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Winter Patio Permits

Source: Ottawa Coalition of B.I.A.s and City of Ottawa

Council has recently extended the ROW Summer Patio Permit program to November 15th and has also waived the monthly permit fees for the ROW Winter Patio program. The City will continue to collect the standard $62 permit fee for ROW Winter Patio permit applications.

Anyone wishing to operate a ROW Winter Patio past November 15th, please contact as soon as possible to obtain a Winter Patio Permit (up to March 31, 2021).

Patios on Private Property

Council has also extended the Temporary Zoning By-law amendment for patios on private property to December 31st to align with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission’s (AGCO) temporary extension for liquor licensing. The City continues to engage in discussions with the Province regarding the need for a continued AGCO temporary extension for liquor licensing into 2021.

If you are already registered with the City, there is no need to register again for an extension to operate a patio on private property until December 31st.

Covered Patios – Tents and other types of structures

Building Code Services, Ottawa Public Health and Fire Services have jointly advised that at least 50% of any structure (i.e. walls) must be open while the patio is in operation, regardless of the weather or type of heating source. This is to ensure adequate air circulation to mitigate possible transmission of COVID-19.

Anyone wishing to continue using or install a covered structure for the winter season must review Building Code Services requirements and ensure that all requirements have been met. Building Code Services will continue to expedite permit approvals for tents, patios, awnings and canopies within 5 business days. Please contact Building Code Services directly for any inquiries at

Heating of Patios and Blankets

With the colder weather approaching, installing or operating patio heaters will become more common. Ottawa Fire Services recommends that all heaters are approved for use in Canada and installed and operated as per the manufacturer’s instructions including proper ventilation and maintaining recommended clearances to combustibles and customers. All appropriate portable extinguishers are required to be on location. The type and size of portable extinguishers is relative to the size of patio and number of heaters in use. Patio Operators must also adhere to all requirements of the Ontario Fire Code.

As a reminder, at least 50% of any structure (i.e. walls) must be open while the patio is in operation, regardless of the weather or type of heating source (i.e. electric, propane). This is to ensure adequate air circulation to mitigate possible transmission of COVID-19. In addition, air circulation will avoid the build-up of carbon monoxide emissions from combustible heating sources.

For any inquiries related to fire pits, open-air fires or specific questions related to heating patios, please contact

With respect to the safety of blankets for customers on patios, please be advised that Ottawa Public Health recommends that customers bring their own blankets or, if blankets are provided, that they are laundered in between uses. It is also important to ensure that combustibles, such as blankets, are kept away from heating sources.

Physical Distancing

Continued diligence with respect to the physical distancing of customers is of the upmost importance. Please ensure any modifications to the layout of patios (such as heater locations, seating layout) respect the minimum 2-metre physical distancing requirements. Please note that in accordance with the Province’s Stage 3 legislation, standing on patio, other than to exit/enter a patio, paying for or picking up food, or walking to the washroom, is not permitted.

Additional information regarding winter patios will be available shortly on the Patio webpage and will be sent directly to all current ROW patio permit holders and private patio operators who have registered with the City.

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