A business licence is a good investment. Having a licence shows your customers that you are a legitimate business that complies with local laws and regulations. Anyone providing goods or services in Edmonton is required to have a licence.
Business licences are location-specific and you usually need a separate licence for each location from which you operate. Some exemptions to this rule are people who sell their product in a public market, exhibition hall, or are travelling or temporary sales people (for example, door-to-door).
For businesses that hire subcontractors, the subcontractors must have their own business licences.
Licences must be renewed annually. A renewal notice/bill will be sent to the address on your licence one month before your licence expires.
The renewal fee must be paid by the date listed on the notice otherwise your licence will expire and you will have to stop your business operations until you get a new licence.
Moving or Selling the Business
If you change your operations or move your business to a new location, you will need to have your account reviewed to determine if a new development permit or business licence category is required.
Licences are non-transferable. If you sell or close down your business, please contact our office.
If you need a licence, here are the steps to get one:
Step 1 – Before you apply
For commercial or industrial locations, it is important that you find a location that is ‘zoned’ for your business activity. Edmonton Maps can help show the current zoning for sites across Edmonton and “what is permitted” to operate in various locations.
If your business activity is not listed as a “permitted use” or “discretionary use” in the zoning for your proposed location, you may need to apply for a rezoning or select a different location where the zoning allows your business activity.
If your business activity is listed as “permitted use” or “discretionary use”, you may still need a development permit and/or building permits before your business licence can be approved. Permits are needed if you are changing the type of business activity at the location (such as, converting retail space into a restaurant) and/or undertaking significant interior or exterior renovations. Visit the Changes to Existing Buildings webpage for more information on when development and building permits are required and how to apply.
Are you a small business owner or is this your first or second time opening a business? Make an appointment for one-on-one support by emailing email@example.com
Step 2 – Apply for business licence
- Floor Plans are required if your business is in a commercial or industrial space.
- Corporate Registry Search from the provincial government is required if your business is a corporation (such as, a Registered Business Name ending in Ltd. Corp. or Inc., registered non-profits or societies, numbered corporations)
- Check your business licence category to see if you have to submit other documents as well
Online application, In-person or by mail
Commercial business licences: if you are operating out of a commercial, industrial location.
Home Based business licences: if your business will be run from your house in Edmonton.
Based Out of Town business licences: the business will be based outside the city of Edmonton.
Step 3 - Fees and approval
Once you have submitted your application and other required documents, you will need to pay your fees before the City can process it. Once fees are paid, the City will process your application.
For commercial and industrial business applications, your proposed business will be reviewed by a development officer to determine whether it is allowed under your location’s zoning, which is set by the Zoning Bylaw (refer to Step 1). In some cases, your application may be reviewed by a Safety Code Officer to determine if building and/or trade permits are required for any interior/exterior alterations.
For home based business applications, your proposed business will be reviewed by a development officer to determine the impact on the business activity of related visits, storage, and vehicles associated with the business activity. In some cases, your application may also be reviewed by a Safety Codes Officer to determine if building and/or trade permits are required for any interior/exterior alterations.
For Based Out of Town business applications, your proposed business will not be reviewed by a development officer or Safety Code Officer as there is no permanent business location within the city.
Applications for certain categories of businesses have to be sent to other agencies (like the Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission or Edmonton Fire Rescue) for a recommendation before the City can issue a licence. Some applications are forwarded to other agencies simply to notify them of your new business.
Business licence applications that meet all requirements are usually processed in 1-3 weeks, however, categories that require recommendations OR applications that require permits for renovations or to change the activity can take longer. Once your application is processed, the City will either send your licence in the mail or notify you that your application has been denied.
Step 4 – Renewal
Your licence will have an expiry date on it and you must renew before that date – whether you receive a reminder from the City or not – or your licence will expire. If your licence expires before you renew, you will be required to go through the full licence application process again.
Fees are based on different types of Business Licence categories. Please refer to the Business Licence Fees below:
Business Licence Fees 2019
(effective until February 3, 2020)
Business Licence Fees 2020
(effective February 4, 2020-Pending Council Approval)
The consultations required are a list of all the other agencies that we are required to notify about or ask for a recommendation on your business licence application. This allows these other agencies to ensure that your business complies with the laws and regulations that they enforce.
Edmonton Business Licence Ambassador Program
The Edmonton Business Licence Ambassadors are visiting various businesses in the City to educate them about business licences and how to get them as part of the Open for Business program. Ambassadors will provide information to businesses and will assist with provision and completion of application forms and provide a point of contact for any further questions.
Having a business licence lets the public know that the business is legitimate, complies with local laws and regulations, and is conducting business activities in appropriate locations.