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Tents, patios, awnings and canopies

A building permit may be required for temporary tents, patios, awnings and canopies for restaurants and retail businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information on patios or tents can be found on the Right of Way page. The following outlines exemptions for when a building permit would not be required:


Awnings and canopies, that will remain erected between November 1 to December 31, 2020 require to do so under the benefit of a building permit. *Tents, awnings and canopies currently erected under a building permit, should apply for a revision to their existing building permit to address winter conditions. The following outlines the requirements to be submitted as part of the building permit application documentation:


  • The structure and all components, connections and fabric, are required to be designed by a Professional Engineer, licensed to practice in the Province of Ontario, following the requirements outlined in Part 4, Structural Design, of the Ontario Building Code. The design must be able to resist all snow and wind load requirements for Ottawa for the expected service life of the building. As per the Ontario Building Code, reductions in snow load design by means of mechanical, thermal, manual or other means of removal will not be accepted.

Fabric, Textile or Film

  • All fabric, textile or film is required to be certified to CAN/ULC-S109 “Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films” or NFPA 701 “Fire Tests for Flame Propagation”. The certification of the fabric must form part of the design documents submitted for permit


  • Tents, awning and canopies that intend to be equipped with a fuel fired appliance or heater shall comply with the ventilation requirements provided by the manufacturer and applicable standards.


  • A tent may have up to 50% of the perimeter enclosed to be considered outdoor dining. Enclosing includes any material or layer used to enclose the perimeter of the tent.

Generally, tents, patios, awnings and canopies are required to be erected under the benefit of a building permit.

The following outlines exemptions for when a building permit would not be required:


A tent is exempt from a building permit if all the following are met:

  • The tent or combination of tents has an aggregate ground area less than 60m2,
  • The tent is not enclosed with sidewalls,
  • The tent does not contain any fuel fired appliance such as heating or cooking equipment,
  • The tent is located at least 3m away from any property line or existing building, and
  • The tent will only be in-place between May 1 and October 31.

Any tent that does not satisfy all requirements for exemption is required to be erected under the benefit of a building permit. For tents requiring a building permit, a pre-consultation with a Building Official may be arranged by calling 613-580-2424, extension 14259.


A patio is exempt from a building permit if all the following are met:

  • The patio structure is supported directly on the ground (not raised nor constructed on deck blocks)
  • The patio must not have an occupant load exceeding the aggregate sum of the occupant loads permitted for interior and exterior spaces
  • The patio must not adversely impact the existing exiting arrangement from building(s) or patio(s)
  • The patio must not adversely impact the existing barrier-free accessibility to building(s) or patio(s).

Any patio that does not satisfy all of the requirements for the exemptions is required to be constructed under the benefit of a building permit.

Awning or Canopy

Awnings or canopies attached to and projecting more than 300mm from the building require a building permit.

The Ontario Building Code outlines the minimum requirements for all building construction and can be viewed on the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website.

Development Information Officers

If you require the services of a Development Information Officer, please reach out as follows:

Approximate cost

Permit fees are calculated based on $10.50 per $1000.00 in construction value. The minimum permit fee is $96.00.

Approximate timeline

Approximate Timeline for first review - 5 business days

Upon issuance of the building permit, please contact the Building Inspector, listed on the permit, to discuss required inspections.

In-person Appointments (Ben Franklin Place or City Hall)

For clients wishing to submit applications, make payments or pick up permits, at either Ben Franklin Place or City Hall, an appointment must be scheduled. Note, clients will not be able to enter Ben Franklin Place or City Hall without an appointment and submitting applications electronically is still the preferred method at this time. Effective July 15, 2020, masks are required to be worn in enclosed public spaces at City of Ottawa facilities as per the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law.

Please select a location to book an appointment time:

Laurier Client Service Centre, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Nepean, 101 Centrepointe Drive

Hard Copy Applications

Clients can also submit their complete permit application submissions by courier with payment (cheque) to:

City of Ottawa - Building Code Services
101 Centrepointe Drive
Ottawa, ON K2G 5K7


City of Ottawa - Building Code Services
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1

Please note that all hard copy applications are to be submitted as a single package and include the following:

  • A completed and signed building permit application
  • A completed and signed Schedule 1
  • Two complete copies of the drawing package for the proposed construction project. Hard copies must be drawn and printed to a legible scale (minimum recommended scale of 1/4”=1’-0”).
  • Payment of application by cheque

Electronic Building Permit Applications (in printable PDF format)

Smaller building permit applications, such as pool enclosures, sundecks, accessory structures, patio tents, finished basements, additions, plumbing only, and secondary dwelling units may be submitted electronically if they are submitted with a maximum drawing size of 11” x 17” (recommended scale of 1/4”=1’-0”). Building permit applications can be submitted electronically via . The payment for all electronic building permit applications will be arranged upon submission.

Building permit applications for houses, semi-detached, duplexes, and large construction projects will not be accepted electronically. See hard copy requirements above for submission requirements.