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Filming in Ottawa

Background on the Film By-law

COVID-19

The permissibility of, and operational requirements for, filming activity is contingent on Provincial Emergency Orders

Productions are required to comply with all applicable Federal, Provincial and Municipal regulations, including those that pertain to reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Regulations, guidance and resources: 

For the most up-to-date information and guidance about COVID-19, please review the following resources managed by other stakeholders: 

All enquiries related to film permits can be directed by email to film@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 38368.

Background on the Film By-law 

Filming activity in Ottawa is governed by the  Film By-law. The Film By-law is designed to provide a consistent process for the industry when seeking City approvals. It will support Ottawa in becoming a ‘Film Friendly’ destination.

The Film By-law will also provide greater coordination of City services as they relate to filming and help minimize any potential disruption to residents, businesses and institutions during filming events.

Contact us

No matter the scale of your filming event, Event Central can assist you in determining if you require a film permit.

You can contact Event Central by email at film@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 38368

Applying for a Film permit

When to apply

You need to apply for a film permit:

  • If your filming event takes place on City property. Which could mean a street, pathway, facility or any other indoor or outdoor space that’s owned, leased or under the control of the City of Ottawa;
  • If your filming event includes the usage of a replica weapon, replica emergency vehicle or uniforms and is in view of or audible to the public regardless of who owns the property;
  • If your filming event requires the coordination of City resources which includes personnel, equipment and/or other municipal by-law approvals; 
  • For each new filming event or location.

What you need to apply

For each individual filming event or filming location that falls under the jurisdiction of the By-law you will need to:

  • Fill out and sign a film application and provide details on the filming event at least five (5) business days before the earliest element required. If you are requesting parking the day before filming starts, the completed application must be submitted no later than five (5) days in advance of the parking request.
  • Provide a certificate of comprehensive/commercial general liability insurance that lists the City of Ottawa as the certificate holder, as well as additionally insured for the amount of 2 million dollars general liability.
  • Ensure that each separate location being requested has a corresponding additional location request form.
  • Additional information may be required on a case by case basis depending on the film event. Additional documentation may include: notice to residents and businesses, map of parking area request, traffic control plan for road closure, site plan, emergency plan, or fireworks plan.

Applications submitted that are incomplete will not be evaluated until all necessary components are present.

If you are unclear on any of the above information or it’s your first time submitting a film permit application, please contact Event Central by email at film@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 38368 and we will walk you through the application process.

Application timelines

Please note that certain filming activities may take longer than five (5) business days to approve and often require additional documentation. Please refer to the additional elements below to learn which film activities may require additional processing time.

For all applications submitted less than five (5) business days in advance of the film event a late fee will be applied.

Up to ten (10) business days if the film event includes:

  • Firearms, guns, replica weapons
  • Road closures
  • Transit detours
  • Paid duty officers
  • Emergency personnel and/or equipment
  • Artefact movement

Up to fourteen (14) business days if the film event includes:

  • Open air fire permit

Up to twenty (20) business days if the film event includes:

  • Noise exemption

Up to twenty-two (22) business days if the film event includes: 

  • Pyrotechnics or fireworks

Application forms, guidelines and templates for film events

Event Central has developed several tools and guidelines in collaboration with The Ottawa Film Office and the City’s Economic Development department to help guide producers through their film permit process.

Please note that a completed Filming Application is only required for initial requests. Productions with multiple filming locations are only required to fill in a supplemental Additional Location request form for subsequent filming events.

Applications

New web form: The Application for Filming Permit has transitioned to an online form. This new web-based application allows film productions to submit the relevant details of their production without the need for a PDF e-mail submission. Applicants are now able to submit multiple parking requests, road closures or any other filming elements via a single online submission. If you have any questions about the new web form, please contact Event Central at film@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424 ext. 38368.

Please have the following available at the time of application to ensure a quick review by the required departments.

  • Detailed filming summary, key contacts, special equipment list, location information and detailed schedule
  • Elements requested e.g., parking accommodations, facility use requests, use of pyrotechnics. Also include supporting documents e.g., map of parking area, site plan, fireworks plan
  • Certificate of insurance if available, can also be provided later through email but must be received prior to filming

Forms

Important: Please remember to hit the "Save" button whenever prompted prior to submitting your film permit application. 

Guidelines

Templates

Additional external resources