Small sidewalk patio permit

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

Annual 2021 patio permit fees 

May 18, 2021: Annual patio permit fees have been waived for 2021 to support business recovery efforts. You will still be required to apply for a patio permit; however, fees will not apply. If you have already paid for a 2021 patio permit, staff will contact you in the coming weeks to outline refund options. 

Provincial guidelines for patios and outdoor dining spaces 

April 23, 2021: The BC CDC and Ministry of Health have published guidelines for patios and outdoor dining spaces in accordance with the latest Provincial Health Office's order. Review the Provincial guidelines to ensure your patio is in compliance. 

This permit allows businesses to put seating on the sidewalk. They may not serve liquor to those guests, and guests may not take liquor onto the patio.

The permit is valid from May 1 to April 30 of the following year, and may be renewed. The permit conditions outline the amount of structures approved by the City. Your total number of guests, including guests on the patio, cannot be more than your occupancy permit allows.

If you want to put a railing or planters around your sidewalk patio, you must apply for a sidewalk patio with liquor service (“large patio”) permit even if you will not be serving liquor.

Apply for a temporary expedited patio permit

This free permit allows businesses to set up temporary patios.

  The Temporary Expedited Patio Program doesn't apply to complex patios or any patio that doesn't fall within the program.

Review the steps to getting this permit and apply 


Basic requirements

Before applying for the small sidewalk patio permit, you need to have a current business license with the City of Vancouver as a Restaurant Class 1, Retail Dealer-Food, Retail Dealer-Market, Retail Dealer-Grocery or Limited Service Food Establishment. You also need to ensure that the space around your restaurant or café is suitable for a patio. The patio must:

  • Be located immediately next to the building the restaurant or café is located in, along either the front or the side of the building
  • Leave enough space on the sidewalk for pedestrians to move around it and any other obstacles, such as street lights, parking meters or trees. The minimum is 2.4 m or 8 feet
  • Not block exits from the businesses next to it
  • Not block access to Fire Department connections, sewer connections, and so on

Additional requirements

If your patio sits partly on private property and partly on City property, you will need both a development permit and a sidewalk patio permit.

If your patio will have a canopy or awning, you will also need a development permit and a building permit from Development Services.

Other criteria may apply. See the application form below for the full list of requirements.

How to apply for a small patio permit

Before you apply, have the following ready: 

  1. Current business licence
  2. A certificate of liability insurance
  3. $55.20 application fee

Apply online

Register for an account and submit your application online:

Apply online

The Sidewalk Patio Coordinator may inspect your site.

If the site is suitable for a patio, and if all other information is complete and accurate, you will be able to pay for and receive your permit. The coordinator will contact you requesting that you pay in person at Engineering Services and collect your permit.

Insurance requirements

As a condition of being granted a small patio permit, you must show proof of liability insurance coverage which meets the following requirements:

  • Inclusive limit of $2,000,000 P.L. and P.D. (public liability and property damage)
  • Cross liability clause
  • City of Vancouver named as insured

Download our Liability Insurance Certificate  (175 KB), forward it to your insurance company to complete, and upload it during your application.


The permit fee depends on the number of tables and chairs or seating approved on the permit.

Fee Cost
Application fee $56.30
Minimum annual permit fee (3 tables and 6 chairs ) $389.91 + GST
Additional unit fee (1 table and 2 chairs) $129.97 + GST
Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee $35

These rates only apply to the sidewalk patio permit itself. If other permits or licenses are needed, you must pay for those at the appropriate counter or department.

Renewing your permit

To renew your permit, log into your online account. You you will need:

  • Copy of your current business licence
  • Copy of appropriate liability insurance
  • Pay the permit fee on or before May 1 of that year

Are there changes to your patio or business?

Contact Streets Activities via Engineering Client Services about changes, when:

  • The existing layout for the patio does not match the approved plans
  • There have been other relevant changes (such as a change of ownership)

Contact us

Location - by appointment only
5th Floor
507 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 0B4

Monday to Friday
8:30am to 5pm

Mailing address
Engineering Services
320 - 507 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 0B4