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.
  • Journalists​

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 (

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.

Additional information

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.

Multiple premises

A business operating from more than one location requires a separate business licence for each premises.

Charitable organization

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


Apply now

If you need help when completing your application Chat with us, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday to Friday.

In person

Apply in person at the Planning Services Centre. To skip the line, book an appointment online.​​

Planning Services Centre

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:15p.m. (MT)

Live chat:


3rd floor, Municipal building
800 Macleod Trail SE

We do regular research with businesses to better understand the outlook and viewpoint of the business community. If you are a business owner, leader or manager, join our online business research panel, Business Perspectives.

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