The City’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee today approved changes to several City regulations that would enable farmers to diversify their businesses, permitting a range of small-scale commercial and industrial activities on agricultural properties.


While the changes would continue to protect Ottawa’s farms for agricultural use, they would encourage rural economic development by permitting farms to open small businesses such as retail shops, yoga classes, artist studios, bakeries, eco-tourism and repair businesses. The aim is to build on the pivotal role that rural Ottawa plays in the city’s overall economic prosperity, growth and diversity.


The revised permissions would fall under two categories:

  • Agriculture-related uses include those that support local farming operations directly. These would be limited to businesses that store farm products, like grain and farm machinery, for other farms.
  • On-farm diversified uses refer to those not directly related to farming, like restaurant or retail businesses. The revised policies would regulate the size of these uses rather than the specific use itself, to allow opportunity for new business ideas.


The City is developing a document to guide prospective applicants in the planning process, costs and business considerations for starting an on-farm diversified business. Interested residents can also find more information about how farmers might diversify their businesses at


The Committee also approved changes to several provisions of the City’s Zoning By-law – most notably sections related to parking and secondary dwelling units. This is part of ongoing work to clean up the by-law and improve readability, making it easier to use. The changes approved today would halve the overall length of the affected by-law sections.


Recommendations from today’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, July 7.


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