Ontario ranked 3rd in Canada’s first Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard, earning 47 points out of 100.

Energy Efficiency Programs See All

Energy efficiency programs secure energy savings through various strategies such as audits, retrofits, training for building tradespeople, “people-centred” or behavioural efficiency strategies, and customized industrial programs.

Energy Efficiency Program Administration


Electricity “Conservation and Demand Management (CDM)” programs operated under the Conservation First Framework between 2015 and 2019. 

Under this framework, Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) had responsibility for program administration under their licenses, and were responsible for developing individuals plans to meet their share of provincial energy saving targets. The IESO coordinated CDM activities and designed and delivered programs under the “Save on Energy” brand, and also administered programs for transmission-connected customers under the Industrial Accelerator Program.

Under the 2016 Energy Statute Law Amendment Act the government replaced IESO power system planning processes with a Long-Term Energy Plan developed by the Ministry of Energy. This plan is not subject to approval by the Ontario Energy Board.

A Ministerial Directive issued on March 20th, 2019, prematurely ended the CFF (it was supposed to run until 2020) and replaced it with an 'Interim Framework', which centralized administration of programs by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). In September 2020, a new 2021-2024 framework was defined in another Ministerial Directive.  Programs will continue to be administed by the IESO.

Natural Gas
Natural gas “Demand Side Management” (DSM) programs are administered by distribution utilities, principally Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas. On January 1, 2019 these two companies joined to become Enbridge Gas Inc. DSM programs are overseen by the Ontario Energy Board. Natural gas programs are currently delivered under the 2015-2020 Demand Side Management Framework. The Ontario Energy Board is developing the post-2020 framework.

The Green Ontario Fund (a government economic development corporation) administered energy conservation programs to be largely funded through cap and trade revenues. The first program was launched in August 2017. In July 2018 a new government announced all programs would be closed, and programs were wound down later that year.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Energy Efficiency Targets

Electricity savings targets under the “interim framework” operating from April 1, 2019 – Dec 31, 2020 targets 1.4 TWh in energy savings and 189 MW in demand savings. The annual electrical energy savings target is equal to about 0.6% of sales, and represents roughly half of previous budgets and savings targets.

Previously, under Ontario’s Conservation First Framework for 2015-2020 targets 7 TWh of cumulative annual electricity savings from programs operated by local distribution companies and 1.7 TWh of cumulative annual savings from large industrial transmission-connected customers. Ontario’s 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan targets 30 TWh of cumulative annual electricity savings in 2032, estimated to offset almost all forecast growth in electricity demand.

Natural Gas
Under the 2015-2020 Demand Side Management plan, the Ontario Energy Board adjusts annual targets based on the previous years’ cost-effectiveness (see Board's Decision EB-2015-0029/49).

Last reviewed: August 2019

Energy Efficiency as a Resource

The Ministry of Energy creates Long-Term Energy Plans under the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016. The latest plan was released in October 2017.

Ontario can also engage in Regional Energy Planning, which brings transmitters, distributors, and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) together to identify solutions to regional electricity needs. Regional plans have been completed for 21 electricity regions in Ontario. An IESO led scoping process can lead to an Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP).

In 2013, Ontario released a Conservation First Vision, calling for investing in conservation before new generation, where cost-effective. This informed the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan which stated that the Ministry of Energy will work with the Ontario Energy Board and its agencies to “put conservation first in their planning, approval and procurement processes” and to put conservation first in distributor planning processes for both electricity and natural gas.

A Ministerial Directive issued on March 21, 2019 discontinued the 2015-2020 Conservation First Framework for electricity, and replaced it with an Interim Framework that centralized DSM programming in the IESO.  A replacement Framework was announced by Ministerial Directive in September 2020 that maintains centralized delivery of DSM programming, and is focused on achieving peak demand reductions.

Natural Gas
A Ministerial Directive in March 2014 (Order in Council 467/2014) instructed the Ontario Energy Board to develop a natural gas Demand Side Management framework to “enable the achievement of all cost-effective DSM … as far as is appropriate and reasonable” (Sect 4(ii)). This directive is still in effect, as the March 21, 2019 Ministerial Directive, indicated that this aspect of the March 2014 Directive “shall remain in full force and effect” (paragraph 5).

The Ontario Energy Board set as a Guiding Principle for the Natural Gas utilities DSM Framework (2015-2020) that utilities plans should:  "Achieve all cost-effective DSM that result in a reasonable rate impact."

Natural gas demand side management considers avoided commodity costs, pipeline costs, storage and facility costs, as well as avoided non-energy costs.  The Ontario Energy Board stated in its 2015-2020 Framework for natural gas demand side management that gas utilities must provide evidence of how DSM has been considered as an alternative to the construction of future infrastructure projects. The natural gas distributors filed a transition plan with the Ontario Energy Board to consider more closely integrating DSM with infrastructure planning. This included pilot studies to consider the impact of DSM on peak demand to avoid new infrastructure.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Efficiency Potential Study and Energy Planning

Potential Study
On September 30, 2019, the IESO and the Ontario Energy Board completed the first integrated electricity and natural gas conservation achievable potential study (2019 APS). The 2019 APS identifies and quantifies energy (electricity and natural gas) and demand savings, GHG emissions reduction, and associated costs from energy efficiency measures for the period of 2019-2038.

Before this, a natural gas potential study was completed in 2016, and an electricity potential study was completed in 2016.

Energy Planning
Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan was completed in 2017. This document is informed by the IESO Planning Outlook, published on September 11, 2016. Forecasts were updated by the IESO during a September 13, 2018 Technical Planning Conference.

In January 2020, the IESO released a 20-year forecast for Ontario's electricity system, the Annual Planning Outlook (APO). The APO includes projected electricity demand, a resource adequacy assessment, transmission considerations, and performance indicators, such as an emissions outlook, and identifies the province's energy and capacity needs.

Enbridge IRP transition plan was submitted to the Ontario Energy Board during the mid-term review. The OEB issued its mid-term review report in November 2018, noting that the transition plan was at an early stage, and called for the utilities to conduct a rigourous evaluation of conservation and energy efficiency.  

Last reviewed: October 2020

Cost-Effectiveness Testing

The Total Resource Cost Test is the principal test for electricity conservation and demand management, applies at the program level. The Program Administrator Cost test is also reported, as well as the Levelized Unit Energy Cost. A 15 per cent benefit adder to the TRC accounts for non-energy benefits. These remain the cost-effectiveness guidelines under the 2019-2020 Interim Framework.

Under the 2015-2020 framework for natural gas utilities programs are screened using the Total Resource Cost-Plus Test, at the program level, which applies a 15% non-energy benefit adder. In the Ontario Energy Board's Mid-Term Review Report, the Board directed the gas utility to add the cost of carbon (i.e. federal price) to the TRC+ cost effectiveness test. The Program Administrator Cost Test is used as a secondary reference.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Evaluation, Measurement and Verification

The IESO conducts impact, process and cost effectiveness evaluation. Impact evaluation aims to verify reported energy and demand savings and to measure free-ridership and spillover attributed to the program.  It consists of conducting site visits, desk reviews and document reviews as well as attribution surveys.  Process evaluation is an empirical examination of program design, development, delivery, and administration. It consists of doing surveys and interviews with program participants, non-participants, contractors, vendors and other key market actors.  Cost effectiveness evaluation determines whether program benefits outweighs the program costs.  It consists of estimating the total resource cost (TRC), program administrative cost (PAC) and levelized unit energy cost (LUEC) of a program. Program evaluation is done in accordance with the IESO EM&V Protocols and requirements. This protocol together with the Evaluation Reports published from 2007 to 2017 are found on the IESO website.

Natural Gas
Ontario Energy Board (OEB) staff coordinate the impact evaluation of DSM programs in Ontario. An Evaluation Contractor (EC) is selected to undertake this work with input and guidance from an Evaluation Advisory Committee comprised of stakeholders and industry experts. A combination of desk reviews and onsite verifications are conducted to verify the savings claimed by the utilities and the corresponding amounts in DSM accounts.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Program Innovation

The Ontario Energy Board launched the OEB Innovation Sandbox, where utilities and other companies in the energy sector can get regulatory advice or seek relief for new ideas, products, services and business models that demonstrate the potential to provide benefit for consumers.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) manages the Grid Innovation Fund, which has supported more than 200 conservation, demand response, energy efficiency and other grid innovation projects since 2005 with an annual budget of $9.5 million.

Enbridge maintains a $6-million Collaboration and Innovation Fund ($1 million per year between 2015-2020), and Legacy Union Gas allocated an annual $500,000 toward a pilot and test fund.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Support for low-income energy efficiency programs

In 2017, as part of the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan, the government launched the Affordability Fund with $100 million in funding from the tax base. The program is overseen by an independent Trust and is designed to provide energy efficiency measures to households who are struggling to pay their electricity bills and who do not qualify for low income conservation programs.

The Conservation First Framework 2015-2020 required that the province’s electricity Local Distribution Companies deliver of portfolio of energy savings programs to various customer sub-segments, including low-income customers. An August 2017 directive from the Minister of Energy required the IESO to design an deliver low-income programs across the province. In March 2019, the IESO received Ministerial directives to wind down the Conservation First Framework and implement the Interim Framework ("IF") over the April 2019 to December 2020 period.

Under IF, the IESO continues to centrally operate a province-wide Home Assistance Program ("HAP") and regionally targeted Indigenous energy efficiency programs. Similar to the CFF low income program, the IF HAP and indigenous programs are not required to pass cost-effectiveness tests.

Natural Gas
Under the 2015-2015 DSM framework Low-income programs by natural gas utilities are screened using a 0.70 benefit-cost threshold, using the TRC test, with a 15% benefit adder. The Board further states that low-income programs not passing this threshold can be proposed and approved on merit. The 2015-2020 DSM framework includes specific low-income targets under the program scorecard, which include energy savings or and project applications.

Natural gas low-income programs include Residential retrofit, Multi-residential retrofit, Indigenous (Legacy Union Gas) and New Construction (Legacy Enbridge Gas).

Last reviewed: October 2020

Enabling Policies See All

Enabling policies refer to policies, regulations, and other activities that build supportive infrastructure and policy frameworks to advance energy efficiency in a province. 

Support for Financing

PACE Finance
PACE or “local improvement charge” financing was enabled in 2012 through Ontario Regulation 586/06. A clause was added to the definition of “work” to include “constructing energy efficiency works or renewable energy works”, and to include the “conservation of water”.

The City of Toronto Act was also amended under O. Reg 323/12 to enable PACE finance.

In March 2014, Toronto launched a pilot PACE program called Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).

Green Bank
The Green Ontario Fund or Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation was originally discussed as a “green bank”, but they did not offer any substantive financing programs before its programs were wound down in late 2018.

The November 2018 Ontario Environment Plan proposes creating the “Ontario Carbon Trust” which will “leverage private investment” and “utilize innovative and financing techniques and market development tools in partnership with the private sector”.

Green Bonds
Ontario, through the Ontario Financing Authority, has issued “green bonds” six times since 2015 totalling $4.7 billion. The bonds have financed 22 energy efficiency projects.

On-Bill Financing
Enbridge Gas was directed to provide “Open Bill Access”. This allows third party companies to use the utility bill to charge for services provided. The program is now called the Enbridge Rate Zone.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Research and Development

Several universities conduct energy efficiency research and development within the province. The IESO manages the Grid Innovation Fund, which supports conservation, demand management, and energy storage projects with an annual budget of $9.5 million. Enbridge also has a Collaboration and Innovation Fund with an annual budget of $1 million. From 2016-2019, 11.5% of energy resource related NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) funds were awarded for energy efficiency

Last reviewed: November 2020

Lead by example

The Ontario government’s Environment Plan, released in November 2018, includes several commitments related to integrating climate change into government decision making.  The plan commits to developing a Climate Change Governance Framework, which will include reporting on climate change measures, procurement changes, continued execution of a high-performance building strategy, investments in energy cost savings such as meeting LEED standards, optimizing office space use, advanced automation and integration to measure, monitor, and control operations and maintenance at the lowest cost, and developing tools to help decision makers better understand climate impacts.

Ontario’s five-year climate change action plan 2016-2020 included a cross government target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2006 levels by 2030, and to develop a strategy to move towards carbon neutrality. The Ontario government’s Environment Plan, released in November 2018, does not re-iterate this targets. It discusses developing a Climate Change Governance Framework, which will include reporting on climate change measures, procurement changes, continued execution of a high-performance building strategy, investments in energy cost savings such as meeting LEED standards, and optimizing office space use.

The Broader Public Service has been required to report on building energy use annually since 2012, originally under O. Reg 397/11 under the Green Energy Act and re-enacted after the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018 passed. 

There is a high-performance building automation strategy for government buildings, noted in the 2018 Environment Plan.

The Environment Plan calls for future renovations of government buildings maximize energy cost savings. For instance, Ontario is building new correctional facilities to meet LEED standards.

Vehicle Fleets
The Ontario government’s Environment Plan notes continued support for purchase of electric ferries, connecting Wolfe and Amherst Islands to the mainland.

The Ontario Environment Plan reports that 70% of its passenger vehicle fleet is comprised of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Grid Modernization

Advanced metering
The government announced a Smart Metering Initiative in April 2004 with a target of complete coverage for all residential and small business ratepayers by 2010. Ontario has completed a full deployment of smart meters  residential and small business customers with demand under 50kW. There are approximately 5 million smart meters in Ontario. By August 21, 2020, all distribution connected customers with monthly average peak demand between 50kW and 500kW must have an interval meter installed, as all those under 50kW were on smart meters and over 500kW were on hourly meters already.

Green Button Standard

The Green Button Standard allows households and businesses access their utility data through energy management tools and applications.

On December 14, 2017 the government passed legislative amendments to the Green Energy Act, 2009 and Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 to enable Ontario to establish a regulatory framework to require electricity and natural gas utilities to implement Green Button and prescribe certification requirements by a deadline through regulation as well as reporting requirements. In addition the amendments gave the Ontario Energy Board authority to enforce Green Button requirements for electricity and natural gas utilities and grant implementation extensions for utilities based on criteria to be set out in regulation. The provisions in the Green Energy Act, 2009 were repealed and re-enacted in the Electricity Act, 1998 through the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2019 on January 1, 2019.

On October 28 2019, “Better for People, Smarter for Business” was released, which included an update that Ontario is exploring potential costs of expanding Green Button – Connect My Data to allow Ontarians to monitor their energy usage and make better choices about it.

Natural Gas

Enbridge Gas Inc. does not presently have an AMI deployment plan in place, but is piloting use of one-way AMI and has a proposal under review with the OEB to deploy an AMI system in various zones throughout the province.

Non-wires alternatives
Local distribution companies are required by the Ontario Energy Board to "When applicable and appropriate, capital and investment planning by regulated entities must demonstrate the consideration and/or adoption of innovative processes, services, business models, and technologies as well as an awareness of innovation and best practices."

The Conservation and Demand Management Requirement Guidelines for Electricity Distributors (EB-2014-0278) provide guidance (section 4.1) on applications for distribution rate funded conservation programs (divided into four classes of programs) to defer distribution infrastructure investments.

Demand Response

IESO procures Demand Response resources for the Bulk Electricity System through annual auctions which are conducted on a zonal basis (Ontario is divided into 10 electricity zones at the bulk-level). LDCs are able to seek Ontario Energy Board funding approval for local (i.e. distribution-level) Demand Response and Energy Efficiency programs where they can demonstrate these programs would be a cost-effective solution to deferring wires investment.

The Interim Framework running from April 1st, 2019 – Dec, 31, 2020 includes a budget for Local Distribution Company programs. The IESO could assign priority to programs that meet local or regional grid needs.

Pilot Projects

The IESO has put out a call for proposals for projects that aim to reduce the electricity demand from indoor agriculture during local and bulk system peak periods, as there is an expected increase in demand from greenhouses in the next 5 years in Ontario.

Toronto Hydro is piloting a rate-funded conservation/demand response (DR) program that is expected to contract close to 12 MW of demand response by its completion in mid 2019. The OEB has approved an additional $4.6 million in spending over the 2020-2024 period for a battery storage project that would defer distribution infrastructure as part of its Station Expansions Program.

The IESO is implementing a pilot project, the IESO York Region Non-Wires Alternative & Interoperability Demonstration, to establish a local market for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) to relieve loading on local network infrastructure during peak periods that is interoperable with IESO-administered wholesale energy market. The project is jointly funded by IESO and the Natural Resources Canada Green Infrastructure Phase II Smart Grid Demonstration and Deployment program.

Natural Gas

The natural gas distributors have filed a transition plan with the Ontario Energy Board to consider more closely integrating DSM with infrastructure planning and DSM as a “non-pipe alternative”. This includes pilot studies to be completed in 2019 to consider the impact of DSM on peak demand to avoid new infrastructure.

Conservation voltage reduction
 In 2014, Hydro Ottawa was supported by the IESO Conservation Fund to run a demonstration project to see if Conservation Voltage Regulation could produce quantifiable electricity savings for customers.

Entegrus is implemeting a voltage regulation system, enabling conservation voltage reduction in the town of Thamesville. Grid Edge Control Devices from Varentec Inc. will be installed to establish an integrated smart grid solution, facilitating high-level grid control and visualization, as well as energy conservation through voltage reduction.

Additional LDCs have implemented VVO/CVR initiatives with funding from the Ministry of Energy Smart Grid Fund, including Entegrus, Hydro One, London Hydro, and EnWin.

Rate design
Most residential and small businesses electricity customers who are on the Regulated Price Plan are charged time of use rates, accounting for about 84% of the total electricity consumption on the RPP. The remainder are billed using inclined tiered rates. Those not on the RPP are billed on the spot electricity market price, or the weighted average hourly spot market price if they don’t have an interval meter. Some of these customers may be eligible for the Industrial Conservation Initiative.

Under the Industrial Conservation Initiative large industries receive incentives to reduce peak electricity demand. The Global Adjustment is charged to eligible consumers on the basis of their share of the total system demand during the highest five peak hours of the year.

The Ontario Energy Board has developed a Regulated Price Plan roadmap. A major element includes the piloting of new pricing and non-price mechanisms.

An OEB report on rate design for Commercial and Industrial customers in an evolving energy sector can be found here. It considers the implications of distribution companies becoming platforms for services such as balancing, power quality, storage, and redistributing power from users connected to their systems.

The Energy Transformation Network of Ontario was originally created as the “Smart Grid Forum” in 2009. The network comprises utility sector, industry associations, public agencies, and universities working together to develop the Smart Grid in Ontario.

The Grid Innovation Fund (formerly the Technology Development Fund and Conservation Fund) has existed since 2005 to support projects that enable customers to better manage their energy consumption or reduce the costs associated with maintaining reliable operation in the province’s grid.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Carbon Pricing

On October 31, 2018, Ontario passed the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act repealing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016 and providing for the wind down of the cap and trade program. Ontario challenged the imposition of the federal carbon pricing backstop in court, arguing that the measure exceeds the power of the federal government, but the court ruled in favour of the federal govenrment.  The province is presently on the federal 'backstop' carbon pricing system. 

In 2019, Ontario implemented an Emissions Performance Standard for its industrial sector, and planned to direct its proceeds towards GHG reductions. In September 2020, the federal government approved the Ontario Emissions Performance Standard as an alternative to federal output-based pricing system, even though the federal government deemed the system weaker than the federal alternative,

Last reviewed: November 2020

Buildings See All

Buildings are a significant and often neglected component of Canada’s infrastructure, and high-performance buildings are important for our quality of life, physical and mental health, and economic productivity

Building Codes

Housing and Small Buildings
The last energy efficiency related update to the Ontario Building Code (regulation under the Building Code Act) related to energy efficiency in housing, known as Supplementary Standard SB-12, came into force on July 7, 2016.

Ontario’s code for low-rise housing is stated to achieve a 15% improvements over previous versions of the code that required a level of efficiency equivalent to an 80 on the EnerGuide scale. The code also allows compliance based on Energy Star v12.1 and R2000 (2012) standards.

To compare against model national codes, the National Research Council of Canada states that the 2012 amendments to the National Building Code is consistent with an Energuide rating “slightly better than 78”, on average.

Large Buildings
The last energy efficiency related update to the Ontario Building Code (regulation under the Building Code Act), known as Supplementary Standard SB-10, related to non-residential buildings was made on December 22, 2016 and came into force on January 1, 2017. Compliance paths under the code are based on ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013, the 2015 National Energy Code for Buildings, and ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2014 related to “green buildings”.

These requirements are stated to achieve, on average, a 13% improvement over the previous code which is stated to be roughly equivalent to Canada’s National Energy Code for Buildings 2011.

To compare against model national codes, software modeling of the National Energy Code for Buildings 2017 standard indicates energy efficiency improvements 10.3% to 14.4% over the NECB 2011.

Stretch or Step Codes
No commitment to a stretch or step code.

Net-zero energy ready commitment
No formal commitment to net-zero energy ready standard.

Ontario’s Five Year Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020 stated that the government intended to update the building code with “long-term energy efficiency targets for new net zero carbon emission small buildings that will come into effect by 2030 at the latest." However, this commitment has not been renewed by the new government’s Environment Plan.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Building Code Compliance

Little information on code compliance activities is available. The buildings codes have traditionally been designed through stakeholder collaboration, which helps facilitate awareness of codes amongst multiple actors. For instance, as part of this process there are meetings with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Building and Development Branch) with organizations that represent municipal building officials.

On September 24, 2019, the Ontario government launched a 60-day public consultation on its proposal to establish an administrative authority that would deliver building regulatory services.

As part of the consultation, the ministry sought preliminary feedback from key stakeholders and the public on a modern suite of building regulatory services, policy frameworks and tools to support compliance with and enforcement of building code requirements.

On March 12, 2020, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing introduced Bill 184, Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020, which included amendments to the Building Code Act, 1992, that would allow for the future creation of an administrative authority to deliver building regulatory services. Ministry work to move building services transformation forward is ongoing. Future consultations with stakeholders are anticipated and no decisions have been made at this time about what services would be delivered by a future administrative authority.

Compliance Tools

  • SB-10 Compliance checklists
  • Comcheck software/ ASHRAE based codes
  • Inclusion of the Ontario Reference House in the HOT2000 software
  • Energy Modelling guidelines

Stakeholder groups

The Ontario Home Builders Association and the Ontario Building Officials Association formed a technical working group to help with consistency of compliance.  Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing staff also participate. 

Last reviewed: August 2020

Home Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory home energy rating and disclosure: No
Home energy labelling voluntary or pilot program: Yes (experience with a pilot project)

Ontario previously enabled mandatory disclosure of energy information prior to the sale of a home under the Green Energy Act, 2009 by creating a right to receive the information, however, the provision was never proclaimed into force. The provision was not reintroduced with the repeal of the Green Energy Act, 2009 in 2018.

The 2012-2014 Enbridge Gas demand side management plan included a “Home labelling” market transformation program, marketed at “Know Your Energy Score”. The program was successful in meeting targets for realtor commitments, but not for actual home listings with energy ratings. The Ontario Energy Board’s decision regarding the 2015-2020 DSM plan did not approve continuation of a home rating program. The OEB recognized the merit of the program, and suggested it should also include electricity savings – recommending that gas utilities work with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ministry of Energy to deliver a program.

The Ontario Environment Plan, released in November 2018, states an intention to “work with the Ontario Real Estate Association to encourage the voluntary display of home energy efficiency information on real estate listings to better inform buyers and encourage energy-efficiency measures.”

Last reviewed: August 2020

Building Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory large building energy rating and disclosure: Yes

Ontario requires annual reporting on water and energy use for commercial, industrial, and multi-residential buildings with more than 10 units and buildings that are 100,000 square ft or larger, with some exemptions. Data must be verified in the first year and every five years and reported through Energy Star Portfolio Manager. July 1, 2018 is the first reporting period for commercial and industrial buildings 250,000 and larger (not including residential buildings), and July 1, 2019 for buildings 100,000 square feet and larger (including multi-unit residential buildings).

July 1, 2020 was the original the deadline for reporting for buildings that are 50,000 square feet or larger (in the required categories). An amendment to O.Reg 506/18, posted on October 28, 2019, proposed to stop the further rollout of the program to buildings under 100,000 square feet (proposal number 19-ENDM010).  This proposal stalled, but the roll-out was nevertheless deferred until July 1, 2023.

The policy is enacted under Ontario Regulation 506/18 under the Electricity Act, 1998.1  It was originally instituted under Ontario Regulation 20/17 under the Green Energy Act, 2009 and was re-enacted after the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018 passed.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Appliance and Equipment Market Transformation
Space Heating Windows Water Heating
Research and development The IESO Grid Innovation Fund has supported research into geothermal systems and heat pumps, and Enbridge has supported research into heat pumps. The IESO has supported National Research Council work on lower-cost production techniques. -
Pilots and demonstrations The IESO Grid Innovation Fund has supported multiple heat pump pilot projects, including one in which the City of Toronto installed a commercial-scale, lake-based geothermal system as part of a deep energy retrofit of a neighborhood centre. EnerQuality, with support from the IESO, administers a “Net Zero Technology Adoption Program,” which works with home builders to design, develop and deliver market-ready technology demonstration projects. Enbridge has conducted residential pilots of smart water heater controllers and gas heat pump water heaters.
Information and awareness

Enbridge offers a “Savings by Design” program to improve new-building energy performance, and has participated in updating the ANSI Z21.40.2 and .4 standards for gas heat pumps. 

The IESO participated in the development of CSA EXP07 standards.

The EnerQuality initiative was developed because of industry expectation of code development, and desired assistance gaining expertise with designing and delivering high performance homes. Enbridge’s Savings by Design program (noted above) hosts a workshop that focuses on space and water heating improvements.
Technology and installation training - EnerQuality offers training to the residential new construction industry on the design and construction of high-performance homes. -
Upstream or downstream incentives

Heat pumps may be eligible under Enbridge’s Custom Retrofit commercial program.

Save on Energy incentives for residential electricity customers were cancelled in 2019, but remain in place for institutional, commercial and industrial buildings.

Utilities provide downstream incentives. Enbridge provides midstream incentives for commercial natural gas water heaters with a minimum efficiency of 94.5%.[1]
Regulation, codes and standards Amended O.Reg. 509/18 to increase efficiency standards for commercial and residential gas-fired boilers; commercial oil-fired boilers; residential gas-fired furnaces; and gas fireplaces. Ontario amended its Energy and Water Efficiency regulation (O.Reg. 509/18) to increase efficiency standards for residential windows and align with building code requirements. The province amended O.Reg 509/18 to set a standard for commercial oil-fired storage water heaters, and to update standards for commercial gas-fired storage water heaters and instantaneous water heaters (residential and commercial).

Last reviewed: August 2020

Appliance and Equipment Standards

Ontario has been regulating the energy efficiency of products and appliances for 30 years and was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement efficiency regulation. The regulation also sets water efficiency standards for products which consume both energy and water. Ontario regulates over 80 products, more products than any other jurisdiction in Canada (including the federal government).

Many of Ontario’s regulatory policies, such as "rolling incorporation", "early compliance" and "equivalent testing standards" have been considered for adoption by other provincial and federal regulations.

Ontario sets minimum standards for energy and water efficiency for appliances and products sold in Ontario under O.Reg. 509/18 under the Electricity Act, 1998. The November 29, 2018 Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan committed to “ensure Ontario’s energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment continue to be among the highest in North America”.

Since 2013, Ontario has updated its efficiency regulation 9 times setting and adopting new and enhanced efficiency standards for over 60 products. Most updates had the intent to harmonize standards with US Department of Energy regulations and federal regulations. The most recent updates are:

Regulatory Amendment Date of Amendment Environmental Registry # Key Implications

 O. Reg. 419/16



Filed - December 2, 2016,

In force, January 1, 2017




Included new or enhanced efficiency standards for 14 products, including water efficiency requirements for 5 products, and revoked standards for one existing product


O. Reg. 448/17


Filed – Nov 24, 2017


In force - Jan 1, 2018




Included new or enhanced efficiency standards for 12 products, including updates to the testing standard and/or energy efficiency requirements for 10 existing products and introducing requirements for 2 new products


O.Reg. 201/19 Filed - June 13, 2019 013-4675

Updated labeling requirements for two electronic products

Allowed alternative efficiency metrics for three existing water heating products

Excluded ultra-high definition (UHD) 8K televisions from television on-mode requirements.

Proposal Proposed Nov. 19 2019 019-0924 Increase minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and harmonize Ontario’s efficiency standards for nine space and water heating products with Natural Resources Canada, and increase MEPS for one product (residential windows) to align with Ontario Building Code minimum requirements.
O. Reg. 35/21 Filed - January 29, 2021 Adds five new products to Ontario's efficiency regulation, harmonized with US Department of Energy Standards.  It also harmonizes requirements for televisions with Natural Resources Canada standards, and postpones the date for manufacture for compliance with DOE regulations for liquid-filled distribution transformers. 

Products are not covered by federal regulations if they are manufactured and sold within the province, or if there is no federal standard. The following products were regulated by Ontario, but not by the federal government, as of June 30, 2020 (products marked with * are in the federal regulation but standards do not take effect until a future date, between July 1, 2020 and January 1, 2025, depending on the product):

Residential and commercial appliances:
• Gas-fired clothes dryer
• Drinking water cooler
• Vending machine, other than refrigerated bottled or canned beverage

Water heating products:
• Gas water heater, storage, commercial*
• Gas water heater, instantaneous, commercial*
• Electric water heater, instantaneous, residential
• Gas and oil pool heater

Space heating equipment/products:
• Gas furnace, commercial
• Gas boiler, commercial*
• Oil boiler, commercial*
• Gas room heater, wall furnace, floor furnace

Air-conditioning equipment/products:
• Liquid-to-liquid geothermal heat pump
• Computer room air conditioner

Lighting products:
• Fluorescent lamp, self-ballasted compact and ballasted adapter
• Incandescent lamps, candelabra & intermediate screw base
• Luminaires: roadway, high-mast and dusk-to-dawn

Motors and transformers:
• Power transformer, liquid
• Distribution transformer, liquid

• Thermostat for room electric space heater
• Residential windows

Regulations that exceed federal standards
The following Ontario standards exceed federal standards due to higher minimum energy performance standards or by applying to a broader range of product types:

• Geothermal liquid-to-air heat pump
• Internal water loop heat pump
• Incandescent lamp
• Induction motor, three-phase
• Television

Last reviewed: January 2021

Efficiency Requirements for Government Supported Housing

There are no efficiency requirements for government supported housing in Ontario. 

Last reviewed: August 2019

Transportation See All

Policies tracked in the transporation area reflect the potential energy savings of closer integration of private transportation with buildings and electricity grids. 

Zero-Emission Vehicles Mandate

There is no ZEV mandate in Ontario.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

While most charging programs were cancelled with the 2018 cancellation of the cap and trade program, Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One have partnered to install 160 fast chargers across Ontario, called the Ivy Network, throughout 2020.

Last reviewed: August 2020

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

Ontario does not offer any consumer or fleet EV and PHEV financial incentives.

Last reviewed: August 2020

“EV Ready” Building Code

The Ontario Building Code was revised in 2017 to include provisions for EV charging (section 3.1.21) in Part 3 and Part 9 buildings. The provisions went into force on January 1, 2018, but were subsequently revoked by an amending regulation passed on May 2, 2019. Municipalities have the power to include EV/PHEVs in their bylaws but none have done so.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Industry See All

In recognition that the industrial sector is highly varied across Canada, this database tracks policies that are broadly applicable to all industrial subsectors and provinces.

Energy Management

Enbridge provides the RunitRight Program, which funds the costs of using an Enbridge EMIS for 1 year or provides a $1000 incentive to use a third-party EMIS. The Enbridge Comprehensive Energy Management Program provides an Energy Solutions Consultant to complete energy management initiatives. This is a “market transformation” program under the Demand Side Management Plan. They also offer the Strategic Energy Management program, providing technical support in developing energy use metrics, recommendations for sub-metering, and assisting in the development of an energy management plan, as well as developing a business case for achieving energy savings.

The IESO offers the Save on Energy Energy Manager program, which provides $40,000 annually towards hiring an energy manager, who must meet certain pay-for-performance criteria (minimum energy savings of 1,000 MWh/year and $40 paid for every MWh saved above that amount).

Last reviewed: August 2020

Co-generation / Combined Heat and Power

The IESO’s Save on Energy Process and System Upgrades program supports CHP projects so long as they are fueled by waste energy from the site and, as of July 1, 2018, no longer accepts applications for fossil fuel-based CHP projects. Applications are reviewed by a technical reviewer, and must be accompanied by a feasibility study, before being approved. Union Gas (now merged into Enbridge) also supported CHP projects through its demand-side management programs.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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