2020 Patio Applications

Through the Town of Oakville’s Commercial Recovery Initiative, a new program has been launched for 2020 which includes patios. This program supports the town-wide reopening of commercial businesses in a practical and safe manner.

While the timeframe and requirements for physical distancing remain unknown, town staff are available to begin the intake and consultation process for patios, bistros and other measures requiring the use of public lands including municipal sidewalks and roadways to achieve physical distancing. Expanded use of private lands for these purposed is also being accommodated. 

While town permits will be issued, applicants must comply with provincial directives and regulations.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) has created an abbreviate process for the extension of the premises related to existing liquor licences onto new or expanded patios. Compliance with the requirements requires confirmation that the municipality does not object to the extension of the premises. For eligible patios confirmation that the town does not object will be provided with the permit for the patio. Separate applications and fees are not required.

What’s New for 2020

  1. Town lands, such as sidewalks and parking spaces and will be available in 2020 for patios subject to permitting requirements.
  2. Opportunities for new or extended patios on private property with temporary exemptions from required parking or site plan obligations
  3. Application fees related to processing permits have been waived for 2020.
  4. Expedited processing of municipal consent to temporary extension of liquor licence. 

To support businesses, the Town of Oakville has extended its current patio program to December 31, 2020. The extension is for patios on both public and private property, provided that all of the guidelines outlined on this webpage can be met.

Existing permit holders will require an extension agreement if they would like to use their patio beyond November 3, 2020. New requests for patios will require a new patio agreement.

Contact Service Oakville at 905-845-6601 or service@oakville.ca to discuss the extension of your existing patio permit.

General Rules

  • Extension Agreement: Existing patio permit holders will require an extension agreement if they would like to use their patios beyond November 3, 2020. New requests for patios will require a new patio permit agreement
  • Heaters: Heaters will be allowed as long as they meet the guidelines provided in the “Heaters” section of this document. To provide heating in a covered area, a review by the Oakville Fire Department is required.
  • Snow Clearing: Patios and bistros can remain on sidewalks if they can provide a two metre (2 m) width and 2.4 metre height clearance to allow for snow removal equipment. Power cables and cords (even if covered) must be removed from the sidewalk to allow for snow clearing. Permit holders will be responsible for keeping their patios accessible and clear of snow and ice.
  • Public Health Requirements:  Permit holders will be required to abide by all Halton Public Health requirements.
  • Tents: In some instances, tents may be permitted, including on-street parking spaces. For more information see the “Tents and other coverings” section of this webpage.


Portable heating devices will be permitted on outdoor patios with an extension agreement, provided they meet the requirements, restrictions and guidelines outlined below. Heating a covered structure, such as a tent, will require a review/inspection by the Oakville Fire Department.

Portable heating unit requirements:

  • Certified by CSA/ULC
  • Meet the requirements of TSSA Act 2000
  • Be designed for outdoor use only
  • Have an anti-tilt feature that automatically shuts off the heater
  • Be free-standing, with a minimum height of 160 centimetres

Installation requirements:

  • Must be installed on a non-combustible solid surface (i.e. not on grass or uneven sidewalk)
  • Must be out of the wind which can create a hazard if the unit is blown over
  • Minimum of one metre (three feet) clearance from the base of the heating unit to any combustible materials
  • The pedestrian clearway must be free of power cables and cords at all times

Portable heating appliances are NOT permitted in the following circumstances:

  • In any enclosed or partially enclosed areas*
  • Under fire escapes
  • Within a means of egress or adjacent to an exit
  • Underneath a combustible structure (i.e. canopies, awnings, tents, wood framework, umbrellas etc.)*
  • Adjacent to or otherwise obstructing firefighting equipment like fire hydrants or Siamese connections
  • Near or attached to trees, utilities or other street elements
  • Table top heating appliances are not permitted

*Heaters are not permitted in an enclosed or partially enclosed area or underneath a combustible structure without a review/inspection by the Oakville Fire Department to ensure safety.

Fueled heating appliances guidelines:

For the use of propane or other fire fueled heating appliance, the following specific safety guidelines apply:

  • Do not store the unit indoors
  • Keep a maximum of one (1) day’s supply of propane on site
  • The maximum allowable propane tank size is a single 20 pound tank (approximately 10 hours of operation)
  • Do not move portable heater while the flame is open. Ensure the gas supply is properly shut off and the unit is cool before relocating
  • Follow all manufacturer safety requirements for the safe transportation, operation and storage of fuel
  • Each propane tank used must meet the requirements of the Canadian Propane Association
  • Locate sufficient, easily accessible, fire extinguishers in the patio area.

It is the owner’s responsibility to review and abide by the requirements and guidelines and ensure the safe installation, operation and maintenance of portable outdoor patio heating units. Follow all manufacturer guidelines for assembly, installation and maintenance of the appliance. Seek the assistance of a qualified professional if required.

For more information on Patio Heater Safety, please review the TSSA Patio Heater Safety Guidelines.

Tents and other structures:

Permit holders wishing to continue using or installing some form of covered structure, such as a tent, must consult with the Town of Oakville. Requirements for various tent sizes and location are outlined below:

If a tent is located more than three (3) metres from a building and less than 30 square metres in size

  • Tent material must satisfy fire safety NFPA705 requirements
  • Tent must be provided with a portable fire extinguisher Type 2A10BC (dry chemical)
  • Heaters must comply with the specifications in the Heaters section on this webpage. It is recommended that you contact the Fire Department before purchasing or using any heater; a fire inspection will be conducted.
  • Must comply with zoning regulations for the property such as minimum and maximum setbacks and heights

If a tent is located more than three (3) metres from a building and is between 30 square metres and 60 square metres in size

  • In addition to the requirements in number 1 above, the owner/operator will be required to demonstrate snow and wind load capacity as required by the Ontario Building Code. Consult with the Fire Department to discuss options to address snow load such as the manual removal of snow, heaters, etc.

If a tent is located less than three (3) metres from a building OR greater than 60 square metres in size

  • In addition to the requirements in number 1 and 2 above, a building permit is required. In this situation, the manual removal of snow or use of heaters cannot be used to address snow load issues in accordance with the Ontario Building Code.
  • Learn more about Tent Permit Requirements (pdf).

Contact Service Oakville at 905-845-6601 or service@oakville.ca to discuss your patio tent.


Should you have any questions, please contact Service Oakville at (905) 845-6601 or service@oakville.ca.

Winter Patio Guidelines are subject to change at the Town of Oakville’s discretion.

Apply now

Apply for a patio permit on town land or private property by completing the 2020 patio permit application (pdf). Once completed, send to service@oakville.ca.

For more details, please contact Service Oakville at 905-845-6601 or service@oakville.ca.