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.
Apply in person at the Planning Services Centre.
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
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:15p.m. (MT)
Whitehorn Multi-Services Centre
3705 35 Street N.E.