Use and Care of Roads (By-law No. 2003-498)


By-laws contained in this section have been prepared for reference purposes only. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information; however it is not to be used in place of actual by-laws.

Actual by-laws can be obtained at the following locations:

City Archives
James Bartleman Centre
100 Tallwood Dr. (Corner of Woodroffe)
Ottawa, Ontario
tel.: 613-580-2857
fax : 613-580-2614

Ottawa Public Library
120 Metcalfe, Ottawa Room

Use and Care of Roads

A by-law of the City of Ottawa to regulate the use and care of roads.

The Council of the City of Ottawa enacts as follows:

Section 1 - Definitions

In this by-law:

"boulevard" means all parts of a highway save and except the roadway, shoulder or sidewalk;

"City" means the municipal corporation of the City of Ottawa or the geographic area as the context requires;

General Manager” means the General Manager of the City’s Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department, or authorized representative” (By-law No. 2020-170);

"highway" means a common and public highway and includes any bridge, trestle, viaduct or other structure forming part of the highway, and except as otherwise provided, includes a portion of a highway; and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof;

"roadway" means that part of the highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, but does not include the shoulder, and where a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term "roadway" refers to any one roadway separately and not to all of the roadways collectively;

"sidewalk" means that part of a highway set aside by the City for the use of pedestrians;

"snow plow driveway marker" means a temporary, non-illuminated indicator or guide inserted with a vertical orientation into the ground on private property or a City right of way that serves to mark the edge of a driveway for a licensed snow plow contractor, and which is permitted under and complies with the City of Ottawa’s licensing by-laws (By-law No. 2018-13); and

"vehicle" includes a motor vehicle, trailer, traction engine, farm tractor, road-building machine, bicycle and any vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of power, including muscular power, but does not include a motorized snow vehicle or a street car;

Section 2 - Interpretation

  1. Headings are for reference purposes and shall not affect in any way the meaning or interpretation of the provisions of this by-law.
  2. It is declared that if any section, subsection or part or parts thereof be declared by any Court of Law to be bad, illegal or ultra vires, such section, subsection or part or parts shall be deemed to be severable and all parts hereof are declared to be separate and independent and enacted as such.
  3. In this by-law, a word interpreted in the singular number has a corresponding meaning when used in the plural.

Section 3 - General Prohibitions

  1. No person shall, unless otherwise authorized by the provisions of this or any other by-law of the City,
    1. permit oils, chemicals or substances to be deposited or spilled on a highway including such substances deposited as a result of car maintenance activities, car rust prevention measures and the spillage of rust protecting substances and the general spillage of substances from vehicles;
    2. throw, push, plow, dump or otherwise deposit snow or ice on a highway;
    3. deposit, drop, scatter, store, spill or throw any filth, earth, ashes, manure, leaves, or garbage except as permitted in any City by-law and except as allowed in The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton By-law No. 44 of 1996, or any amendment or re-enactment thereof, paper, hand bill, advertisement, or any vegetable matter, stone, lime, sand, tin, wood, the carcass of any dead animal, fish or fowl, in or upon a highway;
    4. encumber or damage a highway by animals, vehicles or other means;
    5. permit or allow any paper, hand bill, advertisement or any container, whether made of plastic, cardboard or paper, to be blown from private property onto a highway;
    6. obstruct a drain, gutter or water course along or upon a highway;
    7. place a plank or other material in or over any gutter or ditch for the purposes of making a crossing except for a period of not more than 24 hours;
    8. walk upon, ride, drive, or load an animal, or move, drive, run or propel a vehicle upon, over or across a newly constructed sidewalk or pavement before it has been opened for use by the public;
    9. set or carry fire on a highway;
    10. throw, pile, store, or cause any material to be thrown or piled upon a highway, except for the purpose of having it immediately delivered upon adjacent premises, nor shall any person saw or split any cordwood or firewood upon a highway or being the owner of cordwood, firewood or topsoil shall deposit on any highway, or permit it to remain thereon for a longer time than is necessary for its immediate removal to the premises adjacent thereto;
    11. place or expose, or cause any merchandise or articles of any kind, to be placed or exposed upon a highway or outside of a building so that the same shall project over any part of the highway; provided that this paragraph shall not prevent the use of part of a sidewalk for not more than 12 hours at any one time for the taking in, or delivery of merchandise or other articles, if sufficient space is left encumbered for the use of pedestrians, and the merchandise or articles are removed there from without unnecessary delay, or prevent the City from granting written permission to any person to construct platforms across drains, gutters, or water courses on any highways for facilitating the reception or delivery of merchandise or other articles, provided however, the City may withdraw any permission so granted whenever it is shown that a nuisance has thereby been established;
    12. sell on the highway, without approval of the City, any real or personal property;
    13. move, or cause to be moved a vehicle equipped with cleats, flanges, or tracks on its wheels, or rollers, or any of them, on or along the traveled portion of the highway, except by means of a float, trailer, or other similar device, providing that a vehicle is so equipped including a vehicle for the digging and backfilling of trenches, may be moved directly across the traveled portion of the highway, if a preventative mat has first been laid on the surface of the portion of the highway to be crossed, provided however that this paragraph shall not apply when a vehicle is operating with the written permission of the General Manager;
    14. urinate or defecate on any highway;
    15. remove a barricade or notice or enter upon or use a highway temporarily closed under the provisions of this or any City by-law;
    16. remove or move a barricade, sign or light placed around any excavation in a highway;
    17. erect or maintain any gate or door so that the same shall open or swing outward over any part of a sidewalk or highway;
    18. move or cause any building or structure to be moved into, along, or across a highway without having been approved under a City by-law.
  2. No owner or occupier of land shall allow any part of a tree, shrub, sapling, hedge or any other plant to extend over or upon any highway, so as to interfere with, impede or endanger persons using the highway.
  3. No owner or operator of a parking station, parking lot, used car lot, automobile service station or mechanical car wash shall permit water used for washing or cleaning a motor vehicle to escape upon, overflow or run across or upon a highway.
  4. No person shall break, dig up, destroy or damage the sod or grass of a boulevard, or a fence, or railing erected and maintained for the protection of the boulevard.
  5. No person shall walk on the boulevard except when there is no municipal sidewalk.
  6. No person, other than the City, shall erect a fence, construct a wall, or plant a hedge, in, over, or upon a highway.

Section 4 - Exemptions

  1. The provisions of subsection 3(1), clause (b), shall not apply to an employee or an agent of the City who is engaged in moving snow or ice..
  2. The provisions of subsection 3(1), clause (i), shall not apply to fires made by plumbers, tinsmiths, welders or other tradesmen engaged in the repair or construction of a building or structure or utility situated upon or under a highway or sidewalk provided that such operations are in the charge of a competent person, and the fires are controlled to prevent discharge of any sparks or embers which may endanger any person or property.
  3. The provisions of subsection 3(1), clause (j), shall not apply to any person putting sand or salt on the icy portions of a highway to reduce the danger of pedestrians falling or to enable a vehicle to use a roadway. (By-law No. 2017-6)
  4. Section 3 does not prohibit the placement of a snow plow driveway marker that is placed in accordance with the City of Ottawa’s licensing by-laws. (By-law No. 2018-13)

Section 5 - General Requirements

  1. The owner of land zoned residential shall cut the grass and weeds on the boulevard abutting the owner's land, whenever the growth of grass or weeds is out of character with the surrounding environment.
  2. The owner of land shall clear away and remove garbage or other debris from the boulevard abutting the owner's land.
  3. No step shall be taken to enforce the provisions of subsections (1) and (2) until the owner of the land has been given a written notice requiring compliance with the by-law with the time specified in the notice but no sooner than seventy-two (72) hours after the giving of the notice.
  4. If an owner of land fails to comply with the provisions of subsections (1) or (2) within the time specified in the notice given under subsection (3), the City may do the work or arrange for the work to be done unless otherwise authorized by the General Manager.
  5. The City may recover all expenses, including administrative fees, from the owner by action or it may collect them in like manner as municipal tax.
  6. Where applicable, the owner of land shall comply with pre-amalgamation trees by-laws, namely By-law Number 55-93 of The Corporation of the City of Ottawa, Part 7.2 of The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton's Regulatory Code, and subsection 4(1-6) of By-law No. 93-64 of the Corporation of the Township of Nepean, being its Care of Streets By-law, and any amendment or re-enactment of those by-laws.

Section 6 - Highway Name Signs, Traffic Signals & Signage 

No person shall pull down, destroy, or in any way interfere with, any municipal infrastructure, including but not limited to, any post, surveyor’s mark, bench mark, traffic sign, highway name sign, sign board, regulatory sign, traffic signal, traffic cone, or any other traffic control device, affixed, or placed on a highway. (By-law No. 2008-2)

Section 7 - Lighting

No owner or occupier of property abutting a highway shall permit any flood light to directly or indirectly illuminate a highway without the written approval of the General Manager. 8. No person shall erect or place private driveway lighting, address/name posts, or reflectors on a highway without the permission of the General Manager.

Section 9 and 10 - Powers of The General Manager

Section 9

The General Manager may:

  1. remove any item, structure or material placed or deposited on a highway contrary to this by-law; and
  2. send a notice by registered mail to the owner or person responsible for the item, structure or material that the object has been removed at the owner's expense;

Section 10

The City may recover expenses resulting from actions taken in accordance with subsection 9(1) by action, or in like manner as municipal taxes.

Section 11 and 12 - Temporary Closing of Highways 

Section 11

The General Manager may temporarily close to traffic any highway by reason of any work or improvement being carried out thereon or by reason of the condition thereof and the General Manager may cause to be erected or kept thereon, any barricade or notice warning the public that the highway is closed to traffic and no person shall enter upon or use a highway so temporarily closed.

Section 12

  1. Where a highway or part of a highway is closed pursuant to Section 11, the General Manager shall:
    1. provide and keep in repair a temporary alternative route for public use where possible;
    2. provide access to lots abutting the highway; and
    3. erect signs, barricades and other protective and warning devices in accordance with provincial traffic regulations.

Section 13 to 15 - Highway Cleaning and Repair 

Section 13

The cleaning and repair of all highways shall be performed under the direction of the General Manager.

Section 14

No person hauling earth, sand, stone or other substances on a highway shall so load his vehicle or drive the same as to permit or cause the contents thereof to fall, spill or be deposited on a highway.

Section 15

No person in charge of a vehicle shall bring the vehicle, or permit it to be brought upon a highway unless there has been removed from the wheels thereof as completely as is reasonably practicable, all mud, clay, lime, and similar material, or any fertilizer or manure which is likely, if not removed, to cause an obstruction or dangerous condition or nuisance in a highway or cause damage to the surface of the highway.

Section 16

No person hauling earth, sand, stone, or other substance shall load or drive his vehicle so as to permit damage to a highway.

Section 17 - Administration and Enforcement

This by-law shall be administered and enforced by the Chief of Police or designated municipal by-law enforcement officers of the City.

Section 18 and 19 - Penalties 

Section 18

Any person who contravenes any provision of this part of this By-law is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine to the maximum allowable under the provincial Offences Act.

Section 19

When a person has been convicted of an offence under this by-law.

  1. the Ontario Court (Provincial Division) of the City of Ottawa, or
  2. any court of competent jurisdiction thereafter, may, in addition to any penalty imposed on the person convicted, issue an Order prohibiting the continuation or repetition of the offence or the doing of any act or thing by the person convicted directed toward the continuation or repetition of the offence.

Section 20 - Repeal

The following by-laws or portions of by-laws of the old municipalities are repealed:

  1. Chapter 2, Part 2.2 of the Regional Regulatory Code of the old Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton entitled "Use and Care of Regional Roads", as amended;
  2. By-law Number 165-73 of the old Corporation of the City of Ottawa entitled "A by-law regulating the use and care of streets", as amended;
  3. Except for subsection 4 (1-6) thereof, By-law No. 93-64 of the old Corporation of the City of Nepean entitled "Care of Streets By-law", as amended;
  4. By-law No. 32-99 of the old Corporation of the City of Kanata entitled "Being a by-law of the Corporation of the City of Kanata regulating the use and care of city streets, boulevards and sidewalks", as amended;
  5. By-law No.1503 of the old Corporation of the City of Vanier entitled "Being a by-law regulating the use and care of streets", as amended;
  6. By-law 79/89 of the old Corporation of the Township of Rideau entitled "Being a by-law to regulate the use and care of Township roads", as amended;
  7. By-law No. 29 of 1985 of the old Corporation of the City of Gloucester entitled "A By-law regulating the use and care of city roads and streets", as amended;
  8. By-law No. 22-94 of the old Corporation of the Township of Goulbourn entitled "Being a by-law of the Corporation of the Township of Goulbourn regulating the use and care of streets", as amended; and
  9. By-law No. 2000-11 of the old Corporation of the Village of Rockcliffe Park entitled "A by-law of the Corporation of the Village of Rockcliffe Park regulating the use and care of streets", as amended.

Section 21 - Short Title

This by-law may be referred to as the "Use and Care of Roads By-Law".

Enacted and passed this 8th day of October, 2003.