Clothing Donation Box By-law Review

On this page
Project status

Project overview

As part of the Council approved 2019-2022 By-law Review Workplan, the City of Ottawa is conducting a review of its Clothing Donation Box By-law (By-law No. 2013-98). This work is recommended for inclusion on the 2023-2026 By-law Review Work Plan.

This review will address issues identified by City Council in the By-law Review Strategy Report adopted in June 2015 and will also serve as an opportunity to revise and update the original by-law, which was enacted in 2013.


The Clothing Donation Box By-law provides that non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses can place clothing donation boxes on private property (non-residential) with the following requirements:

  • Permission of the property owner;
  • The donation box must be properly maintained;
  • The area surrounding the donation box must be maintained in accordance with property standards and maintenance regulations;
  • The boxes must display signage that clearly identifies that the operator is a charity, non-private organization or a for-profit business; and
  • The name and address of both the property owner and clothing donation box operator must also be identified on the donation box.

The By-law was enacted to respond to the increasing concerns about improperly maintained clothing donation boxes that often displayed misleading signage.


This review of the Clothing Donation Box By-law will address concerns such as maintenance of donation boxes, the unauthorized placement of donation boxes on private property, operator eligibility requirements, health and safety concerns, as well as textile diversion opportunities.

Issues under consideration include:

  • Examining the eligibility requirements for permitted clothing donation box operators, such as registered charities, non-profit organizations, and for-profit entities.
  • Whether clothing donation boxes should continue to be permitted on both private property as well as on municipal property, and related regulations;
  • Potential licensing or permit requirements for operating a clothing donation box;
  • Standard safety specifications for clothing donation boxes to ensure health and safety;
  • Alignment with the City’s Solid Waste Master Plan with respect to textile diversion.

A report on the by-law review, which would include any updated policy recommendations, will be presented to the Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee and City Council in 2023.

Key elements of review

This review will include an examination of current regulations and best practices from other municipalities, as well as consultations with key stakeholders in the City of Ottawa. This includes donation box operators such as registered charities, non-profit organizations, and for-profit entities who benefit from clothing donations, as well as affected property owners who host donation boxes. Public consultation has taken place to obtain input on experiences using donation boxes and any concerns residents may have about the current program.

Please consult this project page to stay informed about any updates to this review.

Providing input and comments

You can also send any comments, concerns, or questions on this review via mail, telephone, or e-mail to the staff contact identified below. Comments received will be considered by staff in the preparation of a staff report.

If you are a clothing donation box owner or operator, we would like to hear from you. Please contact City staff at the coordinates below.

For more information, contact:

David Kurs
Public Policy Development Branch
Emergency and Protective Services
City of Ottawa110 Laurier Avenue West, 5th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 27793

Personal information, if provided, will be retained exclusively by the City of Ottawa for no more than two years and will be kept confidential pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Any personal information you provide will only be used to contact you for the purposes of the by-law review. Summary results from the consultation will be retained in the City’s archives. Questions about how personal information may be used may be directed to the staff contact listed above.