Consultants - business licensing
Consultant is a generic term for someone who offers knowledge or expertise in a certain field for financial reward. Usually, these are working professionals who are regulated by their own professional associations and standards councils and do not require municipal licensing. However, the way a business is licensed depends on the full scope of services offered.
Examples of businesses that do require a municipal licence:
- Architects and designers who also act as a general contractor.
- Any consultant who sells a product.
- Nutritional consultants who sell food supplements.
- Security consultants or alarm agents.
Examples of businesses that do not require a municipal licence:
- Doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors and other health professionals who are regulated members under the Health Professions Act.
- Lawyers and those working in the legal profession.
- Architects, designers, engineers and land developers not acting as a contractor.
- Home inspectors.
- Real estate consultants, salespeople and mortgage brokers.
- Financial consultants and accountants.
As part of The City’s efforts to accelerate the business license approvals process, customers with a myID business account can receive a digital copy of their business licence via email. This is available to customers applying for a new business licence or renewing an existing licence. To learn more about the benefits of a myID business account and to sign-up today, please visit myID business account (calgary.ca).
Currently, there is no change to individuals who need a personal identification card for their licence (security consultants or alarm agents). We’re working on a digital option and will notify you when this service is available.
Note: All businesses operating in Calgary are required to register their business, obtain a business identification number (BID) or Business ID, and obtain land use approval for the business location even if it does not require a licence. Certain businesses that do not need a municipal licence may still require licensing, permits or inspections from other regulatory bodies.
Land use approval
All businesses in Calgary require land use approval. Each space in a building has its own specified, approved use that cannot be changed without an approval, permit or both. Visit home-based business or commercial-based businesses for more information, or contact our Planning Services Centre to investigate land use approval for your business.
Businesses which do not require a licence do not have an associated fee to register for a Business ID.
Fees may be required for permits that are needed to meet land use approval.
Business ownership changes
A business licence or business ID is not transferable from one person to another or from one person's business premises to another.
A business operating from more than one location requires a separate business licence for each premises.
All charitable organizations must be associated with another licenced business activity. Approval must be granted by the province before applying for a municipal licence.
Businesses not eligible for a charity status:
- Alcohol beverage sales
- Tobacco retailer
All fundraising activity is governed by the charitable fundraising act. Charitable organizations that are only fundraising should contact Alberta Municipal Affairs, Housing and Consumer Affairs Division at 1-780-427-8044 or 1-877-427-4088.
All applicants for this licence type should first consult with the province about eligibility for this designation and register their business, prior to applying for a municipal business licence. Contact Service Alberta at 1-780-427-4088 (or toll free in Alberta only at 1-877-427-4088) for more information.
How to apply
If you need help when completing your application, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday to Friday.