Addressing By-law 2014-78 provides the regulatory framework for municipal addressing in the City of Ottawa. The By-law and associated administrative documents set out street naming, civic number and signage requirements and criteria for both public streets and private roads (the latter being streets under private ownership).
Street naming is an integral component of any new development. Streets are named through various development approval processes, for example as part of a Subdivision Plan, Road Opening or Private Road Naming application submitted with a Site Plan Control application.
Changes to existing street names are undertaken primarily for public safety/wayfinding reasons, but City Council can approve a name change for which an application has been submitted for other reasons. The fee for the latter is detailed in the Comprehensive Building Code Fee Schedule.
All proposed street names (whether for new developments or for the re-naming of existing streets) are reviewed for compliance with general and public safety/wayfinding-related criteria which focus on minimizing confusion, particularly in emergency situations.
When a proposed street name is of a person (first, last or first and last names), it must also receive approval through the City's commemorative naming process. The commemoration process for streets involves expedited review and approval and is not the same as for parks, buildings and facilities. The required forms can be obtained from email@example.com.
Civic numbers are assigned by the City. At the outset of construction of a building, the owner must install a temporary sign displaying the civic number and this sign must remain in place for the duration of construction. The permanent civic number sign must be installed prior to occupancy.
Schedule C of the By-law sets out the size of the civic numbers required, how the civic number must be displayed, and the additional requirement for a blade sign (often referred to as a "9-1-1 blade") where the building is located more than 18 metres from the street.
Blade signs and posts must be obtained from the City at the owner's cost. The costs for installation and maintenance of blade signs and civic numbers are the sole responsibility of the property owner.
Street type designations
Street-type designations (sometimes referred to as "suffixes"), such as "Street", "Road", "Avenue", "Drive", etc., are descriptive of the type of street to which they apply, and are assigned by the City. They, along with the civic number, street name, and other applicable generic terms, are an integral element of a property's municipal address.
Street name signs
Street names are displayed on temporary or permanent signs installed at intersections along public streets or private roads.
Developers must install temporary street name signs (that meet the standards outlined in Schedule B of the By-law) at the outset of construction and maintain these until permanent street signs are installed by the City.
Property owners incorporating private roads in their developments must submit a Private Road Naming application and are required to enter into an agreement with the City formalizing the name and undertaking responsibility for the installation and maintenance of signage. The fee is detailed in the Comprehensive Building Code Fee Schedule. There is a reduced fee for a Private Road Naming application submitted on the same day and for the same lands as a Site Plan Control application.
The costs for installation and maintenance of street name signs and civic numbers on private roads are the sole responsibility of the property owner.
Criteria for Street Naming
Streets should be named:
- After people, places, events or things related to the local area and its residents – for example, local history, geography, flora, fauna, accomplishments, etc.;
- To reflect Ottawa's status as the nation's capital – for example, after people, events or things related to Canadian history, geography, flora, fauna, accomplishments, military heritage, etc.;
- To reflect Ottawa's position as a prominent world capital – for example, after Canada's participation or involvement in international peacekeeping efforts, international sporting and cultural events, UNESCO World Heritage sites, etc.; or
- To reflect the City's cultural and ethnic diversity – for example, its aboriginal roots, its evolving demographic mix, its multi-ethnic heritage, etc.
If a street is to be named after an individual (first, last or first and last names), the proposed name must first receive approval through the City's commemorative naming process. No initials or combined names of two individuals ("Robert Mary Jones" for Robert and Mary Jones or "Carol-John Smith for Carol and John Smith) are permitted. The commemoration process for streets involves expedited review and approval. Public consultation is not required as it is for parks, buildings and facilities. The required forms can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed street names must also meet the following criteria to ensure public safety and effective wayfinding:
- The name should not duplicate, sound the same as, or be similar to an existing or reserved street name (for example, "Deighton" and "Dayton", "Ruisseau" and "Rousseau")
- A proposed name that is the French version of an existing English street name (or vice versa) is acceptable (for example, "Érable" is proposed and "Maple" exists), but similar sounding translated names are not acceptable (for example, "Forest" and "Forêt")
- The name should not duplicate the name of a park, facility, building or school
- The street name, the abbreviated street type designation in French and English (for example, "ch." and "Rd."), articles, other generic terms, periods, hyphens, apostrophes and spaces should not exceed 28 characters
- The name should not contain:
- A word that is a current or historic street type designation, such as "court", "place", "lane", "drive", "green", "gate", etc.
- A number as part of the name, so as to minimize confusion with civic numbers (for example, "Sevenoak")
- Cardinal points ("north", "south", "east", "west"), unless it is to resolve numbering issues or to segment existing long streets that are separated (for example, "Laurier Avenue West", "Laurier Avenue East")
- Three or more words (for example, "Old Valley Stream"), excluding names commemorating individuals. Commemorated names with three words may be permitted if the name proposed:
- consists only of the individual's legal names (for example, "Jean-Paul Gagnon" or "Mary Jane Smith" is acceptable; "Big Daddy Gagnon" is not); and
- meets all other public safety and wayfinding criteria.
- The words in Table 1, which are over-used words in existing street names:
All proposed names must be vetted before receiving final approval for use as new or replacement street names. Contact email@example.com for additional information.
Change of Address Checklist
This checklist is intended to help residents, property owners and businesses update their address following a street name and/or civic number change. The checklist provides general information meant to assist with the process. It is not necessarily an exhaustive list.
Government agencies and important service providers should be notified following the date the civic number and/or street name change comes into effect. Canada Post will continue to deliver mail with the old address for a period of one year (a free service provided by Canada Post for municipally initiated address changes).
You are able to update your address conveniently online with a number of government agencies and service providers however if you encounter any difficulties when doing so, we recommend contacting them by phone.
The legal description of your property and your roll number will not be affected by an address change. If you have the deed to your property, it will remain valid after your address has been changed. Deeds are validated by the legal description of a property, not the street name or civic number.
Updating Your Ontario Identification Cards
You can update your address information quickly and easily for all your provincially issued identification cards in one secure and simple step using the Service Ontario website at www.ontario.ca/addresschange. There is no fee and your information will be updated immediately. Alternatively, you can call their call centre at 1-800-267-8097 or 416-326-1234 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
You are required by law to update the address on your driver's licence within six days following the date the civic address or street name change comes into effect. Your new driver's licence will be mailed to you within four to six weeks.
You are required by law to update the address on file for your vehicle registration within six days following the date the civic address or street name change comes into effect. You are able to change your address on the vehicle permit online or at a Service Ontario Centre. If you change your address online you will need to visit a Service Ontario Centre to pick up a copy of your updated permit.
If you currently have a health card with your photo and address on it, you will receive a new health card. No address information will be shown on the new health card. If you have a red
and white health card or a photo health card that does not show your address on the back of the card, your information will be updated but you will not receive a new card.
Ontario Outdoors Card
Keep your current card as a new one will not be issued. Address information is not recorded on the card. You are required by law to update the address on file for your Outdoors Card within 10 days following the date the civic address or street name change comes into effect.
Updating Your Government of Canada Information
A change of address does not invalidate a passport. If you have filled in the address information on page 4, please cross out the old address and write the new one in the space above the old address. Do not use correction fluid. If the space is insufficient, write the new information on a separate piece of paper and insert it into the passport. For information, please visit Passport Canada's website at www.cic.gc.ca and enter "change of address" in the search option on the website.
Canada Revenue Agency
It is important to notify Revenue Canada with your new address for tax return purposes and in order to avoid any disruption to benefit payments you may be receiving. If you have registered with My Account, you can update your address online. If not, you have to update your address information by telephone or mail. For more information, please visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca and enter "change of address" in the search option on the website.
Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance
If you receive a Canada Pension Plan, old age security benefits, or employment insurance, you should change your address with Service Canada to ensure you continue to receive your benefits on time. Please visit Service Canada's website at www.servicecanada.gc.ca for information on how to update your address information online, by telephone, by mail or in person. This service is currently not available in person due to COVID-19 closures.
Updating Other Services and Important Contacts
No action is required of you. The City will coordinate the address change with Canada Post.
City of Ottawa Utilities (Water/Sewer/Waste Management) and Property Taxes
No action is required of you. The changes will be looked after by the City of Ottawa.
You can update account information online by visiting the epost website. Alternatively, you may call their Customer Service line at 1-877-376-1212.
Enbridge Natural Gas
You can update account information online by visiting the Enbridge website. Alternatively, you can call 1-877-362-7434 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
You can update your address online. Alternatively, you may contact their Customer Care line 613-738-6400.
You can update your address online. Alternatively, you can call 1-888-664-9376 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Bank(s) and Credit Card(s)
Your banking and credit card providers should be notified as soon as possible following the date the civic address or street name change comes into effect. In most cases, this can be done online.
Telephone, Mobile, Cable, Satellite and Internet Providers
Update your contact information through the provider's website, or by calling their customer service department. The following is a list of some service providers:
- Bell Canada: https://support.bell.ca, 1-866-310-BELL (2355)
- Rogers: www.rogers.com, 1-877-559-5202 (telephone updates recommended)
- Cogeco: www.cogeco.ca, 1-800-267-9000
- Telus Mobility: www.telus.com/content/help/billing, 1-888-811-2323
Schools, Colleges, Universities
It depends on the school and school board, but most elementary, middle, and secondary schools send home a student information sheet at the beginning of each school year to be filled out with updated information for the student. The change of address can be noted at this time. You may also want to notify the school administration directly so the information is updated immediately. Universities and colleges students can update their address information online.
Remember to update your new address information with your employer, if applicable. Some organizations allow their employees to make this change online, while others require you to contact the Human Resources department.
Subscriber information can be found online for most major local and national newspapers.
Call the representatives of your insurance providers, (car, home, pet, etc.) to change the address on your policy. This may also be done online, depending on the insurance company.
Family Members, Friends and Other Correspondents
Canada Post will provide a limited quantity of postage-paid change of mailing address cards to customers who must change their address as a result of changes by the municipality. These courtesy change of mailing address cards are available at the main Canada Post outlets in the city but not at the satellite offices such as those in drug stores. The following is a list of the main Canada Post outlets in Ottawa where the cards can be found:
- 59 Sparks Street
- 108 Third Avenue
- 1424 Sandford Fleming Avenue
- 1745 Alta Vista Drive
Other Companies, Organizations, and Contacts
Remember to update your address with any other companies or organizations that you regularly receive mail from, such as:
- Magazine subscriptions
- Air Miles and other loyalty programs
- Fitness clubs
- Sports teams.
Updating Civic Number Displays (Civic Number Change Only)
Civic Number Sign
Remember to update the civic number displayed on your building to reflect your new civic number.
(9-1-1) Blade Sign and/or Ground Sign
If your building is located more than 18 metres from the property line, you are required to have a (9-1-1) blade sign or, where permitted, a ground sign. The fee for a replacement (9-1-1) blade sign is $30.00; this fee is subject to change. The 9-1-1 blade sign application can be found online. You can return this form and fee (payable to City of Ottawa) to any client service centre or by mail to:
Municipal Addressing and Signs
101 Centrepointe Drive - 2nd Floor
Mail Code 04-11
If you are required to replace all of the numbers in your civic number, we encourage you to comply with the new civic number display requirements. These requirements as well as the (9-1-1) blade sign requirements can be found in Schedule A of Addressing By-law 2014-78.
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