to have a building energy assessment (also referred to as an energy audit) completed by a professional certified energy auditor that meets the eligibility criteria 

Helpful Resources


Audit Incentives (Toronto Hydro)

Toronto Hydro offers audit incentives supporting available to property owners undertaking audit analysis.  Read more on how to access these incentives.


Retrofit Incentives (Toronto Hydro)

Toronto Hydro offers support for energy retrofits through three tracks: Prescriptive Engineered and Custom. Read more information here about Toronto Hydro's Retrofit incentives

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Utility Incentives (Enbridge Gas)

Enbridge Gas offers financial incentives and services to help multi-residential buildings become more energy efficient. Details for the 2014 program offerings can be accessed here.