1. What is an Official Plan?

    The Official Plan is a strategic planning document that establishes a policy framework to guide the physical, social, environmental, and economic development of the city. It is a document that: 

    • Implements goals, objectives, and land use policies to serve the city's communities
    • Directs density, housing supply, protection of environmental features and agricultural areas, cultural heritage preservation and more 
    • Guides growth and development to implement the vision for the city’s long-term evolution 

    2. Why is the City updating the Vaughan Official?

    The Vaughan Official Plan 2010 contains a vision for the future that stresses responsible governance, sustainable planning, economic leadership, transparency, accountability, and inclusivity. 

    This vision is reflected in the current Vaughan Official Plan 2010, which has guided Vaughan’s growth over the past decade. It is now time to update Vaughan Official Plan 2010 through the Official Plan Review to better meet the needs of current and future citizens, workers, and visitors, and guide the city's growth for the next 30 years and beyond.

    Under the Planning Act, the Vaughan Official Plan must be updated to conform to the updated Provincial policies and plans that direct growth and development in Ontario, including the Provincial Policy Statement, Greenbelt Plan, and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Associated targets for new people and jobs Vaughan must accommodate by the year 2051. The Official Plan must also conform to the updated York Region Official Plan, that directs growth and development in the Region, which was updated through the York Region Municipal Comprehensive Review and approved by the Province on November 4, 2022. 

    To ensure Vaughan continues to be a great place to live, work and play, our city’s growth must align with the needs and values of current and future residents and businesses.  

    3. What role is the Province of Ontario and York Region in land use planning?

    Land use planning is the management of land and resources, and in Ontario it is a shared responsibility between the Province, regional municipalities like York Region or single-tier municipalities like Toronto, and local municipalities like Vaughan.

    The Province sets the vision and framework for land use planning in Ontario through legislation and policy documents such as the Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement, and plans including the:

    York Region collaborates with its local municipalities, including Vaughan, and engages with community members to implement the Province's planning framework and provide more detailed direction for the region through the York Regional Official Plan. The York Region Official Plan must conform with the Provincial plans.

    The City of Vaughan engages with community members to implement both the Provincial and Regional policies and plans, and provide detailed planning direction for the city through the Vaughan Official Plan. The Vaughan Official Plan must conform with the Provincial plans and York Regional Official Plan.

    4. What is the Vaughan Official Plan 2010 Structure?

    The Vaughan Official Plan 2010 is a planning policy document that directs density, housing supply, protection of environmental features and agricultural areas, cultural heritage preservation and more. The Vaughan Official Plan is made up of two volumes and land use Schedules.  

    Volume 1 of the Vaughan Official Plan 2010 contains overarching city-wide policies and implements the vision for the City as a whole. 

    Volume 2 of the Vaughan Official Plan 2010 contains policies for specific areas of land at different scales. This volume includes Secondary Plans, Area Specific Policies, and Site Specific Polices.

    Schedules to the Vaughan Official Plan 2010 map land use planning policies corresponding with both Volume 1 and 2 of the Vaughan Official Plan 2010.  

    5. What difference will what I say make in how the City grows?

    The City has flexibility to tailor the Official Plan to meet the needs of current and future residents, businesses and other stakeholders, and incorporate community feedback where appropriate. The updated Vaughan Official Plan must conform to the updated York Region Official Plan, Provincial Plans and Policies, and other legislation.

    Join the conversation! Your feedback, opinions and thoughts matter and will be recorded throughout the Project. Help us answer questions like:

    • What will communities in the future look and feel like?
    • What kind of business development and job opportunities should we plan for?
    • How will people move around the City?
    • How can the City continue to act as environmental stewards, create a sustainable environment, and increase our resilience to climate change?
    • How can the City continue to create a vibrant place for people to live, work and play?
    • How can the City design accessible communities that will continue to meet the needs of all residents and allow us to age-in-place?

    6. How will I know what happens with my feedback?

    The City is committed to reporting back on what was heard from the community on a regular basis. Feedback summaries will be released after each phase of the Official Plan Review. These summaries will explain how the feedback influenced the work completed to date.

    Join the conversation! Subscribe to our project mailing list to stay informed on the Official Plan Review and be the first to hear about opportunities to get involved. You can also follow us on social media; #ForwardVaughan! 

    7. How will the updated Vaughan Official Plan address rapid growth and change?

    Vaughan has experienced rapid growth over the past several decades and is continuing to grow. It is important that the City plans for new growth in a way that is strategic, thoughtful, appropriate, and aligned with what our residents and businesses value most; the updated Official Plan will do this.  

    While we update the Official Plan, the current Vaughan Official Plan 2010 will remain in effect and direct all planning decisions. Once the updated Official Plan is approved, it will replace the Vaughan Official Plan 2010.  

    The updated Official Plan will need to strike a balance between matters such as directing growth where it can best be accommodated, contributing toward environmental integrity, protecting the character of existing neighbourhoods, and providing different transportation options. 

    The updated Official Plan will also provide the policy framework necessary to support capital investments projects. It is important the City leverages its resources to attract innovation and jobs to this growing community, while striving to continually improve the quality of living for its residents for years to come. 

    8. When will the Official Plan Review be completed?

    It is expected that the Official Plan Review will be completed by later 2023. As a prominent Greater Toronto Area municipality, Vaughan is large and complex. The City is reviewing and updating existing policies to conform with recent changes to Provincial Plans and Policies and York Region’s updated Regional Official Plan. The City will continue to involve the community every step of the way, and report back to you on our progress throughout the life of the Project. 

    9. What will the Vaughan Official Plan Review Address?

    The new Official Plan will contain an updated vision for the future stated through goals and policies. The Official Plan Review process will occur in four Phases and will include community engagement throughout. 

    Phase 1: Visioning and Background Review 

    Phase 1 involves the development of a community-based vision and goals through community participation on activities on this page and through webinars and events. 

    Phase 1 also involves research into seven key topics shown as icons below. 

    A team of experts in these topic areas are completing research and will share their findings with the community through topic-based webinars and through activities on this page. This research will be the starting point for Background Papers that will be developed for each topic area. 

    Phase 2: Policy Issues and Directions 

    Phase 2 involves the development of policy issues and directions and the new Draft Official Plan, informed by engagement events such as Public Open Houses and City-Wide Town Halls (dates to be announced). 

    Phase 3: Official Plan Adoption 

    Phase 3 involves revisions to the new Draft Official Plan the Statutory Public Open Houses and Statutory Public Meeting (dates to be announced), and Council adoption of the new Official Plan. 

    Phase 4: Official Plan Approval 

    Phase 4 involves the submission of the new Official Plan to York Region for approval, Project completion and final approval of the new Official Plan. 

    10. Vaughan is growing now. How will growth be managed over the next two years or so while we wait for the Official Plan Review to be complete?

    The existing Vaughan Official Plan 2010 will be used to guide and direct growth until the updated Vaughan Official Plan is approved. Once approved, the updated Vaughan Official Plan will replace the Vaughan Official Plan 2010.

    11. How is the Vaughan Official Plan different from the York Region Official Plan? Do we need both?

    The York Region is made up of nine cities and towns, including Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville and Vaughan. The York Region Official Plan contains policies that apply broadly to these municipalities. The Planning Act requires each of these municipalities to develop an official plan that conforms to the York Region Official Plan, but also contains a level of detail specific to the context and needs of their respective communities. Both the York Region Official Plan and the Vaughan Official Plan are necessary documents to ensure local, regional and provincial planning interests are met in a coordinated fashion.

    12. How does the Official Plan Review fit with other Vaughan strategic planning documents?

    The Official Plan Review, alongside Green Directions Vaughan, is core to the implementation of Vaughan’s overall strategy for managing growth. The updated Official Plan will provide the policies and vision that will support and complement the City's Master Plans and other key strategic documents.

    13. Why are there so many planning initiatives underway?

    Responsible city planning can be complex and very technical. City planning initiatives are required at different scales of development ranging from the city-wide Projects, like the Official Plan Review, to studies for specific areas including Secondary Plans, Area and Site-Specific policies, Block Plans, Draft Plans of Subdivision, and Site Plans. Master Plans and other technical studies are undertaken to plan for City priorities such as sustainability, transportation, walking and cycling, parks and trails, and infrastructure among others.

    The Official Plan is the overarching planning document that ties the various planning initiatives, Vaughan Master Plans, and other studies together, and guides all scales of growth and development.

    14. How will this plan respect the character of existing stable neighbourhoods?

    The Vaughan Official Plan provides a structure for where and how Vaughan will grow. It directs growth to where it can be best accommodated and has a mandate and policies to protect the character of established neighbourhoods. 

    To ensure Vaughan continues to be a great place to live, work and play, our city’s growth must align with the needs and values of current and future residents and businesses, and that includes the protection of existing and stable neighbourhoods.