Accelerating home energy retrofits building the case for local improvement charges in Ontario municipalities
In 2012, changes to provincial legislation in Ontario provided municipalities with a new market-based tool to improve the energy and water efficiency of the existing building stock; the local improvement charge (LIC) mechanism.
The City of Toronto was the first and remains the only Ontario municipality to use LICs to finance residential energy retrofits, starting in 2014 with the Home Energy Loan Program. Many other municipalities are interested. Indeed, one of the key priorities articulated in each of Vaughan, Newmarket and Markhams Municipal Energy Plan (MEP) is the development of an energy efficiency retrofit program for residential buildings, supported through implementation of a Local Improvement Charge mechanism. However, a lack of clarity regarding the risks to the municipality in developing an LIC program for energy retrofits, particularly in a two-tier municipal government context, is seen as a barrier to program implementation. This project aims to determine the best approach to implement a coordinated LIC-based residential energy retrofit program in the context of an tiered governance framework such as exists with these York Region municipalities.