Legalizing Basement Apartments in Vaughan: An Update

Legalizing basement apartments in Vaughan Ontario

About a year ago, I blogged about legalizing basement apartments (otherwise known as “secondary suites”) in Vaughan. You can take a look at that past post here. I’ve been following developments on this topic closely and wanted to provide an update.


What is a Basement Apartment / Secondary Suite?

Just a reminder – The City of Vaughan defines a secondary suite as a self-contained unit within a house OR within an accessory building on the same lot as a house. A secondary suite has its own kitchen and bathroom. Many secondary suites are ‘basement apartments’ but they can also be located on any floor of the house or in a detached building on the property (for instance, above a lane-way garage).


Mississauga Has Officially Legalized Basement Apartments

Mississauga City Council has officially approved a plan to permit second units on July 3, 2013, and all factors seem to point in the direction of legalizing basement apartments in the cities of Vaughan and Brampton as well.


Mississauga’s plan, which will be in full force in early fall, includes official plan policies, zoning regulations, and licensing requirements. To be considered legal, basement apartments must have a City of Mississauga license. The official plan policies permit second units within appropriate detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings.

basement ideas for home in Vaughan

Image courtesy of Nusite Group Toronto Basement Lowering

What about the City of Vaughan? Where Are We Now in the Process?

The City of Vaughan is developing a secondary suites policy in response to requirements set out in provincial and regional policy as well as the City’s Official Plan. The plan is to develop a “made-in-Vaughan” approach to basement apartments. This means looking at ways to provide secondary suites while managing demands on City services, making sure that housing with secondary suites are aligned with the look and feel of the current community curb appeal.


The City of Vaughan has implemented a Secondary Suites Study, which will include a public consultation process involving the Project Team consisting of City Staff and the consultant, the Task Force, the community, stakeholders, members of Council and additional staff resources as required. The goals of the study are as follows:


1) Obtain an understanding of the current secondary suite stock in Vaughan and issues associated with the provision of secondary suites


2) Conduct study with the benefit of a public consultation process


3) Recommend a “made-in Vaughan” strategy for provision of secondary suites


4) Develop tools required to implement the strategy


Overall, the Task Force Mandate is as follows: “to provide Council with recommendations based on the members experience and knowledge of the Secondary Suites subject and/or knowledge of local conditions and concerns. The Task Force will prepare advice to Council in response to the information that results from the study work, including research conducted by the project team and the public consultation process.”


 How Can I Learn More & Get Involved?

  • Take a look at the May 27th, 2013 Study Kick Off presentation here.


  • Take a look at this extract from Council Meeting Minutes of May 14, 2013.


*A second public consultation meeting has tentatively been scheduled for September/October 2013 and the third and final public consultation meeting is proposed for mid November 2013.


  • If you are interested in providing your input in the development of a secondary suites policy the City of Vaughan invites you to fill out this survey.


Stay tuned for more updates! Let me know if you have any questions, you can contact me here.





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