Secondary Suites Approved in Vaughan

As part of the City of Vaughan’s commitment to create and manage affordable housing options, a new policy allowing for secondary suites was approved by Vaughan Council. This approach protects the safety and well-being of citizens by making it mandatory for secondary suites to comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Vaughan’s Zoning By-laws.

The City’s policy is in response to a provincial mandate that requires municipalities to allow secondary suites to help satisfy demand for homes that fit within various financial means. The new program is intended to create affordable housing options, while maintaining safety and the existing community’s character.

As a member of Council, I have seen Vaughan grow considerably over the years. I have seen the development of neighbourhoods, businesses, parks, recreation centres, and most recently, our own downtown – the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. It is not a surprise that more and more people are looking to make Vaughan their home, and secondary suites provide an affordable housing option to those wishing to move here. Approving a process for making secondary suites compliant also ensures that these dwellings will be safer for those who live in them.

The City will implement a thorough education campaign to help landlords and/or homeowners understand the importance of a compliant secondary suite before the new regulations come into effect. Vaughan will work to ensure that tenants, builders and landlords understand safety implications, and the benefits of obtaining permits and inspections.




A secondary suite is a self-contained unit within a house on the same lot as a house, and has its own kitchen and bathroom facilities. Secondary suites can be an important affordable housing option, provided the suites are constructed safely. Secondary suites are only allowed in specific single detached, semi-detached and street townhomes. There must be a minimum of three parking spots available.



Public safety is one of the City’s highest priorities. Secondary suites must comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Vaughan’s Zoning By-law requirements to protect the safety and well-being of citizens. There are three main safety features required for secondary suites:
  1. Each unit must have a minimum of two entrance/exit doors. It must have at least one private door that opens directly to the outside. It must also have direct access to the ground level.
  2. Smoke alarms should be outside all sleeping areas and connected to each other so that when one alarm sounds, they all do.
  3. Carbon monoxide is invisible, odourless and deadly. Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside all sleeping areas.
The City can provide specific construction standards for secondary suites for homeowners/landlords. These clear guidelines for building and fire code requirements ensure safe construction of secondary suites and allow tenants and their families to have greater confidence in the safety of their homes.
Before homeowners/landlords decide to proceed with renovating their homes to incorporate a new or upgraded secondary suite, they should contact Vaughan’s Building Standards department to discuss their plan and get the necessary information regarding zoning and building permit requirements.


Click on the tiles below to be redirected to the City of Vaughan’s Website for additional information such as Vaughan’s Building Standards, By-Law and Compliance, the Government of Ontario’s Secondary Suites Policy, and other resources.