Today, the City of Toronto announced the launch of an enhanced Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) that will offer zero-interest loans and incentives to help Toronto homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient and reduce the emissions contributing to climate change. The HELP program has been offering low-interest loans to homeowners since 2014.
Currently, homes and buildings are the largest sources of emissions in Toronto, generating approximately 57 per cent of total community-wide emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels (natural gas) for heating and hot water.
For a limited time, through the enhanced HELP program, Toronto homeowners will be able to access:
- Zero-interest loans of up to $125,000 for terms of up to 15 years; 20-year terms are available for retrofits that include rooftop solar PV, geothermal, new windows and electric heat pumps.
- Incentives for specific measures including electric heat pumps, which can replace a home’s natural gas furnace and air conditioner; rooftop solar PV and deep retrofits that significantly reduce a home’s emissions.
The Government of Canada provided funding to enhance the program through the Green Municipal Fund, administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), including a loan of up to $9.712 million to fund the zero-interest loans and a grant of up to $4.856 million. A portion of the funds will support the development of training, education and resources for homeowners, contractors and other industry stakeholders, including training for Toronto contractors to become a Net Zero Renovator, qualified by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.
The new zero-interest loans and incentives will be available until the funding allocated for each is fully subscribed, after which homeowners can continue to access low-interest loans.
Home improvements eligible for financing include electric heat pumps, insulation (attic, wall, basement), upgraded windows/doors, air sealing, geothermal systems, rooftop solar PV, tankless water heaters, solar hot water systems, EV charging stations, battery storage and more.
Eligibility has been expanded to include tax-exempt properties (e.g. non-profit homes, supportive housing, rooming houses) in addition to the currently eligible detached, semi-detached, row/townhouses, and duplex and triplex apartment buildings.
Improving the energy efficiency of homes is one of the most substantial things that homeowners can do to help address the climate emergency. The highest impact measures include replacing a home’s furnace with an electric heat pump (which can provide both heating and cooling), insulating from attic to basement and upgrading windows and doors.
In addition to the loans and incentives available through HELP, homeowners may also be eligible for the federal government’s Canada Greener Homes Grant of up to $5,000.
The City’s HELP program supports the goals and objectives of the City’s TransformTO Net Zero climate action strategy, which set Toronto on a path to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero by 2040, and its Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy which recognizes the need to transform housing. The accelerated climate strategy was adopted by Toronto City Council in December 2021. Toronto’s net zero target is one of the most ambitious in North America. The HELP program has supported 245 home retrofit projects since it was launched in 2014.
The City’s BetterHomesTO program further supports homeowners with a one-stop website with information about a range of home energy improvements – everything from air sealing and windows to insulation, heat pumps, green roofs and rooftop solar – including tips on what to look for when purchasing, cost estimates, and a list of all of the incentives and rebates available from all sources.
“Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings will be key to reaching our net zero target by 2040 and advancing our TransformTO Net Zero climate strategy. Ongoing investment and action from all levels of government will be required to address the climate crisis and I thank the federal government and FCM for this funding. I encourage Toronto homeowners to take advantage of HELP financing and incentives, as well as the federal Greener Homes grant, to make their homes much more efficient and reduce the emissions that are changing our climate.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Improving energy efficiency and decarbonizing our homes is one of the biggest things that homeowners can do to help address the climate emergency. It will also create a better, more resilient future for our city. I encourage all homeowners to make a plan to improve their homes and explore the loans and incentives available through City’s HELP program and other sources.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“Today’s $14.5 Million investment will enable the City of Toronto to build on the Home Energy Loan Program’s (HELP) legacy of retrofitting hundreds of homes, in line with Toronto and Canada’s ambitious climate targets. This is a tangible step towards bringing energy efficiency, job creation, and affordability to communities across Ontario and Canada.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources
“It’s critically important to have everyone in the climate fight. Municipalities across Canada are doing their part with innovative solutions that create jobs and climate resilience. Green infrastructure investments in Canadian communities will make our air cleaner, our economy stronger, and set us on the path to a net-zero future.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Energy-efficient homes are more affordable to heat and cool, while reducing emissions and allowing us to adapt to our changing climate. We are working as a partner to our cities to help Canadians make their homes more energy-efficient. “
– Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth
“Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change and climate action, and communities of all sizes are showing climate leadership at a time when we need it most. The Green Municipal Fund empowers them to get results on the ground. We deliver results with our federal partners – supporting cities like Toronto build a greener, more sustainable community, create jobs and helping Canadians make their homes more comfortable and affordable. Together, we are on the path to net zero.”
– Taneen Rudyk, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities