City of Toronto receives Environmental Finance Bond Award for inaugural social bond, a first in Canada’s public sector

The City of Toronto has been awarded “Social Bond of the Year – Local Authority/Municipality” at the 2021 Environmental Finance Bond Awards for the issuance of the City’s inaugural social bond last year. The award marks the City as a leader in the green, social and sustainability bond and loan market.

Toronto is the first government in Canada to establish a Social Debenture Program, furthering its leadership in sustainable finance, and promoting positive and equitable socioeconomic outcomes.

Following the release of the Social Debenture Framework, the City successfully issued the $100 million bond with a 10-year maturity in June 2020. Investors paid a price of $99.98 to yield 1.602 per cent from the bond, which will mature in December 2030. Expressions of interest were in excess of $400 million for this bond, with strong interest from the environmental, social and governance (ESG) community.

The Social Debenture Framework was verified by Sustainalytics, a global leader in environmental, social and governance research and ratings. This verification ensures the City’s framework aligns with the International Capital Markets Association Social Bond Principles. This strong framework, along with detailed reporting impact, positions the City’s social bond as a template for other municipalities.

The Social Debenture Program demonstrates the City’s commitment to advance positive social action and sustainability for all Torontonians. Eligible projects are capital projects for various social initiatives, including:
•       social and affordable housing
•       affordable basic infrastructure (access to clean drinking water, sewage and sanitation systems and transit)
•       access to essential services (long-term care, senior services and emergency shelters) and
•       socioeconomic advancement and empowerment (public libraries and community hubs).

The proceeds from this issuance are being used to help fund Shelter, Support and Housing Administration’s George Street Revitalization project and New Shelter Beds project.

Toronto has one of the largest municipal borrowing programs in Canada. It is a regular issuer in the public Canadian debt market, with several sinking fund debentures each year. Debenture issues are initially distributed and traded by several Canadian investment dealers.

More information about the City’s Social Debenture Program is available at

More about the Environment Finance Bond Award is available at


“It’s a privilege to be recognized as a leader in the green, social and sustainability bond market. The success of this social bond shows the continued strong market confidence in the City of Toronto. The first of its kind in Canada, the Social Debenture program demonstrates our commitment to equitable social advancements for all Torontonians.”
– Mayor John Tory

“Although COVID-19 has had a serious economic impact across the globe, capital markets are optimistic. Investor demand remains strong and the bond market continues to be favorable for the City to issue ESG-focused debentures. This $100 million issuance ensures the City can continue investing in essential social services, affordable housing and critical infrastructure.”
– Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough-Southwest), Budget Committee Chair

“The pandemic has put pre-existing systemic socioeconomic inequalities and poverty into the spotlight. We need to address these issues at the forefront of our thinking. The City of Toronto’s $100 million social bond proceeds has helped fund critical strategic initiatives that include shelters and affordable housing. In the face of competing challenges and priorities, the City will continue to lead with a sense of purpose. With support from our partners and investors, we will continue to innovate and lead transformation to ensure we nurture a prosperous, inclusive and liveable city, with a high quality of life for its residents now and in the future.”
– Heather Taylor, CFO and Treasurer

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