Site Alteration By-law

The City of Vaughan is developing a Site Alteration By-law to regulate site alteration, the management of excess soil and address non-compliance city-wide.

Image is of three trucks moving excess soil in an open area.

What is a site alteration?

Site alteration refers to the placement of fill (or soil) on land, the removal of topsoil, or the alteration of the slope (or grade) of a piece of land. It is done to improve drainage, create noise berms, stabilize slopes or prepare land for development, as well as enhance natural features or improve the use of agricultural lands. These alterations can generate excess soil that must be properly managed. Otherwise, it can negatively impact water quality, the natural environment and agricultural lands, and create local nuisance issues like noise, dust, increased truck traffic, road damage and soil erosion.


Get involved

With a growing focus on urban, sustainable development in Vaughan, there is increased site alteration which must be properly managed across the city through monitoring, inspection and enforcement. And this is what the Site Alteration By-law will regulate. 


An in-person Open House was held on Sept. 28, and an online survey was available until Oct. 15 for the community to have their say. Thank you to those who participated! An engagement summary is now available for review online


Frequently Asked Questions


The City is taking a new approach to regulate site alteration, manage excess soil and ensuring sustainable development practices by developing a Site Alteration By-law that will:

  • recognize the City’s responsibility to support responsible development.

  • recognize a landowner’s right to alter land to prepare it for development.

  • protect the natural environment and human health. 

  • align with new provincial excess soil regulations and industry best practices. 

  • limit adverse impacts to the local community and on City infrastructure.

  • offer effective monitoring and enforcement tools to address non-compliance.

  • and more.


To date, the management of site alteration has been regulated by Vaughan’s Fill By-law 189-96 (PDF), which was initially created in 1996 and has been updated several times since. However, further revisions are required to align with provincial regulations and industry best practices and ensure proper inspection and enforcement guidelines are incorporated – which are required for the City to effectively address instances of non-compliance. Once approved by Vaughan Council, the proposed Site Alteration By-law will replace the Fill By-law. 


Those who will likely be most impacted by the by-law, if adopted, include key stakeholders, like the development industry, farming community, rural landowners and Vaughan residents who live in rural areas or adjacent to construction sites. 


The City’s Site Alteration By-law will not apply to private residential landscaping or construction projects, such as building a flower garden, deck or patio. The by-law also does not apply to normal farming practices, such as the removal or replacement of topsoil on agricultural lands.



Antonella Brizzi

Business Analyst

Development Engineering

905-832-8585, ext. 8364