Accommodation and Lodging - business licensing
Before you apply
Do you need a licence?
A municipal business licence is required for most businesses that provide a form of accommodation or lodging to the public.
What licence do you need?
Examples of businesses that do require a municipal business license:
- Apartment building operators (renting three or more units)
- Motor inn
Examples of businesses that do not require a municipal business license:
- Office building operator
- Bed and breakfast
If your business does not require a licence, you still require a Business ID and land use approval. Visit businesses not requiring a municipal licence for more information.
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).
How much will it cost?
When setting up a new licence, applicable fees apply. The business licence fee schedule is broken down by licence type. If your business requires multiple licence types, the highest category fee will be charged. Fees are subject to change the next calendar year.
These fees do not include the costs related to required permits to meet land use approval, or any third-party approvals or inspections that may be required to obtain your licence.
How long will it take to get a licence?
Timelines indicated are not a guarantee and depend on volumes, application completeness, and the applicant’s timely replies to additional information requests from the City.
Business licence: 30 days average, final licence is issued only once the final inspection is completed.
What are the rules?
Apartment buildings converted to condominium units
When a person or corporation is the owner/operator of three or more units in an apartment building that has been converted to condominiums and those units are being rented, a business licence is required in the category of apartment building operator. This is because they are still in the business of providing rental accommodation. When there are multiple buildings, each building requires a business licence.
If a building has an entranceway on one side of it for two suites and an entranceway on the other side of the building for the other two suites, it is not considered an apartment building. If the building has one common entranceway for access to all four suites in the building, then it is considered an apartment building.
Short term rentals and lodging houses
How to prepare your application
Prepare your application
Once you know how and where your business will operate, you’re ready to apply.
For a smooth application, make sure you know the following information:
Tips for a smooth application process
Before you apply
Download the checklist and check each application requirement as you prepare to submit your application. Items listed on the checklist are the minimum requirements. We might need more information after we review your application.
Use sample drawings to review what you need to include on your plans
Double check your documents are completed and make sure you have all required items on your plans before you upload them
After you apply
Use the Job Access Code (JAC) to check status updates for your application on calgary.ca/vista
- You’ll get a JAC by e-mail after you’ve submitted your application. If you did not receive a JAC number, contact the Planning Services Center.
- Checking your application’s status using your JAC will provide you with timely updates about the status of your application
What is a complete application?
A complete application means that you have provided all the necessary requirements for our teams to complete their reviews. You should provide everything listed on the Complete Application Requirement List, including plans, supporting documents and payment.
An application for a permit may be refused if, within ninety (90) days from the date of receipt, if adequate information and documentation is not supplied as requested by the Safety Codes Officer. Should a permit be considered for refusal, the applicant will be given notification in writing and 30 days to resubmit the missing information. For more information, please review Building Advisory A19-002 Building Permit Complete Application.
Complete the application form.
Once you have gathered all required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre.
We’re currently experiencing higher than seasonal application volumes, we apologize for delays. To check the status of your permit, go to vista.calgary.ca and enter in your Job Access Code (JAC) number
After you apply
How to check the status of your licence
Once you apply for your business licence, outstanding approvals must be completed before the business licence is issued.
A business licence will often have multiple licence types associated with it. Below is a chart of all the related licence types that fall under this business activity. If your business requires multiple licence types, approval processes are only generated once per licence. For example, only one fire inspection is required even if multiple licence types require that inspection.
What approvals do you need?
Required approvals by licence type
|Apartment Building Operator
How to book your inspections?
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.
You can also refer to Commercial, industrial and mulit-residential for more information, or contact our Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 to investigate land use approval for your business.
Most businesses that operate from commercial premises require an inspection from the Fire Prevention Bureau before the licence can be issued.
If a business licence is for a low fire-risk licence type, it can be issued if only the Fire approval is outstanding. Low fire-risk businesses need to have the fire inspection within 30 days of their licence being issued.
Before you book your inspection, you must be ready for business, which means:
- Applicants must be in possession of the space/site
- The business is ready to serve customers (e.g. shelves are stocked and fixtures are in place)
|Business Licence Approval Type
|5 business days
To book your inspection contact 311 with your Business Identification (BID) number to request a Fire Inspection for Business Licence (call 403-268-2489 outside of Calgary) .
It can take up to 5 business days for an inspector to visit the space.
See the Fire Department Business Licence Checklist to see what is required for your inspection.
The Fire Prevention Bureau will notify the Licence Division with the results of the inspection.
This inspection must be performed by the Fire Prevention Bureau inspectors. This approval is in addition to any inspection done by the firefighting division, such as the occupancy inspection completed on your building permit.
An Alberta Health Services (AHS) location inspection is required to ensure public safety. Any business involving the sale, preparation, manufacturing or storage of food products requires this inspection. Any business involved in personal service such as aesthetics or massage is also required to have this inspection. Contact AHS at 1-833-476-4743 for more information and to book a date.
Inspection results can be submitted:
- In person at the Planning Services Centre:
3rd floor, Municipal building, 800 Macleod Trail S.E.
- By email: email@example.com
If AHS advised you that your business type does not require a health inspection, please record the name of the individual you spoke with, their telephone number, and the reason provided. Please provide these details to The City’s Planning Services Centre.
Please be aware of all current provincial public health restrictions for in-person dining.
|Business Licence approval type
|Alberta Health Services
|Contact AHS at 403-943-2288 for timelines
After you have obtained all your approvals, your Business Licence can be issued to you.
Check the status of your application
Get a copy of your licence
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.
Lost or damaged licences
If your licence is lost or damaged and you require a new copy, duplicate licences can be requested through apply.calgary.ca/managebusiness or by contacting the Planning Services Centre. Customers with a myID business account can now receive a duplicate copy of their business licence via email.
Licence not received in the mail
If you prefer to receive a mailed copy of your business licence, you can select this option by requesting a duplicate copy online or by calling the Planning Services Centre. Paper duplicates are offered free of charge at this time. Please allow about two weeks to receive your licence in the mail. If you have not received it within this timeframe, please contact the Planning Services Centre.