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Toronto has two LIC programs, Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) for single family residential, and Hi-rise Retrofit Improvement Support Program (Hi-RIS) for mult-iunit residential buildings.


HELP is the pilot LIC program for single family residential buildings.

  • started in July 2013
  • Funds primarily energy saving retrofits such as insulation and high efficiency HVAC
  • some water saving projects
  • does not fund renewable energy projects
  • capacity to include innovative energy technology in the future

Eligible projects:

o   High efficiency furnace/boiler
o   High efficiency central air conditioner
o   High efficiency water heater
o   Drain water heat recovery system
o   Window or door replacement
o   Air sealing (i.e. weather stripping, caulking)
o   Attic insulation
o   Exterior wall insulation
o   Basement insulation
o   Toilet replacement
o   Heat recovery/energy recovery
o   ventilator

Only improvements recommended by the Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) can be funded.
*can consult with CEA about eligibility of projects not listed above

Applicant eligibility requirements:

o   property tax & utility payments in good standing
o   written consent from mortgage lender if applicable
o   all property owners consent

  • Property owners hire their own auditors and contractors
  • City does not provide list of approved contractors and is not responsible for quality of retrofits
  • loan period 5- 15 years
  • rates 2.5% – 4.25%

Program is funded by:

o   OPA
o   Toronto Atmospheric Fund
o   NRCan
o   Enbridge Gas
o   Toronto Hydro
o   Borrowed from the City’s Working Capital Reserve Fund
(10 000 000 allotted for HELP)

  • Implemented in few neighbourhoods as part of pilot program
    o   Black Creek, lowest Toronto Equity Score, a “Neighbourhood Improvement Area”
    o   Riverdale, many houses built in the 1880s to 1930
    o   Junction/High Park; South Scarborough, Toronto Centre/Beaches
  • Grants available from gas and electric utilities for participants to help cover costs
  • Lump sum payment not acceptable unless paid in full
  • Admin fee to the City: 2% of total requested funding amount

o   Interest is not compounded on this charge; payment spread out over the term

  • Max funding: requested funding + interest + admin fee to not exceed 5% of CVA (current value assessment)


  • 3 year pilot program; no location limits
  • Loan period up to 20 years
  • Useful life of improvements must be min 5 years
  • terms: 5- 20 years in increments of 5 years, 2.5 – 4.5%
  • Term cannot exceed useful life of proposed improvement
  • Max financing 5% of CVA
  • Admin charge 0.8%
  • Eligibility:
    o   All criteria under HELP met
    o   Property must comply with the program’s energy assessment criteria
  • Funds improvements in:
    o   Building envelope (insulation, air sealing, etc.)
    o   Mechanical equipment upgrades
    o   Water fixtures
  • Property owners hire their own auditors and contractors
  • Owners cannot raise rent above limit in Residential Tenancies Act
  • Complete lump sum allowed
  • Must enroll in Pre-Authorized Payment Plan
  • If in a residential building with multiple owners, all owners must agree with improvements

Application process: 

LIC HELP process

  • Funding disbursements happen at Stages 3 and 4
  • Stage 3 optional 10% disbursement for materials and securing a contractor
  • Stage 4 all funding disbursed after post-retrofit assessment and completion of Project Completion Report
  • Post-retrofit assessment paid by owner–not covered under program
  • rebates available from Enbridge
  • Turn-around time 5-7 days for pre-qualification processing

In case of default (from CHEERIO program design report):

  • property lien placed on property
  • seize and liquidate through tax sale the defaulted property
  • mortgage loan insurance protects lenders
  • mortgage lenders: only delinquent amount on assessment is due

Final notes:

  • no savings-investment ratio (SIR) assessment needed
  • not a grant, so low-threshold on cost-effectiveness
  • initial audit helps to ensure enerGUIDE score will improve
  • So far good support and interest
  • Partnered up with neighbourhood associations to raise awareness and facilitate workshops on the program
  • held info sessions with contractors encouraging them to offer this program to clients