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 (CFF) 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. LDCs were required to meet established energy efficiency targets under CFF as a condition of their licence through the OEB. The IESO coordinated these activities under the “Save on Energy” brand, and also administered programs for transmission-connected customers under the Industrial Accelerator Program.

A Ministerial Directive issued on March 20th, 2019 prematurely ended the CFF and replaced it with an 'Interim Framework', which revoked LDC CDM license conditions and centralized administration of programs by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).  In September 2020, a 2021-2024 framework was defined by ministerial directive.

The 2021-2024 CDM framework continues to be centrally administered by the IESO, under the Save on Energy brand.

Natural Gas

Natural gas energy efficiency programs in Ontario are administered by Enbridge Gas Inc. under five-year demand-side management plans, as mandated by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).  

In June 2020, the OEB authorized a one-year extension of the 2015-2020 DSM Plan.  A similiar extension was authorized for 2022. The Ontario Energy Board is now conducting a procedural assessment of Enbridge Gas Inc's 2023-2027 DSM Plan Application.

Last reviewed: October 2021

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 adjusted 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

Planning for Ontario's electricity needs comprises two processes: (1) bulk system planning and (2) regional planning.

1. Bulk system planning
Bulk system planning focuses on the electricity resources that transmit energy from the generation source to local distribution companies across the province. The IESO’s bulk system planning processes address provincial electricity needs and consider the impacts of various factors on the electricity system, including policy directions, the supply/demand balance, operability requirements and others.

(a) Reliability Outlook
The Reliability Outlook guides operational planning in Ontario. The report presents Ontario’s demand forecast and associated drivers, resource adequacy projections and the assumptions that inform them, as well as an assessment of operability and the province’s transmission assets. Published quarterly, this Outlook provides insights over an 18-month planning horizon, extending the time frame an additional 42 months to five years biannually. Published every June and December, these extended versions address the drivers that can affect resource adequacy, and require the IESO to address associated reliability risks through outage management.
The quarterly reports are available here:

(b) Annual Planning Outlook
The Annual Planning Outlook is a 20-year forecast for Ontario's electricity system and includes projected electricity demand, a resource adequacy assessment, transmission considerations, and performance indicators, and identifies the province's energy and capacity needs. The report provides these long-term adequacy requirements to inform investment and asset management decisions. The APO incorporates Energy Efficiency program frameworks into the demand forecast, including existing IESO-funded conservation frameworks, committed IESO-funded conservation frameworks, programs funded by the federal and municipal governments as well as assumed long-term conservation frameworks.
The 2020 APO is available here:

2. Regional Planning
Regional planning considers local electricity priorities within each of the province’s 21 electricity planning regions. This process considers each region’s unique needs, priorities and preferences. Options to satisfy local demand may include generation, transmission and distribution, and/or other innovative resources or solutions.
Regional planning reports are available here:

Natural Gas
The OEB approved a new framework for natural gas integrated resource planning in 2021. The plan restricts non-pipe alternatives to large infrastructure projects, and excludes consideration of electricity-based alternatives. 

Last reviewed: October 2021

Efficiency Potential Study and 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.

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.

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.

Last reviewed: October 2021

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

Enbridge had reported that the Natural gas utility programs are screened using the Total Resource Cost-Plus Test, at the program level, under the 2015-2020 framework (also relevant to the 2021 year), which adds a 15% non-energy adder. The Ontario Energy Board instructed the gas utility to include the cost of carbon (i.e. the federal price) in the TRC+ cost effectiveness test in its Mid-Term Review Report. As a backup, the Program Administrator Cost Test is used as a secondary reference.

In accordance with the IESO's Cost-Effectiveness Guide, the IESO only implements CDM programs that demonstrate positive cost benefit benchmarks when jointly considered as a portfolio. The Energy Affordability program and on-reserve First Nation programs are not required to meet cost-benefit benchmarks and are excluded from the portfolio of CDM programs required to meet such benchmarks.

The Program Administrator Cost Test is the principal test for electricity conservation and demand management for the 2021-2024 CDM Framework and is applied at the program level. The Levelized Unit Energy Cost is also reported. The Total Resource Cost Test which uses a 15 per cent benefit adder that accounts for non-energy benefits, will also be calculated for internal reporting purposes. 

Last reviewed: October 2021

Support for low-income energy efficiency programs

The Affordability Fun program closed to new applications on July 31, 2020. 

In January 2021, the IESO launched the Energy Affordability Program (EAP) to help income-eligible households who may be struggling with their home electricity bills find savings through free energy- efficiency measures and upgrades.  EAP is delivered under the 2021-24 electricity CDM Framework and replaces two programs which ended in 2020: the Home Assistance Program (HAP) for low-income electricity customers and the Affordability Fund program for electricity customers who had a high electricity burden but did not qualify for the HAP. 

Natural gas DSM

Consistent with the direction given by the OEB and to facilitate coordination between low-income electricity CDM and natural gas DSM programming, similar income eligibility criteria was adopted by Enbridge Gas as was updated by the IESO for the new Energy Affordability Program.

Enbridge reported that their 2015-2020 DSM Framework requires natural gas utilities to "ensure low-income programs are accessible across the province and should be screened at lower thresholds than other programs, as determined by the Board".

Since the IESO survey was last completed in 2020, the Home Assistance Program (HAP) has concluded, and was replaced by the Energy Affordability Program (EAP) in 2021, which included a renewed four-year commitment to provide electricity saving measures to income-eligible households. The IESO works to support program evolution, and to ensure that maximization of energy-savings impacts are delivered to participants.

Last reviewed: October 2021

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). Through HELP, Toronto homeowners can get a low-interest loan of up to $75,000 to cover the cost of home energy improvements,

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
The Ontario Financing Authority regularly issues green bonds, the proceeds of which are used to support projects in clean transportation; energy efficiency and conservation; clean energy and technology; forestry, agriculture, and land management; and climate adaptation and resilience. In 2020, two bonds were issued, raising a total of $2 billion, though official reporting does not indicate the amounts spent specifically on energy efficiency and conservation initiatives.  No other province reported issuing green bonds in 2020.

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. In April 2020, the Ontario Energy Board approved an application from Enbridge to continue this program until 2023

Last reviewed: October 2021

Research and Development

Dedicated innovation funding
The IESO’sGrid Innovation Fund, with an annual budget of $9.5 million, supports projects enabling customers to manage energy consumption and/or projects toreduce the costs associated with maintaining grid reliability.

Enbridge Gas' OEBapproved DSM Plan Includes funding of up to $2.5 million annually for Research, Development,Innovation, and Pilot Program related spending.

Pilots, projects, and demonstrations
The IESO, working with Alectra (and funding from Natural Resources Canada) ran a first-of-kind in Canada (and likely North America) local capacity auction in 2020.

The IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund also supported a number of projects in energy efficiency, grid modernization, and training and professionalization.  This includes, but is not limited to, a heat pump demonstration project for multi-unit residential buildings (administered by Toronto Atmospheric Fund), and a deep energy retrofit of the City of Toronto’s Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre.

Enbridge supported several pilot and demonstration activities in 2020, involving technologies such as cold climate heat pumps, hydronic heating systems, artificial intelligence, gas heat pump furnaces, and virtual energy audits.

Program innovation
Enbridge conducted a pilot program to test the accuracy and potential energy savings identified by virtual energy assessments compared to traditional in-person audits.

Several projects funded by the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund concern program administration or delivery, including a strategic energy management project by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and a project to enhance RETScreen for energy professionals in Ontario (with CanmetENERGY).

Last reviewed: November 2021

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.

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: November 2021

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 since completed a full deployment of one-way smart meters for residential and small business electricity customers with demand under 50kW. Interval meters have been mandated for electricity customers with demand over 50kW since August 21, 2020.

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 has piloted the use of one-way meters (AMR) and may be in a position to advance an AMI-specific application and a viable roll-out strategy to the OEB as soon as 2022/2023.

Non-wires alternatives
Both non-wires and wires options may be evaluated as part of the IESO's Regional Planning Process to meet regional electricity system needs. The IESO, transmitters, distributors, and other stakeholders participate in different stages of this process. Non-wires options are studied specifically during the Integrated Regional Resource Plan (IRRP) stage.

The IESO led an initiative to review and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Regional Planning Process. Findings and recommendations were published in the Regional Planning Process Review Final Report in Feb 2021. Since then, the IESO has begun work on incremental improvements to how non-wire alternatives are studied in Integrated Regional Resource Plans and will communicate updates to stakeholders towards the end of 2021.

A first-generation IRP framework recently issued by the OEB requires consideration of non-pipe alternatives, but only in growth-driven projects or large replacement projects. The framework allows for Enbridge to seek opportunities with the IESO or local electricity distributors to facilitate electricity-based alternatives to address system needs or constraints, but explicitly excludes funding and delivery of electricity-based alternatives from natural gas ratepayers.

Pilot Projects

Updates include the OEB approving 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 Toronto Hydro’s Station Expansions Program. The IESO ran the local capacity auction for the York Region Non-Wires Alternatives demonstration in 2020 which procured 10 MW of local demand response and generation capacity for availability in summer 2021.

The IESO, working with Alectra (with funding from Natural Resources Canada), ran a first-of-kind in Canada (and likely North America) local capacity auction in 2020 to evaluate the potential to procure peak capacity from local assets as a cost-effective means of deferring or off-setting new transmission and distribution infrastructure. Auction participation and clearing prices suggest that local resources can be used to cost-effectively defer traditional infrastructure.

Enbridge completed its Ingleside geo-targeted demand-side management project, and proposed two more pilot projects as part of its IRP process.

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.

The IESO conducts routine voltage reduction tests for system optimization and reliability purposes, and published a study in 2019 that identifies protocols for evaluating energy savings and reductions as a result of voltage reduction. During a July 2019 test, the IESO found that a three percent voltage reduction resulted in an average reduction in provincial demand of 1.3%, and a 5% voltage reduction resulted in an average demand reduction of 1.94%.

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 2021

Carbon Pricing

The federal carbon price backstop and industrial output-based pricing system were in place in 2020 and therefore the province did not have control over the use of carbon pricing revenues. 

Last reviewed: November 2021

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: November 2021

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

The Ivy Charging Network, a partnership between Hydro One and the Ontario Power Generation, is currently constructing Ontario’s largest EV fast charger network with 160 chargers at 70+ locations.

Last reviewed: November 2021

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

The province does not offer any consumer or commercial EV incentives, however Plug N Drive does offer up to $2,000 for used EVs, when combined with the old vehicle scrappage incentive. 

Last reviewed: November 2021

“EV Ready” Building Code

In 2017 Ontario revised its building code 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.

Local governments have the power to include EV/PHEVs in their bylaws, but none have yet done so.

Last reviewed: November 2021

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

The IESO does not have an EnMS/SEM program, but does offer an embedded energy manager program, which provides up to $150,000 in performance-based annual incentives toward hiring energy managers. The program does promote and has provided training webinars on 50001 Ready and ISO 50001.

Enbridge Gas currently administers two energy management programs: the Comprehensive Energy Management program (Enbridge rate zone), and the Strategic Energy Management SEM program (Union rate zone). The CEM program provided incentives for the installation of an EMIS, funding for energy awareness and efficiency training in the organization, and financial assistance for Certified Energy Manager training. The SEM program was carried over from Union Gas, and offered similar incentives. Though there were participants still enrolled in the program in 2020, 2018 was the last year for new enrollment.

Last reviewed: November 2021

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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