What is a Refreshment Vehicle/Street Food Vendor?

Refreshment vehicle means a vehicle within or from which food is prepared, offered, sold or otherwise made available for consumption by persons. A Refreshment Vehicle, commonly known as a "Street Food Vendor", is a technical term defined in the City's Business Licensing By-law.

What are the different types of Refreshment Vehicles/Street Food Vendors?

Refreshment Vehicles/Street Food Vendors can take a variety of forms. Ice cream trucks, hot dog carts, ice cream bikes, chip trucks and other food trucks are all examples of the different types of Refreshment Vehicles/Street Food Vendors.

Oshawa currently defines four (4) classes of refreshment vehicles within the Business Licensing By-law including:

1. Hot Dog Cart: a Mobile Refreshment Vehicle that is operated or licensed to operate at one location for a period no less than three (3) hours and not exceeding nine (9) hours on any day.

Example: Hot dog cart

2. Mobile Refreshment Vehicle: A Refreshment Vehicle that is propelled by means other than an on-board motor or engine.

Examples: ice cream bikes, coffee bikes, and trailers.

3. Motorized Refreshment Vehicle: A Mobile Refreshment vehicle that is self-propelled by means of an on-board motor or engine.

Examples: food trucks and ice cream trucks.

4. Stationary Refreshment Vehicle: A Refreshment Vehicle operated from one Lot but does not include a Hot Dog Cart.

Examples:  “Chip Trucks” as seen on various private property lots in Oshawa.

Please note that Stationary Refreshment Vehicles are not part of this review.

What are some of the current regulations in Oshawa?

Oshawa currently has different regulations depending on the type of Refreshment Vehicle. Examples include:

Hot Dog Carts:

  • Not permitted to operate for less than three (3) hours or more than nine (9) hours in a day
  • Permitted in any Zone that permits a fast food restaurant

Mobile Refreshment Vehicles:

  • Vehicle cannot exceed 6.7 metres in length and 2.6 metres in width
  • Not permitted to operate before April 1 or after October 30
  • Not permitted to operate between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Not permitted to operate at any one location for longer than ten (10) minutes (unless they have not finished serving customers in line)
  • Permitted to operate within industrial lands for a period not exceeding two (2) hours
  • Not permitted to operate on any Regional or City Highway
  • Not permitted to operate on a sidewalk
  • Not permitted to sell food outside of the limits of a sidewalk
  • Not permitted to operate within 60 m of its last location or any location where it operated within the last twenty-four (24) hours
  • Not permitted to operate within 60 m of any park or schools
  • Not permitted to operate on any Lot without written consent of all owners of the Lot

Motorized Refreshment Vehicles:

  • Not permitted to operate before April 1 or after October 30
  • Not permitted to operate between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Not permitted to operate at any one location for longer than ten (10) minutes (unless they have not finished serving customers in line)
  • Not permitted to operate on any Regional or City Highway
  • Not permitted to operate on a sidewalk
  • Not permitted to sell food outside of the limits of a sidewalk
  • Not permitted to operate within 60 m of its last location or any location where it operated within the last twenty-four (24) hours
  • Not permitted to operate within 60 m of any park or schools

Stationary Refreshment Vehicles have their own list of standards, which are not part of this review.


What is the City doing on the issue of Refreshment Vehicles/Street Food Vendors?

The City is presently undertaking an industry stakeholder and public consultation process to discuss the role of Street Food Vendors within the City of Oshawa. Following the consultation process, staff will assess the feedback and develop regulatory policy options relating to the Licensing By-law 120-2005 and the Highway Vending By-law 33-92.