Right of way patio permit

The Right of way 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 (ROW) patio by-law is required, after which permits may be issued.

The permit for a ROW 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 (April 1 to October 31) and a winter patio season (November 1 to March 31). A permit is required for each season the patio is to be on the right of way. ROW Patio closing times need to adhere to all requirements under the Province’s COVID Response Framework.

Approval process

  • $381.00 First Time Review Fee

Permit fees

  • $70.00 Permit Processing Fee
  • All other fees have been waived

Approximate timeline

  • 10 business days

Where to apply

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

Who to contact

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

The Good Neighbours (Patio Season) Guide [ PDF 535 KB ]

The Good Neighbours (A-Frame Signs) Guide [ PDF 1.031 MB ]

Heating of Patios and Blankets

Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has prepared a fact sheet regarding heaters on outdoor patios. All heaters must be approved for use in Canada and installed and operated as per the manufacturer’s instructions including proper ventilation and maintaining recommended clearances to combustibles and customers. All appropriate portable extinguishers are required to be on location. The type and size of portable extinguishers is relative to the size of patio and number of heaters in use. Patio Operators must also adhere to all requirements of the Ontario Fire Code.

For any inquiries related to fire pits, open-air fires or specific questions related to heating patios, please contact FirePrevention@ottawa.ca.

Please be advised that Ottawa Public Health has recommended that either customers bring their own blankets or if blankets are provided, that they are laundered in between uses. It is also important to ensure that combustibles, such as blankets, are kept away from any heating sources.

Covered Patios – Tents and other types of structures

Building Code Services, Ottawa Public Health and Fire Services have advised that at least two sides of any structure (i.e. walls) must be open while the patio is in operation, regardless of the weather. This is to ensure adequate air circulation because of COVID-19 and to avoid carbon monoxide build up from heating sources.

Anyone wishing to continue using or installing some form of covered structure for the season, needs to review the requirements as per Building Code Services and ensure that all requirements have been met. Building Code Services will continue to expedite permit approvals for tents, patios, awnings and canopies within 5 business days. Please contact Building Code Services directly for any inquiries at buildingpermits@ottawa.ca.

Physical Distancing

In the current stage of the Province’s COVID Response Framework, please ensure any modifications to the layout of patios (such as heater locations, seating layout) respect the minimum 2 metre physical distancing requirements. Plan as if physical distancing will be a requirement but be able to adapt if this requirement is lifted. Please note that all patios must adhere to the Province’s COVID Response Framework.

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