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Water utility deferral program

Water Utility Deferral Program

The City of Ottawa offers a deferral program for water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for deferral of their water utility bills. Existing applicants must apply to the program annually and verify continued eligibility.

Under the program, payment of water bills is deferred for applicants who meet the current program requirements.

There is no deadline for first-time applicants.

Program requirements

  1. Water bills must be paid up to date.
  2. If the property is owned by more than one person who are not spouses, then all owners must apply and qualify.
  3. Applicant(s) must have continuously owned the property within the City of Ottawa for at least one year before applying for the deferral program.
  4. Must be principal residence of applicant(s).
  5. Property must be assessed in the residential/farm property tax class.
  6. Total cumulative amount of deferred taxes and water and sewer charges, plus fees and interest, may not exceed 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.
  7. The applicant(s)’ total gross household income from all sources is $43,561 (for 2020) or less. This amount includes income of all residents in the home. The threshold will be increased annually and is based on the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  8. Applicants shall submit a renewal application annually no later than the 1st day of July in the year the deferral is sought.

Low-income seniors

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant applying for water deferral, or the applicant’s spouse, must be at least 65 years of age and be eligible for benefits under Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

Low-income people with disabilities

In addition to meeting the program requirements, an applicant in this category must either:

  • be receiving on-going disability benefits (such as, the Ontario Disability Support Program)
  • be eligible to claim a disability amount on your Canada Revenue Agency Income Tax and Benefit Return

Terms of the deferral program

  1. A non-refundable application fee will be charged to the tax account upon receipt of the application.
  2. A non-refundable renewal fee for subsequent year applications will be charged to the tax account.
  3. Water bills being deferred will be transferred to the tax account annually. An annual transfer-to-tax fee applies.
  4. Interest on the deferred amounts will be charged at the rate of 5% per annum. These costs will be charged to the tax account.
  5. Approved applicants are responsible for all legal costs associated with the deferral. Legal costs typically relate to title searches, as staff may conduct an annual title search on the property. All costs will be charged to the tax account.

Repayment of deferred water utility accounts

The deferred water account balances shall become due and payable at the earliest of the following dates:

  1. When the applicant(s) no longer meet eligibility criteria such as income;
  2. When the property is sold or transferred;
  3. Upon the death of the applicant, unless the applicant is survived by a spouse who continues to qualify for deferral (The water deferral cannot be transferred to the estate of deceased owner(s);
  4. When the total cumulative amount of deferred taxes and water and sewer charges, plus fees and interest, exceeds 40 per cent of the assessed value of the property.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an application along with the supporting documentation to apply for the deferral program. Included in the application is a waiver providing the City of Ottawa, Revenue Services access to personal information.

There are a number of ways to apply for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities under the deferral program:   

  1. Print a copy of the application
  2. Contact us by e-mail at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca
  3. Send your request in writing to the City of Ottawa,Revenue Services,100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8Attn: Water Utility Bill Deferral Program
  4. Send your request by fax to 613-580-2457
  5. Drop in to 100 Constellation Drive 4th floor East (This service is currently not available in person due to COVID-19 closures)
  6. Telephone us at 613-580-2740 (TTY 613-580-2401) Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes

Returning the application form

Please make sure the property address and water account/customer number are written on all correspondence.

Once the form is filled out, return,mail or deliver to:

  • City of Ottawa Revenue Services100 Constellation Drive, 4th floor East,Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8Attn: Water Deferral Program
  • by fax to: 613-580-2457, Attn: Water Deferral Program
  • by email at taxdeferralprogram@ottawa.ca

An acknowledgment letter will be mailed to you, upon receipt of your application. After our office reviews your application for eligibility a letter of either approval or denial into the program will be mailed to your attention.

The City of Ottawa also offers a property tax deferral program for low income seniors and persons with disabilities.