Right-of-way refers to the City-owned portion of a piece of land. It is very often wider than the road and sidewalks that may abut your property and can extend to a considerable extent onto your property. The City maintains a right-of-way wider than the width of the road in the event that a road widening becomes necessary at some point in the future.
Notwithstanding this, a property owner is still responsible for maintaining the City-owned portion of their land, with respect to matters such as grass cutting and snow clearance. The exact extent of the City’s right-of-way can be determined through a Plan of Survey and the City’s GeoOttawa program can provide a rough guide as to the exact extent of the right-of-way.
Right-of-Way Permit Office
The Right-of-Way Permit Office is responsible for the issuance of various permits for construction related activities within the City's right-of-way (ROW). When work occurs within the ROW, it has an impact on mobility within communities and around the city, including disruption to morning and afternoon commutes as well as access to local businesses and residences. It is vital that the City coordinate work within the right-of-way to minimize these impacts.
As a result of a report passed at Council on November 10th, 2021, several changes related to the Road Activity By-law (2003-445) and Encroachments By-law (2003-446) take effect as of January 1, 2022, including new fees and requirements for Road Cut Permits, Temporary Construction-related Encroachment permits, and pavement degradation fees. To consult that report, please follow this link: (stable link to Council report) (Council Agenda 64 Item 8)
Right-of-way damage deposit
City streets are essential for movement throughout Ottawa’s communities. Damage to asphalt roads and sidewalks make vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian movement more challenging, and hasten the need for repairs or replacement, and damage to grass and interlock boulevards impacts storm water drainage and the overall aesthetics of a neighbourhood.
Construction activities can present a risk of damage to the abutting street from such things as heavy machinery or material storage. The City has been collecting a Right-of-Way (ROW) Damage Deposit with every building permit application for the construction of a new residential, commercial or industrial building since September 2019. The purpose of this deposit is to help guarantee that the City’s streets are left in, or returned to, their pre-construction state following completion of the project. In the event the City must repair or clean-up the street after construction, the ROW Damage Deposit will be used to fund this work.
The ROW Damage Deposit is being collected under the authority of the Road Activity By-law No. 2003-445. The ROW Damage Deposit does not apply to:
- project already subject to Site Plan Control or Subdivision approval
- where City staff determine there is no risk of damage to the abutting street.
Amount of ROW Damage Deposit
- New Fee: Right-of-way Damage Deposit Application Fee: $115.00
- Fee is to recover costs to the City of inspecting works by permit-holders to determine if the damage deposit can be released as well as by Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department’s Financial Services Unit to hold the damage deposit.
- Note: The Right-of-way Damage Deposit is now subject to a four (4) year forfeiture period. A Right-of-way damage deposit that has not been requested to be returned within four (4) years of its receipt by the City will be forfeited to the City.
The amount of the ROW Damage Deposit is as follows:
- single, duplex and triplex dwellings: $3000
- semi-detached and townhouse: $3000 per unit
- commercial or industrial building: $3000
The need for the deposit and the amount shall be determined as part of the building permit application at the time of the review of the Grading and Servicing Plan.
The ROW Damage Deposit will be collected as part of the fees payable for the building permit.
Before Beginning Construction
Before construction activities begin on the property, date stamped photographs recording the condition of the street should be taken. This helps to ensure a building permit holder is not held responsible for the repair of damage that existed before the project began.
If there is a need to store materials or stage construction activities on any part of the street, including the grass boulevard, or to construct temporary accesses to the property, the appropriate permits and approvals must first be obtained.
Throughout construction, care should be taken to keep the street, sidewalk and boulevard in a condition that allows for the safe passage of motor vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian traffic. The street, sidewalk and boulevard should be kept clean and safe at all times.
If there is any damage to the street, sidewalk and boulevard that must be repaired, a road cut permit must be obtained. This ensures the reinstatement of asphalt and sidewalks is done to City standards.
Prior to requesting an inspection
Ensure all construction works are completed on the property including any street, sidewalk or boulevard repairs. The ROW inspectors will be referencing the approved grading and servicing plan to conduct their inspection to return the ROW damage deposit.
Requesting an Inspection
To schedule an inspection please email email@example.com with the following information:
- Address of the property in question
- Building Permit Number
- Contact information
Where road cuts are made within the roadway pavement as part of the construction, alteration, addition to, or repair of a building including developments, utility and City infrastructure renewal there will be a requirement to resurface all of these road cuts as per the Road Activity By-law and the Road Cut Resurfacing Policy.
A resurfacing involves milling and paving the top 40 mm of asphalt to the limits directed by the City.
The Road Activity By-law sets out the reinstatement requirements for all road cuts within the ROW in the City. The Road Cut Resurfacing Policy clarifies when the City will require broader asphalt resurfacing beyond the limits set out in the R10 Standard Trench Reinstatement in Paved Surface detail, as authorized in the Road Activity By-law.
The Road Cut Resurfacing Policy focuses on the resurfacing of road cuts on the following three (3) circumstances:
- Where there are multiple cuts associated with a development
- Pavements three (3) years old or less and
- for all Road Cuts, regardless of the age of the pavement, where the edge of the cut is within one (1) metre of a curb or edge of roadway
The Policy’s goal is to help establish the City’s expectations for resurfacing of road cuts. Road Cuts will be inspected as per the Road Cut Resurfacing Policy.
Link above elaborates on all cuts.
The information below is aimed on cuts as part of part of the construction, alteration, addition to, or repair of a building/development.
A property owner is required to resurface cuts within the roadway pavement when there are more than two of these cuts made as part of the construction, alteration, addition to, or repair of a building/development.
Where an existing service must be blanked within the roadway, this is included as a road cut.
When a resurfacing is required, each road cut within 12 metres of another road cut must be resurfaced together. The extent of the resurfacing will be to the nearest lane line, centreline or curb of each cut, as illustrated and detailed in Scenario 6 of the Road Cut Resurfacing Policy (Link above).
All applicants who submit a Site Servicing Plan as part of either a building permit or development application must identify the estimated area of all cuts within the roadway pavement, and if applicable, the area of resurfacing based on the above criteria. In preparing the Servicing Plan, applicants must identify as many utility services as are known, particularly those to be installed in, or removed from the pavement. Further information on how to prepare a Site Servicing Plan can be found at Planning Application Submission Information and Materials.
Where a resurfacing is required and the project is not subject to Site Plan Control or Subdivision approval, the property owner will be required to enter into a standard form agreement to provide the resurfacing, and post security with the City to guarantee it is completed. The amount of security is based on a rate $50.00 per square metre times the area to be resurfaced.
While City staff will work to identify the requirement for a resurfacing at the time of Site Servicing Plan review, the City can require a resurfacing at any time during the development project if more than two cuts are made within the roadway pavement. Therefore, it is to the benefit of the applicant to identify as many utilities services as possible at the time of Site Servicing Plan preparation to know the extent of any resurfacing requirements .
A Private Approach is the surface part of an entrance to private property (driveway or laneway) for vehicular access that is on the City road allowance, and is regulated by the City's Private Approach By-law (2003-447).
Vehicles that exceed the standard or ordinary legal size and/or weight (as determined by the Highway Traffic Act) that wish to travel within or through the City of Ottawa require an Over Dimensional Vehicle (ODV) permit. Over Dimensional Vehicle Permits are issued under the authority of the Over-dimensional Vehicles on City Highways By-law No. 2003-497. Over-dimensional vehicles are those that meet or exceed the following dimensions:
- Height: 13’-6’ (4.15m)
- Width: 8’-6” (2.6m)
- Length: 68’-9” (21m)
- Weight: 140,000 lbs (63,500kg)
Use of City property for the purposes of storing materials, equipment or other on, above or below the road, boulevard or sidewalk requires a Temporary Construction Related Encroachment (TCE) permit. Temporary Construction Related Encroachments are issued under the authority of the City of Ottawa’s Road Activity By-law 2003-445.
When conducting construction works or as part of development in the municipal right of way, a Temporary Road Closure may be required. City approval is required in advance of temporarily closing any city road, sidewalk or bike lane. Additional review is required for the closure of City roads and as a result may extend timelines to issue a permit. Temporary road closures are governed by the Road Activity By-law No. 2003-445.
Beginning January 2, 2023 the City will begin collecting fees for Temporary Road Closure applications under the following scenarios/requests:
- New Temporary Road Closure Requests (no change).
- Requests to extend Temporary Road Closure dates after the authorization has been issued.
- Revisions to Temporary Road Closure dates after the authorization has been issued.
The Right of Way and Utility Approvals group performs circulations for work within the City’s right-of-way (ROW) for the purposes of utility coordination or for Municipal Consent. For work that is planned on City owned lands that is not the right-of-way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions concerning potential contamination within the City’s ROW please send inquiries to email@example.com.
Municipal Consent (MC) means the written consent of the municipality (City of Ottawa), with or without conditions, to give public utility providers permission to install or move their infrastructure within the City's ROW. A MC grants approval for the location of third-party infrastructure within the ROW. MCs will only be granted to those who have a legislative right, agreement, or approval from the City. Depending on scope, certain works may be granted an Exemption (see below).
MCs granted by the City are valid for six months following issuance. If work (including Road Cut applications) has not commenced within this time frame, an extension must be requested. This extension is at the sole discretion of the City. If an extension is not granted, a new MC must be applied for.
NOTE: Beginning January 1, 2024, Municipal Consent permits shall be valid for a period of one year. The date of MC application must be later than January 1, 2024 in order for this term to apply. Applications received earlier than this date, but issued after this date shall remain a 6 month term.
Exemption Guidelines are an approach to allow minor utility works to be exempt from circulation in order to expedite these works and to reduce the City’s administration requirements and costs. Works must comply with the Road Activity By-law. For a copy of these guidelines, please email Utilitycirculations@ottawa.ca
Where a utility circulation is required as part of another City process or approval, these should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org through the applicable City project manager or lead.
Municipal Consent Process
There are two main methods for applying for Municipal Consent. This is dependant on whether the proponent has an account with the City’s circulation software or not and generally applies to public utilities operating within the ROW. Those with an account can directly input their applications into the software. Others may submit email to Utilitycirculations@ottawa.ca. Submissions must meet the City’s current Circulation Requirements. Submissions failing to meet these requirements may be returned to the proponent at the sole discretion of the City.
The circulation process typically requires one month, but circumstances such as application completeness, volume of applications, and application complexity can affect this time. Shoring systems installed within the City’s Right-of-way, require MC. Shoring applications typically require more time, applicants are advised to apply for Municipal Consent as soon as they are able.
Different application types (urban, rural, shoring) may have different circulation requirements. These requirements can be requested any time by emailing Utilitycirculations@ottawa.ca
General Circulation requirements
All packages must include a cover letter describing:
- Comprehensive description of all work. Include length of installation and dimensions of any and all utility boxes, above or below grade;
- Street locations and/or Municipal Address;
- The City / utility project manager, or designated person leading the project*;
- Clearly indicate if this is a preliminary or final circulation for City projects and, if applicable, for other utility projects;
- Anticipated construction dates; and
- Any known utility relocations, and any other information relevant to this aspect of the project anticipated construction dates.
Note For shoring and tieback submissions, both the City PM information and the Building Code Services contact information is required.
- The Central Registry shall be used for all base plans where available. The Central Registry can be reached at GeoInformation@Ottawa.ca or by calling 613‐580‐2424 x44455. It remains the responsibility of the proponent to verify the accuracy of site conditions.
- Offsets must be shown for any utility within 2m of the proposed work, or on the same side of the ROW.
- Plant location must be tied to a property line, curb or a permanent structure.
- Proposed plant must be clearly identified and distinguishable from existing shown plant.
- Depth of proposed plant and duct configuration must be shown in section or profile.
- All utility plant / appurtenances within the road allowance must be shown when available per the Central Registry (CR) information. If no Central Registry information is available then a drawing must show proposed utility with ties to property line, centerline of ditch, edge of gravel or asphalt and any above grade infrastructure in the vicinity.
- A key plan with cross streets and north arrow, must be included with the proposed work.
- A drawing legend.
- Drawings must be to scale. Scale shall be clearly indicated (typically 1:250 or 1:500). A bar scale must also be included.
- Shoring drawings shall include shoring installation details (eg, tie‐backs) in plan and profile if entering the Public ROW above or below grade. Existing utilities in proximity to proposed shoring must also be clearly indicated in plan and profile.
Drawings shall be submitted digitally in PDF format. All plans must be grouped into files of 9.9MB or less (zip compressed packages are acceptable). There can be as many 9.9MB files as required to complete the submission.
An additional hard copy set of drawings may be requested for certain projects, and shall be submitted in one or both of the following formats:
• One full scale (24” x 36”) and/ or half sized scale (11” x 17”) sized set of plans. All hard copy circulation packages, when required, should be sent to the attention of:
Right of Way Branch
100 Constellation Drive, 6th Floor East
Ottawa Ontario, K2G 6J8
Internal mail code 26‐61
- Ontario Design Guidelines – Water Distribution
- Ottawa Sewer Design Guidelines
- MOE Stormwater Management Planning and Design Manual
- Servicing (Site) Guidelines
- City Specifications and Standards
- Pool Enclosure – No. 2013-39
- Private Approach – No. 2003-447
- Road Activity – No. 2003-445
- Sewer Connection – No. 2006-513
- Sewer Use – No. 2003-514
- Site Alteration – No. 2018-164
- Tree Conservation – No. 2009-200
- Water – No. 2013-360
- Zoning – No. 2008-250