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Investor relations

City of Ottawa Debenture Activity

The City’s Treasury Division administers the debt and investments in accordance with the Municipal Act of Ontario and City of Ottawa policy guidelines.

City of Ottawa Credit Ratings

Credit Ratings

A credit rating is a current assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower with respect to a specified obligation. It indicates the capacity and willingness of a borrower to pay interest and principal in a timely manner.

The City of Ottawa’s current ratings are as follows:

Nom  Terme
Moody's Investment Service Aaa
Standard & Poor's AA

Long-term Ratings are also assigned an outlook indicating the likely direction of an issuer's rating over the intermediate term, typically ranging from 6 months to 2 years. The outlook is denoted (P) for Positive Outlook, (N) for Negative Outlook or (D) for Developing Outlook. No identifier is attached to the rating if the outlook is Stable.

Green Bonds

External Opinion

Opinion of Sustainalytics.

City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework

Vision Statement

City of Ottawa green debentures are used to finance capital works that promote environmentally sustainable development across the City to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change and/or contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. 

1. Use of Proceeds

The net proceeds of a Green Debenture issuance will be used to fund capital projects identified as eligible projects under the City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework.

 Eligible Projects

“Eligible Projects” means identified transactions (mainly infrastructure) funded by the City in support of capital projects that are beneficial to the environment, as determined by the City.

Eligible Transactions will include those that align with the Plan for Sustainability and Resilience in Canada’s Capital Region and the City of Ottawa’s Strategic Plan.

Without limitation, capital projects in the following sectors will generally be considered eligible:

  1. renewable energy, including but not limited to:
    1. biofuels and bioenergy (except feedstock and viable forest based biomass)
    2. solar, wind and hydropower (limited to projects under 25MW capacity) facilities and related
  2. infrastructure energy efficiency, including but not limited to:
    1. refurbishing existing buildings to increase energy efficiency
    2. energy storage
    3. district heating
    4. smart grids
    5. equipment
  3. pollution prevention and control, including but not limited to:
    1. enhancing or updating existing waste water treatment infrastructure
    2. greenhouse gas (GHG) control
    3. soil remediation and treatment such as, the removal of harmful substances in soils
    4. the prevention and recycling of waste, and waste to energy
    5. value added products from waste and remanufacturing
    6. associated environmental monitoring analysis
  4. clean transportation, including but not limited to:
    1. Fleet, and both core and supporting infrastructure for electric, hybrid public transit, public, rail, non-motorized, multi-modal transportation
    2. cycling and walking infrastructure
    3. infrastructure for clean energy vehicles and reduction of harmful emissions
  5. ​sustainable water management, including but not limited to:
    1. sustainable infrastructure for clean water and water efficiency
    2. sustainable urban drainage systems and other forms of flooding mitigation
  6. sustainable management of natural resources, including but not limited to:
    1. protection or restoration of forests, wetlands, watercourses (streambank stabilization or naturalization) and other natural assets
    2. green roofs, bio-retention, or natural storm water management projects;
  7. climate change adaptation and resilience, including but not limited to:
    1. redesigning, retrofitting and upgrading of buildings and infrastructure to mitigate the negative impact of climate change and build resilience for extreme weather events such as high wind, rain or extreme temperatures;
  8. green buildings, including but  not limited to:
    1. the construction of new buildings that meet regional, national or international third-party certifications, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), or any other similar recognized standards. 

2. Project Evaluation and Selection

The selection of Eligible Transactions is the responsibility of the Finance Services Department (FSD) in consultation with internal and external expert stakeholders, this may include the combined effort of Planning Infrastructure and Economic Development, Legal and other departments, as required.  The Finance Servies Department will select the eligible capital project(s) that meet the guidelines set out above. Projects must also comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and policies of the City of Ottawa, including on assessing social and environmental risks of projects.  The Finance Servies Department  will verify the suitability and eligibility with the Planning Infrastructure and Economic Development Department.  The internal or external legal representative(s) will draft a debenture by-law clearly outlining the use of proceeds, amongst other items, that includes a Schedule to the by-law listing the eligible capital projects to be financed by the debenture, and the list of eligible capital projects will be shared on the City’s website. A confirming by-law shall be passed by City Council authenticating the debenture by-law.

3. Management of Proceeds

The majority of capital projects to be funded by a debenture issued by the City have been developed and substantial completion criteria met.  In these common instances the proceeds of the debenture will be applied directly to the project to repay the bridge financing position of the City.

Where substantial completion has not been met on a project, the funds will be held in account of the City and invested in holdings with maturities aligned with substantial completion of the projects identified in the schedule to the by-law. 

In the rare case where substantial completion has been achieved and excess funds exist, the funds will be applied to other project classified as eligible projects under this Green Debenture Framework.

4. Reporting

The Finance Servies Department will coordinate the collective reporting requirements and provide an annual information report on its website addressing both allocation and impact reporting:

  • Debenture By-laws with accompanying schedule A outlining the specific projects funded by the debenture
  • a summary of the City’s green debenture developments including existing and future projects
  • updates with respect to distribution of unspent debenture proceeds
  • project updates and status reports for Eligible Projects;when possible
  • key performance indicators (KPI) such as

Key Performance Indicators

Eligibility Criteria Potential KPI
Renewable Energy kWh of power generated from renewable energy
GHG emissions reduced/avoided (tCO2e)
Energy Efficiency

Energy saved per year (kWh/year)
GHG emissions reduced/avoided (tCO2e)

Pollution Prevention and Control

Amount of emissions or pollutants reduced/avoided

Amount of waste diverted from landfill

Increase in cubic meter of water (m3) treated

Clean Transportation

Estimate of annual GHG emissions reduced/avoided (tCO2e)

Number of passenger journeys using green transportation

Sustainable Water Management Cubic meter of water (m3) saved/reduced
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Area of natural assets that is conserved, protected or restored
Green Buildings List of eligible buildings that received third party-verified green building certification

5. Compliance Review

Prior to the first anniversary of a green debenture issuance, The Finance Servies Department will review the lending financed by the City’s green debenture in order to assess the compliance of the lending with the Green Debenture Framework. This review will be conducted annually until full allocation of the net proceeds from the City’s green debenture. The Treasurer will provide a report of the review, which the City will publish on its website. In an unlikely event that the annual review identifies allocations made to activities that do not comply with the Green Debenture Framework, the City will allocate the corresponding amounts to different lending activities that are compliant with the Green Debenture Framework.

The issuance of debentures pursuant to this Framework will be implemented in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001 and directives issued by City Council as applicable.

City of Ottawa Green Debenture - Treasurer’s Information Report 2018

Use and Management of Proceeds

In accordance with the use of funds indicated in By-law No. 2017-355, the proceeds of the Green Debenture issued November 2017 were applied directly to the Light Rail Transit Stage 2 Project (LRT Stage 2 Project).

As of October 31, 2018, 100% of the total principal amount of $102 million has been spent on the LRT Stage 2 Project.

The City of Ottawa has undertaken an internal compliance verification to confirm that the funds received from the Green Debenture issued November 2017 have been spent in accordance to the requirements stipulated in By-law No. 2017-355 and the City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework. A review of all funding for the Ottawa LRT project for fiscal year 2018 confirmed that the Green Debenture proceeds were applied to the Stage 2 LRT project as required.

Project Status

The LRT Stage 2 Project is currently under development, in parallel with construction of Stage 1, which is nearing completion. There are no environmental benefits to report on at this time.

City of Ottawa Green Debenture - Treasurer’s Information Report 2019

City of Ottawa Green Debentures

Key Features

City of Ottawa Green Debentures share the same characteristics as conventional debentures and are ranked concurrently and equally in respect of payment of principal and interest with all other debentures of the City.

Eligible Projects

The City of Ottawa has developed a Green Debenture Framework under which it issues Green Debentures. The Framework identifies eight eligible categories to which bond proceeds may be directed:

  • renewable energy
  • energy efficiency
  • pollution prevention and control
  • clean transportation
  • sustainable water management
  • sustainable management of natural resources
  • climate change adaptation and resilience
  • green buildings.

The net proceeds of each Green Debenture issued under the Framework will be used to finance, in whole or in part, capital projects that promote environmental sustainability across the City. Specific objectives for these projects will be to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.


The City has engaged Sustainalytics, an independent sustainability rating firm, to provide a second opinion on its Green Debenture Framework and the framework’s environmental credentials as it relates to Green Bond Principles.

Alignment with Green Bond Principles

Sustainalytics is of the view that the City of Ottawa’s Green Debenture Framework is aligned with the four pillars of the Green Bond Principles 2017, which addresses use of proceeds, process for project evaluation and selection, management of proceeds, and reporting. Based on the above considerations, Sustainalytics is of the view that the City of Ottawa’s Green Debenture Framework is robust and credible.

City of Ottawa Green Debenture Issuance

2017 Green Debenture

On November 2, 2017, the City of Ottawa successfully launched an initial 3.25% November 2047 Green Debenture issue to fund the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Stage 2 project in the amount of C$102 million. The issue was priced to yield 3.259% with a November 10, 2047 maturity.

  • This was Ottawa’s inaugural Green Debenture issue and marked the first municipal Green Bond issue in the Canadian market.
  • The issue was over-subscribed, with orders from 25 investors
  • Strong participation from Asset Managers, Insurance Funds, Government Agencies and Pension Funds
  • Investors with Green mandates and/or UN PRI signatories represented 96% of overall sales
  • Demand was primarily concentrated in Canada with 99% placed domestically

2017 Investor Distribution

Pie chart showing the distribution of investor type. Duplicated in table provided.
Pie chart showing investor distribution by percentage

Type of Investor Percentage
Asset Managers 59%
Insurance 23%
Government 11%
Pension 6%
Bank 1%

2019 Green Debenture

On July 22, 2019 City of Ottawa priced a successful C$200 million re-opening of its Green Debenture due November 10, 2047 to fund the LRT project:

  • The re-opening marked the second Green Debenture from the City of Ottawa and the 5th Green Bond offering in Canadian municipal market
  • Over-subscribed issue, with 33 investors participating
  • Well-diversified order book with Asset Managers, Pension Funds, Insurance Funds and Government Agencies.
  • Investors with Green mandates and/or UN PRI signatories represented 89% of overall sales
  • International investors represented 10% of the final deal

2019 Investor Distribution

Pie chart showing the 2019 distribution of investor type. Duplicated in table provided.
Distribution of 2019 Inventor type by percentage

Investor Type Percentage
Asset Managers 62%
Insurance 16%
Pension 18%
Government 2%
Retail 1%
Bank 1%

Use and Management of Proceeds

The net proceeds of 2017 Green Debenture were applied directly to the LRT Stage 2 project, as per By-Law 2017-355. As of October 31, 2018, 100% of proceeds had been disbursed.

LRT Project Green Bond Proceeds Funds Disbursed Balance
908650 - Stage 2 LRT - RTG MOU 102,000,000 102,000,000 -
Total 102,000,000 102,000,000 -

The attached Schedule of Use and Management of Green Debenture Proceeds (Appendix A) and Internal Compliance Review Report (Appendix B) confirm that the City of Ottawa has complied with the material provisions of the Green Debenture Framework.

The net proceeds of the 2019 Green Debenture were applied directly to LRT Stage 1 – Confederation Line project and Stage 2 LRT project, as per By-Law 2019-272. Reports on use and management of proceeds and a compliance review will be provided in subsequent updates.

Green Debenture Project Update

Project Overview

The City of Ottawa’s LRT Confederation Line - Stage 1 project is expected to provide a more accessible connection to the Central Area. The LRT Stage 2 expansion builds on the City’s Confederation Line investment by extending light rail an additional 30 kilometres, bringing 70% of residents to within 5 kilometres from an LRT station and connecting the City’s communities to the east, west, and south. In their unanimous approval of the 2013 Transportation Master Plan, Ottawa City Council prioritized the implementation of Stage 2. The LRT extension is not only part of an official, integrated land-use plan and the City’s Transportation Master Plan, it is also in line with Federal and Provincial commitments for transit expansion.

Estimated Environmental Benefits

The business case for this project identified the following benefits:

  • Increased ridership: Total system ridership is expected to increase to 164 million trips per year as result of Stage 1 LRT. Stage 2 LRT is expected to increase ridership by additional 10 million plus trips per year by 2031
  • Decreased congestion: majority of buses removed from downtown street; reduction of approximately one sixth of total vehicle kilometres
  • Improved mobility: travel time savings and improved access from extended areas of the City
  • Vehicle operating cost savings: fuel and maintenance
  • Public health: benefits associated with reduction in harmful emissions; reducing contributions to climate change; reducing the number of collisions; mobility options for those who rely on public transit for access to health care
  • Land use: more compact urban form; increased clustering and accessibility
  • Economic development: increased employment; GDP and tax contributions
  • Environmental Benefits: reduction in the greenhouse gases (GHGs) and critical air contaminants (CACs), which have direct implications for the overall sustainability of urban growth and direct consequences on the health of residents. It is estimated that Stage 1 – Confederation Line would reduce GHG emissions by 94,000 tonnes and CAC by 4,600 tonnes by 2031; Stage 2 would reduce the GHG emissions by over 110,000 tonnes and CAC by over 3,000 tonnes by 2048.

Project Status Update

Stage 1 LRT - The O-Train Confederation Line Light Rail Transit system opened in September 2019 providing high frequency train service between Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations, and through downtown. City staff is collecting performance information from different service areas; however, the evaluation measures outlined in the Business case cannot be measured presently, as a longer evaluation period is required.

Stage 2 LRT – Preparatory activities are currently underway on each O-Train extension to facilitate the commencement of Stage 2 construction activities in 2019. Stage 2 will extend the O-Train system farther south, east, and west, adding 44 kilometres of new rail and 24 new stations by 2025.

Future Issuance Plans

The Green Debenture Program will be an ongoing program of the City of Ottawa. The City launched its first Green Debenture on November 2, 2017. On July 22, 2019 City of Ottawa priced a successful re-opening its Green Debenture. Total issuance to date is $302 million. The City is planning to issue approximately $150 million in Green Debentures annually from 2020 to 2024.

Contact Us

Finance Services Department
100 Constellation Crescent, 4th Floor West
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8

Tel: 613-580-2424

  • Mark Martin, Manager Treasury, ext. 21307
  • Vera Torkot, Senior Investment Officer, ext. 28400
  • Dan Bates, Senior Investment Officer, ext. 21310

Appendix A to 2019 Treasurer's Report

Green Debenture Compliance Review – Use and Management of Proceeds as of December 31, 2018

As of December 31, 2018, net proceeds of the Green Debenture priced November 2, 2017 and maturing November 10, 2047, we allocated to the following project in compliance with the Green Debenture Framework and in accordance with By-Law 2017-355.

Eligible Project Category Project Name Green Bond Proceeds Funds Disbursed Balance
Clean Transportation 908650 - Stage 2 LRT - RTG MOU    Capital Costs related to purchase of 38 vehicles, the expansion of maintenance and storage facility, and the provision of an on-board train control and communication equipment 102,000,000 102,000,000 -
  Total 102,000,000 102,000,000 -

The proceeds were used to finance spending on the project. The unspent balance as December 31, 2018 is $0.00. An internal compliance review confirming the use of proceeds is attached in Appendix B.

Document authorized by City Treasurer and Manager of Treasury

Appendix B to 2019 Treasurer's Report

City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework – 2018 Compliance Review Report

Compliance has examined the City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework and supporting reports prepared and submitted to Council for the issuance of the Green Debenture dated 10 November 2017 for $102,000,000, as well as Schedule of Use and Management of Debenture proceeds. These reports were prepared by the Treasury Branch and overseen by Mark Martin, Manager, Treasury Branch, Corporate Finance Service.

We examined the SAP records to confirm the accuracy of the figures presented in the reports. We also examined the expenditures on a test basis and inspected documentation to confirm compliance with the terms and conditions of the City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework.

In our opinion, there is reasonable assurance that the reports prepared for City of Ottawa Green Debenture Framework are free from material misstatements, that the funds received from the Green Debenture issue have been spent in accordance to the requirements stipulated in the Framework, and that the City of Ottawa has complied with material provisions of the Framework.

Compliance work completed by Andrew Kerandi, Compliance Consultant, Compliance