Filming in Ottawa

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Film By-law (By-law No. 2020-164)

Filming activity in Ottawa is governed by Film By-law (By-law No. 2020-164). The Film By-law provides a consistent process for the industry when seeking City approvals and supports Ottawa in becoming a ‘Film Friendly’ destination.

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

Before you begin

Application timelines

Applications must be submitted for approval at least 5 business days before the filming event.

Example: if you require parking to be available the day before filming starts, the completed application must be submitted at least 5 business days before the requested parking date.

Some filming activities can require more time and additional documentation for approval.

Table 1 - Filming activities that need additional time for approval

Film event Approval times
Road closures 10 business days
Transit detours 10 business days
Replica emergency personnel, vehicles, or weapons 10 business days
Paid duty officers 10 business days
Emergency personnel and/or equipment 10 business days
Movement of an artefact 10 business days
Open air fire permit 14 business days
Noise exemption 20 business days
Pyrotechnics or fireworks 22 business days

Service improvements launched in 2023!

With funding received through the Province of Ontario’s Intake 3 of Audit and Accountability Fund, the City of Ottawa was able to undertake a third-party audit of the film permitting process with the purpose of finding efficiencies and pursuing modernization opportunities. 

The final report identified functional areas that would benefit from enhancements and provided recommendations for implementation. 

City of Ottawa film permitting process and digital modernization review - Audit and Accountability Fund final report

Event Central is excited that many of these improvements have been launched in the form of an online permit management portal. These service enhancements provide further support to the film sector in Ottawa as well as increased transparency and accountability.  


A film permit is required if the filming event:

  • Takes place on City property, such as
    • a street
    • a pathway
    • a facility
    • any other indoor or outdoor space that’s owned, leased or under the control of the City of Ottawa
  • Includes the presence of replica emergency personnel, vehicles or weapons that are visible or audible to the public at any point
  • Requires coordination of City resources which includes
    • personnel
    • equipment
    • other municipal by-law approvals and permits

A film permit is required for each filming event or location that meets the eligibility.

What you need

  • Details of the filming activity, such as:
    • location information and schedule
    • key contacts
    • summary of the activities taking place
    • list of special equipment being used
    • parking accommodations requested
    • any special filming elements like pyrotechnics or requests for emergency personnel on site
  • Support documents for specific filming activities when applicable, such as:
    • site plan
    • map of parking area
    • traffic control plan for road closure
    • paid duty request form
  • An insurance certificate for at least two million dollars ($2,000,000) in the name of the film permit holder and names the City of Ottawa as an additional insured.


Film permit application: No cost if submitted 5 business days before filming event

Note: a rush fee of $200-400 applies for submissions received less than 5 business days before the filming event.

Additional costs/fees may apply:

  • Parking
  • Sign installation
  • City of Ottawa park and facilities use
  • Paid duty officers
  • Ottawa Fire Services personnel and equipment
  • Ottawa Paramedic Service personnel and equipment


My ServiceOttawa film permit portal

Note: A My ServiceOttawa account is required to access the portal. If you have an e-mail address specific to your role in the film industry, it is recommended you create an account with that address instead of your personal e-mail. The link to the portal is found in the Business Services section of the home page. 

Within the portal, you must have at least one approved account registered before you can start a permit application. 

What's Next

Once the application package has been submitted through the online portal, an Event Central advisor will be assigned to your application and will contact you by email within 2 business days about next steps and permit requirements.