Why is the City updating the Right-of-Way Patio By-law?

    As part of the 2022 Patio Innovation Program, City Staff were directed to review and report on potential permanent amendments to relevant by-laws in advance of the 2023 Patio Season. The proposed amendments to the Right-of-Way Patio By-law aim to ensure the continued success of Ottawa’s patio program and help streamline the permit system. A summary of the recommended amendments can be found on the project webpage. Residents are encouraged to provide their feedback by emailing the project team.

    What is a Right-of-Way (ROW) Patio?

    A patio located on public property, otherwise known as the Right-of-Way (ROW). 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.  

    Will I still be notified if a new Right-of-Way patio is being installed near my home?

    Yes. Residents and property owners within 30m of the proposed new right-of-way patio will be notified. The local Councillor, Business Improvement Area, and any registered Community Associations will also be notified.

    Why is the City recommending a patio closing time of 2:00 a.m. for Right-of-Way patios?

    For the last three years, under the Patio Innovation Program, all Right-of-Way Patios were allowed to remain open until 2:00am. The Patio Innovation Program was developed to support patio operators and address existing by-law inconsistencies, which included varying closure times up to 2:00 AM. The program aided in creating a consistent and equitable approach and opportunity for patio operators to recover from economic hardship faced by the pandemic, by allowing them to align their business hours with their patio operations. Staff continue to note that the consistent closure time has provided clarity for patio operators and enforcement staff and has been successful due to the associated stepped enforcement strategy. Moving forward, to allow this existing situation to continue, City staff are recommending that the Right-of-Way Patio By-law be revised to permanently allow for a continuation of a 2:00am closing time for patios in the Right-of-Way.

    Will Right-of-Way patio’s still need to adhere to the City’s noise by-law?


    How will the City enforce the noise by-law?

    Noise complaints should still be directed to By-law services or 3-1-1 who will send a service request to By-Law Services. As part of the patio innovation program, a new stepped enforcement strategy has been implemented and has been successful in addressing the limited noise complaints associated with Right-of-Way patios.

    Why is the City creating new Patio Guidelines?

    The guidelines are intended to support the Right-of-Way Patio By-law and provide guidance on how to create vibrant and accessible outdoor commercial patio spaces. These guidelines encourage commercial patios to be designed to support local economic growth, animate the public realm, foster social connections, and be accessible to everyone.

    Did the City consider accessibility when preparing the Guidelines?

    Yes, the Guideline document encourages patios to be designed to be as accessible for all users. The Urban Design Team is consulting with the City of Ottawa’s Accessibility Office.

    How will the new guidelines be used?

    These guidelines are to be used during the preparation and review of commercial patio             proposals on public and private property. The guidelines are intended to be a resource for the preparation of temporary patio permits on public property and for the design of development proposals that include a commercial patio on public or private property.

    When will these changes go into effect?

    The City is aiming to have the proposed amendments and guidelines in place for the 2023 Patio Season. The report is currently scheduled to be presented to Transportation Committee on March 23, 2023, and City Council on April 12, 2023. The new guidelines may also be considered by Planning and Housing and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees in advance of City Council.

    I have questions about the by-law changes and/or the patio Guidelines, who do I contact with my questions?

    Residents are encouraged to review the draft recommendations and guidelines in full. Further questions or comments can be shared by email to Laureen.Dinardo@ottawa.ca or provided here. If you would like to review a copy of the draft guidelines and/or draft by-law, please submit a request to Laureen.DiNardo@ottawa.ca.