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Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative –Application Guide


The purpose of this initiative is to support projects that facilitate the accelerated development of deep retrofit projects.

This initiative provides a non-repayable contribution for projects that include all of the four following elements:

  • identify and/or aggregate deep retrofit projects
  • guide individual building owners in the process of developing and implementing specific retrofit projects
  • identify available funding and financing for specific deep retrofit projects
  • conduct capacity building activities, such as developing or implementing novel, standardized, or replicable approaches to deep retrofits

The contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit.

Capital expenditures to undertake retrofits (e.g. equipment, materials, or construction) are not eligible. Also, funded activities associated with specific buildings shall always be performed at the request of the building owners. The Government of Canada does not approve nor endorse any specific product or service provider.


Capacity building

Activities that increase the abilities or capabilities of organizations to achieve a goal, such as developing deep retrofit projects. This may include activities pertaining to the development of novel, standardized, or replicable approaches, tools or resources.

Deep retrofit

A holistic approach to upgrading buildings and optimizing energy and carbon performance.  A “deep retrofit” involves upgrades to multiple building systems and equipment such as:

  • replacing roofs
  • adding, upgrading, or rearranging windows
  • adding or increasing insulation
  • replacing or improving building envelope or cladding
  • replacing the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system with more efficient ones
  • switching from fossil fuels to electricity or other energy sources for space and water heating (e.g., heat pumps)
  • upgrading the lighting system or using day lighting and controls
  • installing or harnessing renewable energy systems (e.g., photovoltaic panels)
  • installing or upgrading building control or energy management systems
  • other measures that improve the energy efficiency of the building

Deep retrofits typically save at least 50% in energy consumption – and up to 70% or more – and/or up to 80-100% in GHG emissions. Deep retrofits may also include measures to improve resiliency and adaptation to climate change.

Mid- or high-rise multi-unit residential buildings

Mid- or high-rise multi-unit residential buildings include buildings that contain 2 or more units sharing a common building entrance and interior hallways; and are either 4 or more storeys above ground or have a horizontal footprint greater than 600 m2 measured within the exterior walls and firewalls.


Eligible recipients

  • Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations
  • Canadian provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments and their departments and agencies, including public sector bodies, crown corporations or boards that are established by or under provincial or territorial statute or by regulation or are wholly owned by a province, territory or local or regional government
  • Indigenous governing bodies, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and communities

Eligible projects

Eligible projects facilitate the accelerated development of deep retrofits for commercial buildings of any size, institutional buildings of any size, and/or mid- or high-rise multi-unit residential buildings, and include each of the following four elements:

  • Identifying and/or aggregating deep retrofit projects. - This includes activities towards identifying and/or aggregating deep retrofit projects that may span a large number of buildings across a given geographic area or market segment.
  • Guiding individual building owners in the process of developing and implementing specific deep retrofit projects. This includes activities supporting:
    • retrofit project pre-development, including but not limited to audits and measure identification, feasibility studies and business case development, and other activities associated with the development of a deep retrofit project;
    • project planning, design and management; and/or
    • implementation of deep retrofit projects, including but not limited to identifying and coordinating service providers, reporting, labelling, and measurement & verification. *This excludes capital expenditures to undertake retrofits.
  • Identifying available funding and financing for specific deep retrofit projects. This includes activities towards supporting building owners as they seek public and private sources of funding and financing (including but not limited to banks, utilities, government departments and agencies, crown corporations, retrofit lenders, and other entities).
  • Conducting capacity building activities, such as developing or implementing novel, standardized, or replicable approaches to deep retrofits. This includes capacity building activities addressing two or more of the following elements:
    • deep retrofit business case development
    • deep retrofit funding or financing applications, or financial due diligence processes
    • methods or tools to support energy or carbon audits that identify opportunities for deep retrofits and for optimizing energy performance
    • deep retrofit project management or implementation approaches
    • deep retrofit project reporting or measurement approaches

The Recipient is not an agent, an employee, or a partner of the Government of Canada, and shall not represent itself (including in any agreement with a third party) in a manner that could lead a member of the public to believe that the Recipient is an agent, employee, or partner of the Government of Canada. Note that while the Recipient will outline how they facilitate and promote deep retrofit projects, the decision whether to implement a retrofit shall always rest with building owners. Building owners shall have no obligation to purchase products or services from any organization.

Eligible activities

Eligible activities funded include, but are not limited to:

  • Energy or carbon audits/assessments, such as: energy performance analysis, identification, recommendations or coordination of measures, aggregation potential, maximizing electrification or carbon reduction potential, etc.
  • Development of business cases/plans/proposals for various audiences (owners or shareholders, financers, tenants, etc.), proposal development facilitation
  • Development of project plans that emphasize a holistic approach to retrofits, which may include work plans for: procurement, project design, integrated design charrettes, project management and administration, etc.
  • Deep retrofit implementation facilitation and project support (excluding capital costs), including tendering, selection, coordination, evaluation, and management of engineering or architectural services, construction trades, other services
  • Development and/or implementation of project/program evaluations, monitoring, technical studies
  • Commissioning and/or recommissioning and building optimizing assessments/studies
  • Onboarding, embedding, training or hiring energy managers or retrofit coordinators for client organizations
  • Selecting, configuring, operating, or training client organizations for the use of monitoring and tracking systems
  • Implementing or training for the use of energy benchmarking and reporting, and project monitoring and verification (M&V)
  • Application for, or achievement of, standards or labeling outcomes such as ISO 50001 energy management standard, BOMA Best, LEED or ENERGY STAR Certification, etc.
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication and awareness programs, including knowledge/information dissemination, hosting conferences and information sessions and training (including development and delivery)
  • Delivering design workshops
  • Technical studies / best practices to support innovative approaches for market transformation

Eligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures must be directly related to the implementation of the project and reside in the following categories: 

  • Salaries and benefits on the payroll of the Recipient for actual time spent by the employees on the project
  • Professional, scientific, technical, management, data collection and contracting services
  • Travel expenditures, including meals and accommodation, based on National Joint Council Rates
  • Advertising, recruitment and training (including trainer fees, costs of training development, promotion, deployment and evaluation)
  • License fees, data purchases, certification costs, and permits
  • Capital expenditures – informatics hardware and software (note: capital expenses for retrofits are ineligible)
  • Material, supplies and equipment rental (note: equipment installed as a part of a building retrofit is ineligible)
  • Rental of facilities, audio and visual services and other related costs (excluding hospitality and prizes) associated with delivering workshops, delivering training, conferences, meetings and other events
  • Overhead expenditures, provided they are related to the conduct of the project and can be attributed to it. Overhead expenditures may be included in the total project costs up to 15% of eligible expenditures
  • GST, PST or HST, net of any tax rebate to which the Recipient is entitled

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

  • Capital costs (e.g. equipment or materials purchase, or lease and other deep retrofit implementation costs)
  • Land acquisition; leasing land, buildings and other facilities; leasing equipment other than equipment directly related to the administration of activities in a proposal; real estate fees and related costs
  • Financing charges, legal fees, and loan interest payments, including those related to easements (e.g., surveys)
  • Provincial sales tax and Goods and Services tax/HST, for which the recipient is eligible for a rebate, and any other costs eligible for rebates

Merit selection criteria

The project will be assessed against the merit selection criteria described below:

Relevance of the project

The Program will assess how closely the project corresponds to the program objectives, whether it has a clear rationale for funding, and whether it includes relevant goals, objectives, outcomes, and indicators.

Relevant experience and capacity

  • Resources, personnel, and expertise to complete the project, such as:
  • mandate and/or experience and expertise
  • demonstrated commitment based on past or current projects
  • a qualified project delivery team with roles and responsibilities clearly established
  • institutional, management/organizational structures, financial controls, and other supports required to successfully deliver the project

Work plan and budget

The Program will assess the extent to which the project has:

  • a realizable project plan, including clearly defined deliverables, budget and timelines
  • a detailed risk analysis and mitigation strategy
  • a robust project evaluation and information dissemination plan

Quality of the application

The Program will assess the quality of the application, such as completeness, attention to detail, and clarity. The evaluation process may favour projects that include:

  • A focus on guiding owners of buildings occupied by households with low income. This includes, for instance, mid- or high-rise multi-unit residential buildings that:
    • are considered a community housing provider with an affordable housing purpose
    • buildings occupied in large part by households with low income (a household is considered low income if its income is below 50% of median household incomes)
    • Note: Applicants may be asked to attest to how they identify these buildings in their portfolio
  • A plan to address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) considerations. Applicants are encouraged to outline how they plan to foster participation of under-represented and/or under-resourced people and communities as part of their project.
  • A plan to address the needs of Indigenous peoples and communities. Applicants are encouraged to outline how they plan to identify or address risks, challenges and impacts, or benefits (such as improved community services and infrastructure, and capacity building) to Indigenous peoples and communities.

Final funding decisions will take into consideration the evaluation results, and other criteria such as the total funding requested per year and program budget availability, and the distribution of funding to projects across Canada.

Available funding

The program’s total available funding is $185.5 million, spread over four fiscal years (2023/24 to 2026/27). Funding may be cancelled or reduced in the event that departmental funding levels are reduced by Parliament.

The program will reserve a portion of this total available funding to support projects that are led by Indigenous Recipients or focus on Indigenous communities. Applications in this particular category will be evaluated against each other. This intake will expire on the earlier of a) depleted funding; or b) March 31, 2025.

The total available funding will reimburse recipients up to:

  • 100% of total eligible expenditures for:
    • provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments and their departments and agencies where applicable
    • Indigenous governments or organizations (e.g. band councils, land claim organizations)
    • not-for-profit organizations, including and public health, educational and cultural organizations
  • 75% of total eligible expenditures for:
    • for-profit organizations (organizations are not to make profit from federal funding)

Recipients will be required to disclose all anticipated sources (Canadian and non-Canadian) of funding for the project, including approved in-kind funding, clearly identifying contributions from other Canadian government sources (federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal).

In the event that actual total government funding to a recipient exceeds the eligible expenditures, the Program will adjust its level of funding so that the maximum funding limit is not exceeded.

Further distribution of the contribution by recipients is not an eligible activity under the Program. 

Contribution agreement

Upon favourable review of an application and approval for funding, NRCan will enter into a Contribution Agreement with the Recipient. The Contribution Agreement will outline the rights, roles, and obligations of each of the respective parties.

Performance conditions

A non-repayable contribution is subject to performance conditions specified in a Contribution Agreement. A contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit.

Note that the expected results of this initiative include:

  • increased identification and/or aggregation of deep retrofit projects
  • increased capacity to guide individual building owners in the process of developing and implementing specific retrofit projects
  • increased capacity to identify funding and financing for specific deep retrofit projects
  • increased availability of novel, standardized, or replicable approaches pertaining to deep retrofits

The Recipient will report on performance indicators, including:

  • Number of building owners (along with associated number of buildings, floor space, potential energy and GHG savings) receiving guidance pertaining to any part of the deep retrofit process
  • Number of building owners (along with associated number of buildings, floor space, potential energy and GHG savings) receiving guidance pertaining to the pre-development and/or project planning, design and management of a deep retrofit project
  • Number of building owners (along with associated number of buildings, floor space, potential energy and GHG savings) receiving guidance pertaining to the implementation of deep retrofit projects
  • Number of regions/municipalities covered by the project
  • Number of energy audits/assessments supported by the project, where relevant
  • Number of staff hired
  • Number and type of tools & resources developed to support or build capacity for deep retrofit projects

The Recipient may also monitor additional indicators.

Privacy and confidentiality

Subject to the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, all information provided under this program is public information and may be disclosed to third parties upon request under the relevant Act.

How to apply

Please direct all enquiries relating to this funding or request an application package, by emailing

  • Deadline to submit an application: Closed
  • Deadline for Indigenous applicants to submit an application: March 31, 2025 at 23:59 PST
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