Sustainability Metrics

The Sustainability Metrics Program – part of the development application process – is a standard for evaluating sustainability in new development in Vaughan. 


The Program uses a point-based system in which a development proposal earns points for achieving criteria (metrics) organized around the categories of built environment, mobility, natural environment and parks, infrastructure and buildings, and innovation. Points earned through these criteria go towards the minimum sustainability score that development proposals are required to achieve.

urban walkway with trees and benches to the side

Sustainability Metrics Program Requirements

In May 2022 Vaughan Council approved updates to the program that came into effect as of January 2023. All development applications must apply the updated suite of metrics and meet Council-approved minimum threshold scores. Any application initiated prior January 2023, are subject to the 2018 Sustainability Metrics Program and associated council approved threshold scores.


Updates to the program include:

  • Bird Safe Design Standards (PDF), which must be applied to all site and draft plan applications making metric IB-18 Bird Safe Treatments mandatory, to reduce the incidents of bird collisions and provide an urban environment where birds can thrive, as architecture can have negative impacts.
  • revisions to the Guidebook (PDF), such as:
    • increased options to address climate change in sustainable design.
    • updates to the program’s metrics and thresholds for Vaughan.
  • making the Sustainability Assessment Tool accessible through Service Vaughan, allowing for version control, auto-calculations and auto-filters for applications, and supporting the development of the applicant’s mandatory sustainability letter.

In November 2022, a development community information webinar session was held to share updates to the program. For more information, view this recorded developer information session or review this presentation (PDF).

Minimum Threshold Scores

  • All block plans, draft plans (10 units or more) and site plans must meet or exceed a minimum performance threshold of bronze.
  • All applicable development proposals located in Intensification Areas as defined in Vaughan’s Official Plan shall meet or exceed a minimum performance threshold of silver.


Sustainability Metrics Threshold Scores (2023)

Performance LevelSite PlanDraft Plan of SubdivisionBlock Plan
Bronze41 to 61 points27 to 40 points14 to 20 points
Silver62 to 75 points41 to 49 points21 to 25 points
Gold76+ points50+ points26+ points

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the program work?

Applicants review their development proposal as it aligns with the Sustainability Metrics Program suite of metrics, which is associated with a point system and must have an overall score that falls within the Council-approved performance threshold. Applicants are challenged to excel in different areas of sustainable development depending on their development type.

Which suite of metrics do I use?

  • All applications received by the City prior to January 1st, 2023 will continue to implement the 2018 version of the Sustainability Metrics Program and meeting associated 2018 council-approved threshold scores. 
  • Any block plan, plan of subdivision, or site plan received by the City after January 1st, 2023, will be subject to the 2023 SMP and associated council-approved threshold scores. 

What type of planning applications are required to submit a Sustainability Score and Summary?

The following planning applications are required to submit a Sustainability Score and Summary:

  • all block plans
  • draft plans of subdivisions of 10 units or more
  • major site plans


When is it not required to submit a Sustainability Score and Summary?

The following application plans do not require a Sustainability Score and Summary:

  • draft plans of subdivisions nine units or less
  • minor site plan applications

What other related materials must be submitted with the proposal as part of the City’s planning process?

Applicants will need to submit a Sustainability Metrics Summary Report, generated through the development application portal. This auto-calculating tool can be accessed once the Geographic Information System review stage has been initiated. Please reference the City’s quick-step Sustainability Metrics Program instructions for more details.

How can I estimate my score and find out which metrics are applicable before my submission?

The 2023 SMP Applicant Table is a supportive tool to help applicants quickly identify which metrics apply to which SMP scenario and auto-calculates the overall scores outside the Service Vaughan development portal. Download the 2023 SMP Applicant Table under Related Links that identifies your application scenario and use it help circulate and coordinate with your subject matter experts before your final submission through Service Vaughan development portal.  


There are nine scenarios (9) of which your application can be identified:

Block Plans

  • with residential uses only (i.e. Block Plan, Res)
  • with a mix of uses (i.e. Block Plan, Mxd)
  • with Institutional, Commercial, Industrial uses only (i.e. Block Plan, ICI)

Draft Plans of Subdivision

  • with residential uses only (i.e. Draft Plan, Res)
  • with a mix of uses (i.e. Draft Plan, Mxd)
  • with Institutional, Commercial, Industrial uses only (i.e. Draft Plan, ICI)

Site Plans

  • with residential uses only (i.e. Site Plan, Res)
  • with a mix of uses (i.e. Site Plan, Mxd)
  • with Institutional, Commercial, Industrial uses only (i.e. Site Plan, ICI)

How do I calculate my development sustainability score?

Use the Sustainability Assessment Tool to auto-generate your development score. Once generated, print and upload the summary report into the online portal as part of the application. 


Where can I find existing sustainable building incentives and resources?

Enbridge Gas Distribution - Savings by Design Programs offers free design expertise and financial incentives to build energy-efficient, sustainable and high-performance buildings. 

  • Savings by Design Affordable Housing 
  • Savings by Design Residential
  • Savings by Design Commercial and Multi-Residential
  • Affordable Multi-Family Housing New Construction


York Region's Development Financial and Servicing Incentives offers additional servicing capacity assignment credits to the local municipality as an incentive to promote sustainable residential high-density developments.


View partner municipalities and joint Sustainability Metrics Programs:


For any comments or questions about the program, contact the City’s Development Planning department via email at or by phone at 905-832-8565, extension 8924.