As many as 10,000 jobs in the City’s overall economy are directly and indirectly related to agriculture. Farmland occupies about 40 per cent of the municipality's rural lands. Close to 300,000 acres is farmed by almost 1,200 agricultural operations, with cash-crop and livestock farms producing agricultural products.
Other agriculture related businesses include nurseries, tree farms, beekeeping, farm supply businesses, veterinarians, agronomists and specialty niche operations often relating to the agri-tourism industry.
Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is responsible for ensuring that the unique interests and requirements of the City’s rural areas are addressed by the City. The Committee makes recommendations to Council on the agricultural and associated industries, the rural economy, rural residential communities, land development and landscaping, transportation, water and wastewater services, and environmental protection.
Agricultural burn permits
If you are applying for an Annual Agricultural Burn Permit, you must provide a copy of your Farm Business Registration Number at the time of application. If you are not the owner of the property, you must provide written authorization from the landowner giving you permission to apply for a permit for that location. This permit will allow you to burn windrows fires overnight from Monday to Friday. These types of fires are usually left to burn for days at a time due to their size (i.e. 50 metres in length, 5 metres in width and 3 metres in height) and require supervision at all times. Find out more about open air fire permits.
There are approximately 800 fire-related deaths in Canada each year. Many of them occur on farms. Ottawa Fire Services provides safety rules for the prevention of farm fires.
The land application program for biosolids is carried out in accordance with the Best Management Practices established by the City's Medical Officer of Health, and provincial laws and regulations (Ontario and Quebec). For more information refer to Biosolids Management.
Farm equipment on the highway
The Ministry of Transportation – Farm Guide has been developed to provide general information and clarification for the laws that apply to farm equipment and select provisions that apply to farm trucks.
For information on nutrient management and grant opportunities to help offset compliance costs, see livestock.
Tile Drain Loans
Landowners planning to install a tile drainage system on their agricultural land are eligible for a tile loan under an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs program.
To obtain the appropriate application forms, contact the City of Ottawa Municipal Drainage Unit at 613-580-2424 x25008.
Business and resources
Resources for starting your business
- BizPaL is an online, one-stop service for entrepreneurs that simplifies the process of finding information on business permits and licences from all levels of government - federal, provincial, and municipal. Simply answer a series of questions to obtain a list of permits and licences specific to your business activities, which includes basic information and links to more details where available.
- The City of Ottawa has compiled a list of resources and contact information for starting and growing your business.
- The Ministry of Government Services Web site also provides comprehensive information on starting a new business and how you can register a new business.
- If you are planning to operate a business in the City of Ottawa, you may require a municipal business licence. Refer to the business licensing page for more information and an application form.
- The Ottawa Home Based Business Guide was created by the City in partnership with the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) Entrepreneurship Centre to assist entrepreneurs looking to start a home-based business, as well as for existing home-based business owners looking for additional resources.
- Public Library (OPL) Business Services provides one-on-one business consultations, by appointment, at all library branches, including rural locations. Contact your local library branch or email a business librarian directly to make an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Just Food Start-Up Farm Program supports new farmers in the Ottawa region by offering access to land, shared infrastructure/equipment, and workshops aiming to enable more people in this region to start their own successful farm business.
Rural business organizations
There are a variety of key organizations and associations that assist rural businesses in the marketing and promotion of the larger agricultural and tourism sectors.
Rural association partnership program
The Rural Association Partnership Program is designed as one common funding program with a total budget of $75,000 to support the rural economy by providing funding for rural business organizations, fairs and farmers markets. Funding is project based with a defined beginning and end, and measurable outcomes.
Public Private Partnerships (P3’s)
Public-Private Partnerships (P3’s) are contracts between government and private-sector partners that use creative approaches to enable the design, building, financing, operation and/or maintenance of facilities that serve the public. Sometimes, City of Ottawa P3’s involves federal and/or provincial government partners. P3 approaches enable the City to offer residents new or better facilities that it could not afford to undertake on its own, or that it does not have the specialized skills to undertake.
For more information, refer to About Public Private Partnerships.
Procurement opportunities (bids and tenders)
The City's Supply Management Division administers purchasing activities in accordance with the City of Ottawa Purchasing By-law and established policies and procedures to ensure:
- The competitive process is cost effective and used whenever possible
- Fair, open and equitable treatment to all suppliers
- Best value for taxpayer dollars
- Conformity with the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), and the Ontario-Quebec Procurement Agreement (OQPA)
For detailed information on procurement opportunities, refer to the Purchasing page.
Eastern Ontario Development Fund
The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment’s Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) gives money to businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in eastern Ontario.
The fund supports projects that create jobs, encourage innovation, collaboration and cluster development and attract private sector investment.
For more information visit the EODF website.
Tourism and agri-tourism
Directional farm signage program
The Directional Farm Signage Program promotes distinct city-sanctioned signage that assists the public to locate rural farm based businesses.
Savour Ottawa develops and promotes Ottawa as a top, year-round culinary destination. Savour Ottawa local food is grown, raised and harvested in Ottawa, the counties of Prescott Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Leeds and Grenville, Lanark, Renfrew, Frontenac and the Outaouais.
Ottawa Harvest Table 2014
Tickets are still available for Ottawa Harvest Table 2014 on Sunday, August 17, from noon to 2 p.m. at Brewer Park, beside the Ottawa Farmer's Market.
Ottawa's finest chefs will use seasonal ingredients from local farmers and producers to make unique dishes for this family-style feast. Tickets for regular admission are $75. Visit savourottawa.ca
Buy local food guide
Just Food works with farmers and others to encourage the sourcing and selling local food. One initiative undertaken in partnership with the City of Ottawa is the development of a Buy Local Food Guide.
The guide allows people to connect with local farms and markets and develop ongoing relationships with farmers in Ottawa. See Just Food for more information on program initiatives.
Rural events and attractions listing
The City has developed an online calendar for not-for-profit rural and agricultural groups in Ottawa to promote their community events. It features attractions such as farmers markets, agricultural fairs, museums and other exciting destinations.
On-Farm Diversified Uses By-law Provisions
In 2021, the City adopted zoning amendments to permit farm diversified uses in support of Ottawa’s farmers, ensuring you have opportunities to innovate and diversify your business while providing stability and viability for the future of agriculture in the city.
Examples of farm diversified uses may include, but are not limited to:
- Small-Scale Retail Shop
- Yoga Classes
- Furniture Maker or Artist Studio
- Small-Scale Restaurant or Bakery
- Small-Scale Weddings
- Cold or Dry Storage for local farmers
- Value-added cider or wine production and sales
On-farm diversified use means a use that is ancillary to the principal agricultural use of a property, and includes but is not limited to educational displays, veterinary clinic, restaurant, bakery, retail store, retail food store, micro-brewery, micro-distillery, place of assembly, solar installations, agri-tourism uses, and uses that produce value-added agricultural products.
Agriculture-related use means those farm-related uses that that are intended to provide direct products and/or services to farm operations as a primary activity, are compatible with local farm operations, and are limited to:
- non-accessory storage of farm produce and farm related machinery;
- sorting or packing of farm produce
Agricultural use means the cultivation of the soil to produce crops and the raising of farm animals, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing includes:
- the growing of crops
- nurseries, greenhouses, market gardens, orchards, vineyards, agro-forestry operations and maple syrup production
- the keeping and raising of livestock, fowl, fish, bees or fur or wool bearing animals
- farm-based home industry involving the production of value-added or value-retained products from produce grown or raised on-site
- a farm produce outlet selling agricultural products produced on the premises
Planning Your Project
Those wishing to start an on-farm diversified or agriculture-related business will be required to comply with existing municipal regulations.
Please refer to the On-farm Diversified Guide Document [ PDF 15.764 MB ]
Development Information Officer, 613-580-2424 ext. 23434 or email@example.com