Recent research efforts have focused on the development of performance based seismic design methodologies for structures. However, the seismic design rules prescribed in the current Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code (CHBDC) is based largely on force based design principles. Although a set of performance requirements (performance objectives) for different return period earthquake events have been specified, there is no explicit requirement in the CHBDC to check the attainment of such performance objectives for the designed bridges. Also, no engineering parameters have been assigned to the specified performance objectives. This paper correlates seismic performance objectives (both qualitative and quantitative) with engineering parameters, based on the data collected from published experimental investigations and field investigation reports of recent earthquakes. A simple method has been developed and validated with experimental results for assessing the performance of bridges designed according to CHBDC. It has been found that the design rules prescribed in CHBDC do not guarantee that specified multiple seismic performance objectives can be achieved. An implicit seismic design rule in the form of performance response modification factor has been outlined for the performance based seismic design of bridges.