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Café permits, Patio permits, and Vending on the right of way

COVID-19 impact

As the Province of Ontario continues to move forward with the reopening plan, the City of Ottawa is continuing to provide assistance to support the re-opening of local businesses. On Wednesday June 10, 2020, Council approved the waiving of fees for all patio and café permits as well as approved a special permit to allow patios on private property. A private patio process has been created to allow businesses to operate during these unprecedented times and support the local economy in Ottawa. If you are interested in establishing a temporary private patio, please follow the steps below.

Café seating permit

The Café Seating program allows businesses to place limited outdoor seating on the road allowance. For 2020 only, the limit to café seating has been lifted and alcohol can be served at the café seating as long as all requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are met.

A Café Seating Permit is an annual permit.

Approximate cost

  • $62.00 annual processing fee
  • All other fees have been waived

Approximate timeline

  • Approved upon application and receipt of proof of insurance by the City.

Issuance of a café seating permit is conditional upon the following requirements

  • Payment of the Café Seating Permit fee
  • Proof of Commercial Liability Insurance

Permit Requirements:

  • Allowing at all times the required minimum unencumbered sidewalk width of 2.0 metres
  • Not obstructing or interfering with public travel, any public service, or maintenance operations
  • Tables and chairs must at all times be against the wall of the building
  • Tables and chairs must be removed by 11 p.m. each night
  • Maximum 2 permits per location

Who to contact

Please send an email to the Right-of-Way Permit Office

Where to apply

Please email the Right-of-Way permit office to obtain an application.

Are you planning to open a restaurant, bakery, café, butcher shop or another type of food establishment? The City of Ottawa has resources to assist business owners who are starting to plan and operate a new food establishment, including the Business Ambassador Service and the online Food Premises Application tool available on My ServiceOttawa.

Patio permit

The Patio program allows businesses, such as bars, restaurants and cafés, to put outdoor seating on the right of way. An initial review and approval in accordance with the provisions of the Right of Way Patio By-law is required, after which permits may be issued.

The permit for a patio sets out which months during a season the patio may be on the right of way. There are two patio seasons, a summer season from April 1 to October 31, and a winter season from November 1 to March 31. A permit is required for each season the patio is to be on the right of way.

Approximate cost

Approval process

  • $340.00 First Time Review Fee
  • $567.00 First Time Review fee if public circulation is required

Permit fees

  • $62.00 Permit Processing Fee
  • All other fees have been waived

Approximate timeline

  • 10 business days

Application Forms

Who to contact

Please send an email to the Right-of-Way Permit Office Where to apply

Where to apply

Please send your completed electronic application to the Right-of-Way Permit Office

Are you planning to open a restaurant, bakery, café, butcher shop or another type of food establishment? The City of Ottawa has resources to assist business owners who are starting to plan and operate a new food establishment, including the Business Ambassador Service and the online Food Premises Application tool available on My ServiceOttawa.

Patios on private property

The Patio program has been established to support local businesses during the unprecedented time. It has been set up to allow businesses, such as bars, restaurants and cafés, to establish temporary outdoor private patios. If you are interested in establishing a temporary private patio on private property for the 2020 patio season (until October 31, 2020), please follow the steps below:

  1. Determine if the proposed temporary patio within 30 metres of a Residential Zone and confirm that the proposed temporary patio does not require a building permit, by contacting one of the City’s Development Information Officers at:
    1. DIOLaurier@ottawa.ca; 613-580-2424 ext. 28333
    2. DIOKanata@ottawa.ca; 613-580-2424 ext. 33321
    3. DIOCentrum@ottawa.ca; 613-580-2424 ext. 29242
    4. DIOCentrepointe@ottawa.ca; 613-580-2424 ext.41250
  2. If the patio is not within 30 m of a Residential Zone and is temporary in nature (no building permit is required), skip step 3 and follow the General Requirements listed below.
  3. If the patio is within 30 m of a Residential Zone, please complete the one-page application form and follow the General Requirements listed below.
  4. Once the City receives the completed form, City staff will contact you regarding the property owner notification and provide the Ward Councillor notification of the proposed temporary patio.

General requirements for all temporary patios on private property for 2020:

  1. If alcohol is being served, all requirements are met under the Liquor License Act and applicable requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) including the required Letter of Non-Objection from the municipality.
  2. All applicable municipal by-laws are adhered to, including Noise By-law 2017-255 
  3. Ottawa Public Health requirements and guidance
  4. On-site parking may be used for temporary patio space, except the required number of designated spaces under the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act, 2005, which must remain available for parking use as per Traffic and Parking By-law 2017-301
  5. The business owner of a temporary patio will mitigate any negative impacts on abutting or nearby residential use, including prioritizing the use of the right of way land before utilizing private space near residential uses.
  6. Temporary patios must meet all Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act, 2005.
  7. A clear path of pedestrian travel of 2.0m (6’-6”) minimum should be maintained. A clear path of 2.3m (7’-6”) is recommended.
  8. All requirements of the Ontario Fire Code must be met.
  9. Please refer to updated information regarding tents and awnings on Building Code Services webpage.

Approximate cost

  • No cost

Approximate timeline

  • 10 business days

Application form

Application form - Patios on private property

Who to contact

Please send an email to the Right-of-Way Permit Office. 

Are you planning to open a restaurant, bakery, café, butcher shop or another type of food establishment? The City of Ottawa has resources to assist business owners who are starting to plan and operate a new food establishment, including the Business Ambassador Service and the online Food Premises Application tool available on My ServiceOttawa.

Vending on the right of way

For 2020 only, the Vending on the right of way program allows businesses to expand on the road allowance to assist businesses with physical distancing requirements. A retail pop up is a small retail expansion onto the sidewalk immediately in front of the store. A retail patio is a larger expansion into an available on-street parking space in front of the storefront.

A Vending on the right of way permit and application fee is required.

Approximate cost

  • $62.00 retail pop up annual processing fee
  • $402 ($62.00 plus a $340 circulation fee) retail patio annual processing fee

Approximate timeline

  • 10 business days

Issuance of a vending on the right of way permit is conditional upon the following requirements

  • Payment of the Permit fee
  • Proof of Commercial Liability Insurance

Permit Requirements:

  • Allowing at all times the required minimum unencumbered sidewalk width of 2.0 metres
  • Not obstructing or interfering with public travel, any public service, or maintenance operations
  • For retail patios:
    • On a street with a speed limit less than 50 km/hr or less
    • If located in an existing on-street parking space subject to time limits, may affect operating hours

Who to contact

Please send an email to the Right-of-Way Permit Office

Where to apply

Please email the Right-of-Way permit office to obtain an application.

Are you planning to open a restaurant, bakery, café, butcher shop or another type of food establishment? The City of Ottawa has resources to assist business owners who are starting to plan and operate a new food establishment, including the Business Ambassador Service and the online Food Premises Application tool available on My ServiceOttawa.