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Door-to-door Sales: What Consumers Need to Know

The City of Ottawa would like to remind residents that while many people who come to your door offering goods and services are legitimate, you should always be diligent before making a purchase. 

Update: As of March 1, 2018, the Province of Ontario has banned door-to-door sales of the following items and services:

  • Air cleaners
  • Air conditioners
  • Air purifiers
  • Duct cleaning services
  • Furnaces
  • Water filters
  • Water heaters
  • Water purifiers
  • Water softeners
  • Water treatment devices
  • Bundles of these goods and services

For more information, visit: (link is external)

Before you hear a sales pitch, remember:         

  • Always ask a salesperson to identify themselves by showing you company issued identification or some other form of photo identification. Make note of their name and the business they represent. 
  • Never share personal information (for example, a utility bill). 
  • Never leave the salesperson unattended in any room of your home. If you feel threatened or intimidated, ask them to leave. If they refuse, call the police. 
  • Local utility companies, the City of Ottawa and government agencies don’t send salespeople door-to-door.

Always know who you’re doing business with.           

  • Be wary of high pressure sales tactics and “limited time only” signing incentives.   A good company will be willing to give you time to make up your mind. 
  • Go online and look for customer reviews. A reputable company will be registered with the Better Business Bureau and be able to give you strong references. 

 Know the terms of the contract before you sign.   

  • Always make sure you get a detailed contract in writing. Read it carefully before signing anything. Scrutinize the fine print and know your cancellation rights. 
  • Make sure the company name on promotional material matches the company name on the contract. 
  • Be suspicious if a home service company requires payment in full before the work is started. A staggered payment model using post-dated cheques, for example, is considered an industry best practice. 
  • Request a copy of the contract and keep it for your records. 

Having second thoughts? Know your rights.

  • The Ontario Consumer Protection Act gives you special rights when you buy something in your home. For example, you have 10 days to cancel a contract for whatever reason. For more information about your rights, visit the Ministry of Consumer Services website or contact the ministry directly at 1-800-889-9768. 

Information for Tenants

Your home is your home, regardless if you rent or own.

As a tenant, you have rights.

The same rights apply, no matter where you live, how much you pay for rent, your age, gender, cultural background or citizenship status.

While you have certain responsibilities as a tenant as well, your landlord also has responsibility towards you.

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Pay your rent
  • Don’t damage property
  • Keep your place clean
  • Report problems about your place promptly
  • Respect the rules of the building
  • Follow City by-laws

Landlord Responsibilities

  • Ensure the property is safe and well maintained
  • Ensure common areas are clean
  • Provide proper heat whenever required
  • Keep property pest and rodent free
  • Respect tenant rights
  • Follow City by-laws

When you have a problem

The Landlord and Tenant Board resolves most disputes between landlords and tenants. However, there are many cases where the City of Ottawa can also help you.

Each year, the City helps hundreds of tenants deal with issues like:

  • Not enough heat
  • Bed bugs, cockroaches, other pests
  • Exterior waste and debris
  • Building maintenance issues
  • Water and plumbing problems

How to get help

  1. Report the issue by calling 3-1-1.
  2. You will need to provide your contact information. This information will not be shared with your landlord. Your privacy will be protected.
  3. You will be provided a Service Request Number. Save this number. You can use it to track your case at any time.
  4. A By-law Officer will contact you to get more details about your complaint and will come to inspect the property as necessary.
  5. If the By-law Officer sees a problem that presents an immediate danger, they will issue an Emergency Order to fix the problem.
  6. If the problem is not an emergency, the By-law Officer can issue a Notice of Violation or a Property Standards Order for the landlord to fix the problem.   Because of limitations on the City’s authority given by provincial law, a minimum of 19 days must be given to the landlord to do the necessary work.
  7. Extensions may be granted, except where there is a public health or safety risk.
  8. The By-law officer will return to re-inspect the property. If the problem has not been fixed, the City can do the necessary work and bill the landlord, and/or the landlord can be issued a fine for not complying.

Your privacy

Please note that under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”), your personal information will never be shared or used for any other purpose other than the reason for which it was provided. Staff may need to share the information internally in order action your complaint or concern. For example, in order to rectify a by-law complaint that was called into 311, your complaint will need to be shared with By-law & Regulatory Services in order to provide the service that you requested. Caller identification is considered personal information and is kept confidential.

There are specific and limited circumstances where personal information may be disclosed. This could be where consent has been provided, or in the case of an active police investigation. The list of circumstances where disclosure of personal information is allowed can be found under Section 32 of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

The City of Ottawa takes the privacy of personal information very seriously. If you believe that your personal information has been inappropriately shared or breached, please report this to the Access to Information and Privacy Office by calling 613-580-2424 ext. 21898.

For more information regarding your privacy, please see the links provided below.

Access to information and protection of privacy

Other Languages

This information is also available (as a PDF document) in the following languages:

Parking in Private Lots

The City of Ottawa’s Deputization Program aims to address parking violations on privately owned parking lots by authorizing Private Parking Enforcement Agencies (PPEAs) to issue City of Ottawa Parking Infraction Notices (a parking ticket). This protects the public by providing access to the Court processes that are available to contest any City of Ottawa parking ticket.

As part of the current Private Parking Enforcement Agencies program, PPEAs deputized by the City are not permitted to tow or move vehicles without the presence of a City of Ottawa Parking Control, By-law Enforcement Officer or a Police Officer.

The Private Parking Enforcement Agency Towing Program permits qualifying PPEAs to tow vehicles from the private properties for which they provide enforcement , without having a Parking Control, By-law or Police Officer on-site.

The following are the minimum requirements for participation in the pilot:

  • The PPEA* must be licensed in accordance with Schedule 30 to the Licensing By-law, relating to Private Parking Enforcement Agencies, unless exempted under the by-law, and must have entered into a Cost Recovery Agreement with the City;
  • The owner or occupier of the relevant property must consent to such services on the property from which the tow is to occur;
  • The tow may occur only upon the third private property parking infraction on the same property for the same plated motor vehicle;
  • Upon the third offence, in addition to the tow, a City of Ottawa Parking Infraction Notice (a ticket) must be issued; and,
  • The tow request must be arranged through By-law & Regulatory Services, which will dispatch a City of Ottawa contracted tow truck (Metro or Gervais).

*PPEAs eligible to participate in the Towing Pilot:

  1. Algonquin College
  2. Capital Parking
  3. Capital Security
  4. Capital Systems
  5. Carleton Parking
  6. CHEO
  7. Garda Security
  8. Indigo
  9. La Cite Collegiale
  10. Macdonald-Cartier Ottawa Airport
  11. Murray & Murray
  12. Ottawa Community Housing
  13. Ottawa Hospital
  14. Phoenix Security
  15. Praetorian Garde
  16. Precise ParkLink
  17. Queensway Carleton Hospital
  18. Response Security
  19. Royal Ottawa Hospital
  20. University of Ottawa

For more information, please contact

Consumer Protection Ontario offers additional tips to motorists whose vehicles have been towed. 

Payday loan establishments: what consumers need to know

What is a payday loan?

Pursuant to the Province of Ontario’s Payday Loans Act, 2008, a payday loan is a short-term, small value loan (up to $1,500) in exchange for a future payment, typically intended to be repaid by the borrower on the next pay cheque. The cost of a loan is $15 per $100 (for example, $45 interest accrues during the two-week period for a $300 loan).

Further information on payday loans, including options to consider before getting a payday loan, can be found online at Government of Canada, Payday loan information from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Consumer protection

Effective July 2018, the Province of Ontario implemented new rules to enhance and further protect consumers who wish to obtain payday loans. These included:

  • lenders cannot lend you more than 50% of your net income per loan
  • lenders must show the cost of borrowing a payday loan as an annual percentage rate in advertising or agreements
  • the maximum fee that cheque cashing services can charge for government-issued cheques is $10
  • lenders must give you the option of an extended payment plan if you take out three loans within a 63-day period.

Further information regarding what you need to know before you take out a payday loan from a payday loan establishment (including online payday loan lenders and brokers) can be found on online at Ontario Payday loan: know your rights.

If you have a complaint concerning the service received at a payday loan establishment, please contact Consumer Protection Ontario online or by calling 1-800-889-9768 (TTY: 1-877-666-6545).

Credit counselling services

The City of Ottawa recommends the following agencies to provide you with information and assist you with credit counselling:

Credit Counselling Canada, or call 1-866-398-5999

EBO Financial Education Centre or call 613-746-0400

Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services (OACCS) or call 1-905-945-5644

City of Ottawa by-laws limit and regulate Payday Loan Establishments

Planning changes:

As of September 25, 2019, Payday loan establishments are:

  • permitted in limited commercial zones
  • only permitted in a building containing other commercial uses
  • prohibited in a building containing residential uses
  • required to be located a minimum distance of:
    • 1000 metres from any lots containing another payday loan establishment
    • 300 metres from a lot containing a school or a post-secondary educational facility
    • 500 metres from a lot containing a casino or racetrack.

Please note that payday loan establishments that were lawfully established prior to the new planning rules may have legal non-conforming rights that permit them to continue to operate at the existing location provided there is no interruption of use. However, if the operator chooses to relocate, the new establishment would have to comply with the new zoning restrictions. This must be determined on a case by case basis.

Licensing rules:

In addition to the requirement of provincial licensing under the Payday Loans Act, 2008, payday loan establishments must also be licensed by the City of Ottawa. This will assist in monitoring each location to see that the use complies with City by-laws including zoning, and that the owner/operator of the establishment is licensed by the Province of Ontario, has the required criminal record checks completed, is properly insured, and posts a financial information poster in their establishment as specified by the Chief Licensing Inspector.

If you have a complaint regarding the location or municipal licensing of payday loan establishments, please contact 311 and ask to speak to By-law Regulatory Services or through at Request for Service.

If you have a complaint concerning the service received at a payday loan establishment, please contact Consumer Protection Ontario online or by calling 1-800-889-9768 (TTY: 1-877-666-6545).

Retail store closures on Remembrance Day

In recognition of the significance of Remembrance Day in honouring Canadian Veterans and those serving in the military currently, and in accordance with the City of Ottawa’s Remembrance Day By-law 2008-355 , most retail businesses are required to close until 12:30 p.m. on November 11th each year. The exceptions to the closure requirement are:

  • Food/grocery, tobacco, antique and handicraft stores with less than 2400 square feet in total area used for serving/selling to the public
  • Pharmacies with less than 7500 square feet in total area used for serving/selling to the public. Therefore, pharmacies located inside larger stores must be closed until 12:30 p.m.
  • Book/newspaper dealers which store is less than 2400 square feet in total area used for serving/selling to the public
  • Convenience stores (e.g. “corner” stores)
  • Nurseries, gardening supply stores and florists
  • Gasoline/fuel stations
  • Businesses selling propane, diesel, natural gas and associated fuel products
  • Businesses dealing in the rental of motor vehicles and boats
  • Businesses dealing in the repair of motor vehicles and boats, which includes the portion of larger stores where vehicle repairs are being provided.

Note also that:

  • The by-law deals only with fixed, enclosed premises
  • The closure requirement under the by-law does not apply to:
    • hotels and motels
    • restaurants (take-out, fast food, sit-down)
    • recreational facilities and fitness centres
    • doctors’, dentists’, optometrists’ offices
    • medical centres
    • funeral homes
    • hair salons and spas
    • pet groomers
    • vehicle repair shops
    • repair services for computers, furnaces, air conditioners, pools
    • pay-day loan services
    • realtors
    • dry cleaners
    • vendors at outdoor markets (i.e. ByWard, Parkdale)
  • The closure requirement under the by-law does apply to:
    • tourist areas exempted by by-law from the Retail Business Holidays Act (which regulates retail store opening on Statutory Holidays) including the ByWard Market BIA, the Downtown Rideau BIA, the Glebe BIA, the Rideau Centre, Sparks Street Mall and the Loblaws Supermarket at 363 Rideau Street, unless any businesses within those areas fall under an exemption under the Remembrance Day By-law as noted above
      • in other words, their “tourist area exemption” cannot be used on November 11th. Many of their businesses will have to be closed until 12:30 p.m., unless they fall under an exemption in the by-law (e.g. news stand) or the by-law does not apply to them in general (e.g. restaurants)
    • Street vendors on:
      • Rideau Street or Wellington Street between Sussex Drive and Metcalfe Street
      • Elgin Street between Wellington Street and Queen Street
    • travel agents
    • eyeglass retailers (i.e. the portion of the space in which eyeglasses are sold)
  • In the case of car dealerships that also operate repair shops, the retail sales portion of the dealership must be closed to the public. Where the repair portion does not have a separate entrance, clients should be notified that the retail portion is closed (e.g. via signage).

Note that retail businesses which are required to close under the by-law and are normally open 24 hours, are required to be closed from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on November 11th.

For more information, you may refer to the Remembrance Day By-law or contact the City of Ottawa’s By-law and Regulatory Services at 613-580-2424, ext. 12735.

Taxis and Private Transportation Companies: What Passengers Need to Know

Taxis and other private transportation companies are an important part of Ottawa’s transportation network.

The City of Ottawa licenses and regulates taxi and private transportation companies to ensure passenger and driver safety, as well as accessibility and quality of service.

Ottawa’s more than 1,100 licensed taxis, including nearly 200 accessible vehicles, are driven by over 2,000 licensed drivers who provide service 24/7, 365 days a year.

Taxi meter rates are set by the City in order to protect consumers. In the absence of these regulations, passengers would largely not be in a position to assess a fair price given the variable nature of the service in terms of both distance and quality of vehicle and driver.

In addition to traditional taxi services, Ottawa has embraced emerging ‘ride-sharing’ services, such as Uber and Lyft, to provide residents and visitors with more transportation options while still ensuring public safety and accountability.

The City of Ottawa would like to highlight to residents and visitors the safety and service benefits of using licensed transportation providers.  

All licensed vehicles-for-hire require:

  • Driver screening: Police Records Check for Service with the vulnerable sector and a Statement of Driving Record
  • Vehicle Age Limit: 10-year-maximum age limit (except classic, vintage and specialty limousines)
  • Safety certification: Annual MTO Safety Standards Certificate and a biannual inspection for all vehicles over five years of age.
  • Insurance:  Minimum of $5-million commercial general liability insurance as well as motor-vehicle insurance of $2-million.

Tow Truck Operators: What Consumers Need to Know

Consumer Protection

No one plans for their vehicle to breakdown or getting involved in a collision. Preparing ahead by contacting your insurance company and find out which towing service they recommend will save you time during these events.

As of January 1st, 2022, new regulations regarding the towing industry come into effect in the city of Ottawa. These regulations require tow truck operators, tow truck drivers, and vehicle storage facilities to obtain a license, and follow strict regulations. Here are the regulations consumers should be aware prior to accepting any towing service:

As a result, vehicle tow and storage providers are now required to:

Towing services

  • Tow truck drivers are not permitted to solicit at the scene of an accident. If you are involved in a collision, you have the first choice of a tow provider. Have the name and contact information of your preferred tow service ready in case of accident or breakdown.
  • Tow trucks need to be properly identified by having the operators name and phone number on the truck.
  • Prior to your vehicle being towed, tow truck drivers will be required to provide you with an authorization to tow form which includes a summary of all charges. Make sure you sign the form and get a copy from your driver.
  • Tow truck drivers can only charge prescribed rates for key services, a schedule of all rates will be kept in their truck.
  • You have the right to obtain access to your vehicle to collect personal possessions

Vehicle storage facilities

  • The vehicle storage facility is required to notify the vehicle owner within 72 hours advising they have received their vehicle.
  • Post signage in a visible location with business name and contact information
  • Maintain a log of all vehicles stored
  • Provide you access to your vehicle to retrieve personal possessions
  • Charge a flat rate of $60 per day for storage

If you have a complaint concerning the tow services you have received, please contact Consumer Protection Ontario, online or by calling 1-800-889-9768 (TTY: 1-877-666-6545). Complaints can also be made at any Service Ontario location.

Road Safety

If you witness a tow truck operator driving unsafely, please contact Ottawa Police Service Non-Emergency line at 613-236-1222 (TTY: 613-760-8100).

If you are involved in a collision:

In the City of Ottawa, tow truck drivers are prohibited from parking, stopping, or soliciting within 100 metres of the scene of a collision, unless they are there at the request of a police officer, a municipal by-law enforcement officer, a person engaged in highway maintenance, or a person involved in the collision.

The Province of Ontario offers additional Tips for Avoiding Tow Truck and Storage Scams.

Towing service - List of licensed operators

As of June 10, 2022

  • Abrams Towing
  • Ack Wehbe Towing
  • Alberto Towing
  • All Star Towing
  • Amir Towing
  • ASAP towing
  • Bradley's Towing and Recovery
  • CAA North & East Ontario
  • Canada Freeway Towing
  • Canadian Towing Services
  • Car Star Towing
  • CJ Towing
  • Country Towin'
  • Express Towing Service
  • Flanagan Towing
  • Gervais Motors Limited
  • GWL Towing
  • Howard Wilson Motors Kemptville Towing
  • JMW Towing Services
  • Maple Towing Services
  • Mario's Roadside Service
  • Mayday Towing
  • Metro Towing & Recovery Group
  • Mike's Tow & Plus Inc
  • Most Valuable Towing
  • Orleans Towing
  • Ottawa Metro Towing & Recovery Inc
  • Ottawa Valley Towing
  • Pro Solution Towing
  • Queensway Towing
  • Redpath Towing Service
  • Response Towing
  • Scrap My Car Inc
  • Sharkey's Towing and Road Service
  • Southway Towing
  • True Towing & Storage
  • Wazzi's Towing
  • We Be Towing & Recovery Inc
  • Ziad Wehbe Towing

Vehicle storage facility - List of licensed operators

As of June 10, 2022

  • Abrams Towing
  • Canadian Towing Services
  • Express Towing Service
  • Gervais Motors Limited
  • Mayday Towing
  • Metro Towing & Recovery Group
  • Ottawa Metro Towing and Recovery Inc
  • Pro Solution Towing
  • Scrap My Car
  • Sharkey's Towing and Road Service
  • Southway Towing
  • True Towing & Storage
  • Wazzi's Towing