Voluntary Local Reviews of Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals

A handbook for Canadian communities

Getting started with a report on a community's well-being may seem daunting. There are many issues you can choose to track as indicators of progress. Reliable data may be hard to find. Community members may even disagree on what "progress" means. However, a growing number of communities that have produced Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) are sharing lessons learned in how to craft meaningful, holistic reports that measure sustainable development pushes at the neighbourhood level and connect them with global efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • This #VLR Handbook will help communities in #Canada navigate the rapidly growing pool of support materials to measure #SDGs progress and challenges at the local level.

  • In 2021, Canadian cities Kelowna and Winnipeg produced #VLRs to try and measure community well-being and #SDGs at the neighbourhood level. Our VLR Handbook shares lessons they learned.

  • Canadian communities' efforts to achieve the #SDGs and measure well-being offer special paths to advance #reconciliation and support Indigenous leadership.

Canadian communities have special considerations when they set out to create a VLR, given the country's multicultural makeup, history of colonialism and reconciliation efforts, and vast environmental assets, among other factors. This VLR handbook intends to help Canadian communities of all sizes to launch a VLR by quickly identifying tools, resources, and relevant experiences from other communities available for their support—especially the first Canadian VLRs produced by Kelowna, British Columbia, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

This document is the zero draft of what we hope will become a collaborative effort to collect and share resources, tools, and good practices for local SDG implantation and reporting in Canada. If you would like to be involved in the development of future iterations of this handbook, propose resources for inclusion, or suggest corrections or improvements, please contact IISD’s tracking progress team at