LEED Canada Rating Systems


LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

There are a number of LEED® rating systems available to meet the needs of different building and project types. Each LEED rating system consists of prerequisites and credits. Prerequisites are required elements, or green building strategies that must be included in any LEED certified project. Credits are optional elements, or strategies that projects can elect to pursue to gain points toward LEED certification.

With four possible levels of certification (certified, silver, gold and platinum), LEED is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of green building strategies that best fit the constraints and goals of particular projects.

Projects can register for LEED Canada rating systems until October 31, 2016. After this date, projects must register for certification under LEED v4. The LEED v4 rating systems, developed by the USGBC, are used worldwide. Alternative Compliance Paths facilitate application of the rating systems in different regions of the world; for more information, including a list of Canadian Alternative Compliance Paths , please see the LEED v4 webpage.

Choosing a LEED Canada Rating System

If you are registering for a LEED Canada rating system and unsure whether your project is a candidate for LEED certification, identify the rating system you believe best applies using the short descriptions below and then review the Applicability document for additional detail. Next, review the rating system’s Checklist; generally, your project is a viable candidate for certification if it meets all prerequisites and can achieve the minimum number of points necessary to earn the Certified level. Projects registered on or after September 1, 2012 must also meet the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) as outlined below.

New Construction: The LEED Canada NC rating system applies to new construction and major renovations of commercial and institutional buildings, i.e., buildings regulated by Part 3 of the National Building Code. It also applies to retail, mid- and high-rise multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), public assembly buildings, manufacturing plants, and other types of buildings. ApplicabilityProject ChecklistAdditional information

Core and Shell: LEED Canada CS is a derivative of LEED Canada NC and applies to buildings where the owner controls 50% or less of the building area that will be fit-up to LEED Canada NC requirements prior to certification. Like the LEED Canada NC rating system, LEED Canada CS applies to new construction and major renovations of commercial and institutional buildings, i.e., buildings regulated by Part 3 of the National Building Code. Generally, projects using LEED Canada CS are office occupancies where the developer has no control over the final interior fit-ups of the tenant. ApplicabilityProject ChecklistAdditional information

Commercial Interiors: The LEED Canada-CI rating system is applicable to tenant improvements of new or existing office space. It is important to note that LEED Canada-CI applies to both tenants' and base building owner's work associated with the commercial interiors improvements project. ApplicabilityProject ChecklistAdditional information

Existing Buildings: The LEED Canada EB:O&M 2009 rating system was designed to certify the sustainability of ongoing operations of existing commercial and institutional buildings, i.e. buildings regulated by Subsection 2.1.2 (i.e. Parts 3, 4, 5 and 6) of Canada’s National Building Code. LEED Canada EB:O&M provides owners and operators of existing buildings an entry point into the LEED certification process and is applicable to building operations, processes, systems upgrades and minor facility alterations or additions. It is targeted at single buildings, whether owner occupied or multi-tenanted and is a whole building rating system applicable to the entire building; individual tenant spaces are ineligible. ApplicabilityProject ChecklistAdditional information

Neighbourhood Development: The USGBC has developed the LEED for Neighbourhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system to guide and assess sustainable community development. Additional information.

Healthcare, Retail and School Projects: Projects of these building types have two certification options open to them. Please see the following FAQ for more information: Registering a project with the CaGBC or the USGBC.

LEED Volume Program: The LEED Volume Program provides a streamlined certification path for organizations planning to certify a large number of projects. For information about participation in this program, please see the FAQ: Registering a project with the CaGBC or the USGBC.

Homes: Residential projects ranging from single family homes to multi-family buildings of up to three residential stories can take advantage of the LEED Canada for Homes program. Residential projects of up to 6 stories may also make use of the USGBC’s LEED for Homes 2008 Midrise program – speak with a Provider for further details.

Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs)

The MPRs list the basic characteristics that a project must possess to be eligible for certification under the LEED Canada rating systems, therefore defining a broad category of buildings and spaces that the LEED Canada rating systems were designed to evaluate. The MPR document helps guide Canadian projects to determine if the scope of their project is appropriate for certification: it provides direction for specific situations; establishes exceptions; and describes the intent behind each requirement.

The MPRs are mandatory for all projects registered on or after September 1, 2012 and supersede the MPRs as noted in the LEED Canada Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction 2009. All projects required to follow the MPRs must provide a signed MPR form with their project submission, declaring the project meets all MPRs or allowed exceptions. Projects registered earlier are strongly encouraged to adopt guidance from these MPRs and their documented exceptions for greater clarity on project scope issues.

Download the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) for LEED Canada Rating Systems (pdf)