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 have moved towards centralized administration by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), as ordered by a March 20th, 2019 Ministerial Directive. The directive creates an “interim framework” until December 31, 2020, and discontinues the 2015-2020 Conservation First Framework.

Under the Conservation First Framework, Local Distribution Companies (LDC) 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.

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 has initiated consultations for the development of 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: November 2019

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. This is no longer government policy after a Ministerial Directive was issued on March 21, 2019 that discontinued the 2015-2020 Conservation First Framework for electricity.

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 states 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 have filed a transition plan with the Ontario Energy Board to consider more closely integrating DSM with infrastructure planning. This includes pilot studies to be completed in 2019 to consider the impact of DSM on peak demand to avoid new infrastructure.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Efficiency Potential Study and Energy Planning

Potential Study
An achievable potential study for natural gas efficiency is to be conducted every three-years, by order from a March 20, 2019 Ministerial Directive.

A March 20th, 2019 Ministerial Directive requires that the IESO to complete an achievable potential study for electricity programs, coordinated with a natural gas achievable potential study, by September 30, 2019. The potential study is available here

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. The IESO publishes an annual planning outlook.

Enbridge IRP transition plan was submitted to the Ontario Energy Board during the mid-term review.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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: August 2019

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: August 2019

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 LDC Innovation Fund existed under the Conservation First Framework, and was terminated on March 21, 2019. The fund supported Local Distribution Companies (electric) to conduct pilot programs involving new program designs and market tests.

The IESO's Grid Innovation Fund (formerly Conservation Fund) has supported over 200 innovative projects related to conservation, demand management, and energy storage since it's establishment in 2005. A full list of projects is available here: http://www.ieso.ca/Get-Involved/Funding-Programs/Grid-Innovation-Fund/Projects-Funded

Natural gas
The Ontario Energy Board approved a $6M Collaboration and Innovation Fund for legacy Enbridge Gas Distribution to spend on collaborative pilots, and innovative approaches to the market, as part of the 2015-2020 DSM plan ($1 million annual). 

Legacy Union Gas allocates an annual $500K towards a Pilot and Test Fund. The fund allows the utility to seek new initiatives in a controlled manner to guage how the market reacts. A successfull pilot could graduate to a mass-roll out. The Test portion of the fund consists of marginal changes to an existing program to actively pursue continuous improvements.

 Last reviewed: August 2019

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 subsegments, 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. The March 2019, Ministerial directives that winds down the Conservation First Framework leaves this unchanged.

Programs targeted towards low-income and indigenous populations are not required to pass cost-effectiveness tests.

The IESO centrally operates a Home Assistance Program

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 and project applications for new low-income housing.

Natural gas low-income programs include Union Gas' Affordable Housing Conservation Program, Home Weatherization Program, and various programs to Indigenous communities.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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 has issued “green bonds” five times between 2014 and 2019, totalling $4 billion. The bonds finance transit and energy efficiency projects.

On-Bill Financing
Union Gas and Enbridge Gas were 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, and extending this program into the Union Gas rate zone is under consideration before the Ontario Energy Board.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Research and Development

Several universities conduct energy efficiency research and development within the province. From 2014-2018, 11.4% of energy resource related NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) funds were awarded for energy efficiency.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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 of over 50kW must have an interval meter installed.

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.

The draft “Made in Ontario Environment Plan” released in November 2018 for consultation included a commitment to “provide customers with access to their energy data by working with electricity and natural gas utilities to implement the Green button Standard.” The commitment also includes “support [for] water utilities to implement Green Button on a voluntary basis.”

Relevant Links

A Renewed Regulatory Framework for Electricity Distributors: A Performance Based Approach: https://www.oeb.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/Report_Renewed_Regulatory_Framework_RRFE_20121018.pdf

Supplemental Report on Smart Grid https://www.oeb.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/Supplemental_Report_on_Smart_Grid_20130211.pdf

Natural Gas

Enbridge Gas Inc. does not have an AMI deployment plan in place. However, the recent ICF Report: Natural Gas Integrated Resource Planning commissioned by Enbridge found that there would need to be changes in Ontario energy policy and utility regulatory structure to facilitate the use of DSM to reduce infrastructure investments. Of these required changes one would be “the approval to invest in, and recover the costs of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) necessary to collect hourly data on the impacts of DSM programs and measures. Most utilities are able to identify peak hourly data only at a system gate station level and further granularity is limited. Advanced metering would be required in order to substantiate peak hour reductions from geo-targeted IRP.”

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 is working on formalizing a transmission planning process based on local achievable potential study pilot projects. This is part of the IESO’s Regional Planning Process Review.

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. In its current application, the LDC is asking for another $4.6 million over 4 years for more local demand response programs 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 are charged time of use rates.

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: August 2019

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 is challenging the imposition of the federal carbon pricing backstop in court, arguing that the measure exceeds the power of the federal government.

On February 12, 2019, Ontario released a regulatory proposal for  an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) program for the industrial sector. Ontario developed the EPS as an alternative to the output-based pricing system (OBPS) component of the federal carbon plan.

Under EPS, payments collected through the program are proposed to go into a fund that would support greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in industry. Further details are still to be confirmed.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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 2019

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 Sept 24, 2019 the Ontario government has proposed the creation of an administrative authority that would provide building code administration and enforcement services. This would include allowing use of administrative penalties to help municipalities address non-compliance, enabling smaller jurisdictions to enter into an agreement with the administrative authority to deliver full or partial building services on their behalf, and provide an active enforcement approach in unincorporated areas.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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 2019

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 50,000 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 will be the deadline for reporting for buildings that are 50,000 square feet or larger (in the required categories).

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.

An amendment to O.Reg 506/18, posted on October 28, 2019, proposes to stop the further rollout of the program to buildings under 100,000 square feet (proposal number 19-ENDM010).

Last reviewed: November 2019

Appliance and Equipment Market Transformation

Lab, Field Testing, and Demonstration
The LDC Innovation Fund has supported pilot programs in residential space and water heating.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Sustainable Technology Evaluation Program has supported heat pump demonstrations.

IESO (Grid Innovation Fund) supported National Research Council’s High Performance Buildings Program to de-risk emerging technologies for Commercial-Institutional buildings, particularly development/demonstrations of technologies such as Vaccuum Insulated Panels, electrochromatic glazing.

Information and Awareness
Guide to measuring and verifying the energy savings from heat pump retrofits supported through the IESO Grid Innovation Fund.

Efficiency potential of converting electrically heated multi-unit family buildings to heat pumps, supported through IESO Grid Innovation Fund.

Utility Involvement and Upstream Program Strategies
The IESO issued a report to the Ministry of Energy in March 2017 examining the market opportunities, barriers, and next steps for greater market adoption of residential heat pumps in Ontario.

Natural gas utility (Enbridge) market transformation program works with builders and developers to exceed building code requirements at design stage.

Codes and Standards
Ontario standards regulations includes commercial hot water gas-fired boilers

Products outside of federal regulations with Ontario standards include specific gas and electric water heaters, space heating equipment such as commercial hot water gas fired boilers, residential windows and thermostats

Ontario has standards more stringent than federal government for geothermal liquid-to-air heat pumps, internal water loop heat pumps, and single package vertical air conditioners and heat pumps

Last reviewed: August 2019

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 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, which came into force on January 1, 2019. This new regulation replicated requirements under the previous O.Reg. 404/12 under the Green Energy Act, 2009, which was repealed.

The November 29, 2018 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 8 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 with proposed amendments to 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


Proposal Proposed Feb 5, 2019 013-4675




Update labeling requirements for two products


Allow alternative efficiency metrics for four existing products


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


Exempt medium voltage dry-type distribution transformers used in mining applications from energy efficiency requirements, aligning with U.S. DOE’s; 10 Code of Federal Regulations (DOE Regulation).


Regulated Products not covered by federal regulations
Products are not covered by federal regulations if they are manufactured and sold within the province, or if there is no federal standard. Within the last 5 years (Jan 1, 2014 to Dec 31, 2019) the following products not covered by federal regulation were regulated by Ontario:

Residential and Commercial appliances:

  • Gas-fired clothes dryer
  • Drinking water cooler
  • Microwave*
  • Walk-in cooler / freezer*

Water heating products:

  • Gas water heater, storage, commercial
  • Gas water heater, instantaneous, residential and commercial
  • Electric water heater, storage, commercial
  • Electric water heater, instantaneous, residential
  • Gas and oil pool heater

Space heating equipment/products:

  • Gas furnace, commercial
  • Electric furnace, residential
  • 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:

  • Metal halide lamp ballast*
  • 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:

  • Small electric motor*
  • Power transformer, liquid
  • Distribution transformer, liquid
  • Distribution transformer, dry-type, medium voltage*


  • Thermostat for room electric space heater
  • Residential windows


Products with * are regulated by NRCan as of April 2019 (when their Amendment 14 became effective). The list does not include products that are in NRCan’s Amendment 15 or proposed later amendments, nor does it include products included in Ontario's regulation that Ontario regulates on or after Jan 1, 2019 (i.e. furnace fans, commercial pumps, battery charger).

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:

  • Vending machine
  • Geothermal liquid-to-air heat pump
  • Water chiller
  • Single package vertical air conditioner and heat pump
  • Internal water loop heat pump
  • Incandescent lamp
  • Induction motor, three-phase
  • Television

Last reviewed: August 2019

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

The Ontario Climate Action Plan 2016-2020 states the Ontario opted to not proceed with a ZEV mandate, preferring a collaborative approach with a province-wide sales target. There is no mention of a ZEV mandate in the government’s November 2018 Environment Plan.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

EV Charging Program: Cancelled in 2018
Support for fast charging: Yes

The Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario (EVCO) initiative aimed to install 500 charging stations (300 Level 2 and 200 Level 3), launched in December 2015, with all funding awarded as of 2016. The program funded 346 level 2 and 3 charging stations.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program (EVCIP) offered a 50% rebate for the purchase (up to a maximum of $500) for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) for home or business use, and another 50% rebate for its installation (up to a maximum of $500).  The EVCIP was funded through cap and trade proceeds, and thus the program was cancelled after the July 3, 2018 cancellation of the cap and trade program.

The Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program (WEVCIP) was a one-time program launched in January 2018.  WEVCIP was an application-based programs for employers, building owners and building managers to install level 2 chargers for their employees.  The program provided up to 80% of the cost to install level 2 chargers at the applicant's workplace/building, up to a maximum of $7,500 per charging station.  Given that WEVCIP was funded through cap and trade proceeds, the program was cancelled as a result. However, projects that had already begun before the cancellation were permitted to continue.

Last reviewed: August 2019

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

The Ontario Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentives Program (EHVIP) provided purchase incentives of $5,000-$14,000 for eligible battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV) based on their electric range and seating capacity.  BEVs and PHEVs with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $75,000 or more were not eligible for incentives.

The program was cancelled on July 11, 2018 after the July 3, 2018 cancellation of the cap and trade program. The wind down later expanded until September 10, 2018 after an Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision.

Last reviewed: August 2019

“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 (see here and here).

Last reviewed: August 2019

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 RunitRight Program, funds the costs of using an Enbridge EMIS for 1 year or provides a $1000 incentives 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.

Union Gas Strategic Energy Management program provides technical support in developing energy use metrics, provides recommendations for sub-metering, and assists in development of an energy management plan.[2]

The Save on Energy Energy Manager program provides $40,000 annual 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: May 2019

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

Download the Scorecard

Download the Scorecard

 (Available in French and English)

You have Successfully Subscribed!