Union Local 613 restaurant name revoked by province

A new restaurant in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood will have to change its name after the province sent a letter informing them it sounded too much like a registered union.

ServiceOntario decision to demand name change "non-sensical, bureaucratic," says area MPP

New Centretown restaurant Union Local 613 is changing its name because it sounds like a union name, province says. 1:59

The Ontario government has revoked a new Ottawa restaurant's name because it believes the name could confuse people whether the restaurant is a union or an eatery.

Union Local 613, located at the corner of O'Connor Street and Somerset Street West in Centretown, opened in July.

It serves locally grown southern-style food at the former home of a sushi restaurant, and in an area known for its revolving door of restaurants.

Matt Fantin from Union Local 613 says he doesn't think anyone would confuse his restaurant with a registered union. (CBC)

But the popular restaurant for Ottawa food lovers said it would likely have to change its name after the province sent a letter detailing how the name could be misleading to the general public as to the nature of the business.

To the restaurant's owners, the name was simply a play on words reflecting their desire to bring people together, or unite people, who work in the local food industry.

"[It is a place] where farmers would want to come, wine reps want to come, cooks, ‘foodies’ in general," said Matt Fantin, co-owner of Union Local 613.

Restaurant caught in bureaucracy

The 613 represents Ottawa's area code, which is not a problem, but the name as a whole has been revoked by ServiceOntario, the agency which regulates restaurant names in the province.

Ontario's Business Names Act states a business can't register a name that is misleading the public to believe it is an institution of a different kind.

Fantin argued he thinks nobody would confuse a restaurant for a union. Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, responsible for the ward that includes the restaurant, said it is a "non-sensical, bureaucratic decision."

The owners of Union Local 613 are discussing all options with their lawyers including whether to appeal the government's decision.

They also say they might remove the word, "local" if it helps the clarity surrounding the purpose of its business. An appeal would allow them more time, as the letter stipulated they only have 20 days to change the name.