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Massage services

Learn more about business licences, application requirements, and common rules

Before you apply


Do you need to register your business?

We encourage all businesses operating in Calgary to register their business with The City of Calgary.

All businesses operating from a location in Calgary are required to obtain location approval for their business, even if a licence is not required. Location approval helps ensure that the space you are operating has been approved for your business and is safe for all occupants.

If your business requires a business licence, registration will occur at the same time as applying for your licence. If you wish to register your business with the City of Calgary, please apply online.

Do you need a business licence?

Businesses and practitioners who manipulate the soft tissues of a customer require a municipal licence.

MyID business account

If you have a myID business account, you can get a digital copy of your business licence through email.

To learn more and to sign-up, visit myID business account

Businesses that do require a municipal licence:

Do

  • Massage clinics
  • Massage therapists
  • Mobile massage
  • Spas
  • Wellness centres

 

 

Businesses that do not require municipal licensing are:

Don't

  • Acupuncture
  • Holistic health therapies
  • Medical or therapeutic massage given by chiropractors, physiotherapists or medical doctors
  • Reiki practitioners
  • Students registered in a provincially licenced massage school, observing and performing massages or body rubs with an instructor
  • Facial massages performed alongside dental work

To speed up the business licence approvals process, customers with a myID business account can receive a digital copy of their business licence via email. Customers applying for a new business licence or renewing an existing licence can use this service. To learn more about the benefits of a myID business account, please visit myID business account (calgary.ca).

There is no change to persons who need an ID card for their licence (body rub practitioner). We are working on a digital option and will notify when this service is available. 

  • 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.

Rules and regulations


Practitioners

Massage practitioner

Persons paid to perform massages in Calgary are required to have a massage practitioner's licence. They do not require a licence if they are part of a provincially-regulated group allowed to perform massage under a professional designation (e.g. Chiropractors or physiotherapists). A massage practitioner is a member in good standing with one of the recognized massage associations and must provide proof upon application. The City recognizes the following massage associations:

Stand-alone or self-employed practitioners must also obtain a licence for a massage office or centre.

Students in a provincially-licensed massage school do not require a practitioner's licence if being observed by an instructor or licenced practitioner. Students performing massages not in the presence of a licenced practitioner require a practitioner's licence.


Body rub practitioner

Body rub practitioners are persons that:

  • have a minimum of 250 hours of training from an approved school of massage 
  • are not a member of the recognized massage associations.

To apply for a licence, all body rub practitioners must:

  • provide proof of employment from a licenced body rub centre upon application.
  • present an original certificate of proficiency proving 250 hours of massage training from a recognized school or institute.

Centres

Massage centre

A business licence is required when:

  • Businesses offer and perform massages in a location to the public for a fee

A massage centre or business office can only employ licenced massage practitioners. All massage centres must be within Calgary, however, the owner may live elsewhere.

Alternatively, a massage office is a business where a person books and maintains the records of a massage business at home, but the massages are performed elsewhere. 


Body rub centre

If a business does not hire only licensed massage practitioners, then a body rub centre licence is required. Body rub centres may also hire massage practitioners.

A body rub centre cannot:

  • operate as a home-based business
  • offer mobile massage services.

A body rub centre cannot be within 300 metres of another body rub centre. It also cannot operate from the same premises as a massage centre. Centres must be within Calgary, but the owner may live elsewhere.

Body rub centres applying for new licences are required to complete both a compliance and ownership statutory declaration upon application.

 

 

 

Licence combinations


Business activites Personal service licence Retailer dealer licence Food service licence

Massage centres that offer other services such as hair and aesthetics, manicures, pedicures or physical fitness conditioning

check



Massage centres selling products

check

check


Massage centres selling food or edible products including herbs, vitamins, supplements, non-alcoholic beverages or related products

check

check

check

  • Massage combo licence

    Home-based massage practitioners that meet the eligibility criteria may apply for a combo licence. The ownership of the business must be a sole proprietorship and no other category of licensing is allowed on the licence (e.g. retail dealer or personal service).

  • Massage office

    A massage office cannot have any employees or perform massages at the massage office location. This licence is for a single person operation who books their own appointments and goes to a client's location. Persons wishing to book appointments for other massage practitioners would be licenced as a massage centre.

Additional licences

  • Acupuncture treatment is regulated by the Health Disciplines Act with Alberta Health - 1-780-427-3276.
  • Massage and body rub practitioners must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
  • Body rub practitioners require a photo identification card that must be renewed annually.
  • Photo identification cards are optional for massage practitioners and can be provided on request.

Fees


For business licence fees, see the Business Licence Fee Schedule. 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.

These fees do not include:

  • the costs related to required permits to meet land use approval
  • any third-party approvals/inspections that may be required to obtain your licence.

Apply


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:

  • Business Activities
  • Location of Business
  • Fee payment at the time of application*
  • Ownership
  • Name of Business
  • Contact information for the business and owner
  • If you are applying online, a myID account
  • Two pieces of government issued identification

Tips for a smooth application process

Before you apply

  • Put together a cost and timeline estimate.
  • Confirm the requirements needed to operate from your selected location:
    • Is your type of business allowed to operate from your chosen location (is the Use listed in your Land Use District)
    • What type of Permits do you need as part of your Location Approval? See location approval.
      • Do you need to apply for a development permit or tenancy change as part of your Location Approval?
      • Does the space require any upgrades to comply with Building and Fire Codes?
        • Are you doing construction yourself or hiring a contractor?
        • Do you need to apply for a building permit as part of your Land Use Approval?
      • Do you need approval from the property owner before making changes to the space?
    • Hire the appropriate contractors for the project.
      • Are your contractors licensed
      • Can your contractors pull the right trade permits to work on your business?

After you apply

  • Submit all required documents as soon as you have prepared the permit requirements
    • If your Business needs a Development and Building Permit, submit the Development Permit first and wait for a decision prior to submitting your Building Permit
    • If your Business needs a Building Permit, submit all necessary Building Permit requirements
  • Follow-up on requests for further information
  • Book and complete your Inspections if a Building Permit is required
  • Book and complete your Health and Fire Inspections once the Building Permit is complete

Need help? A business experience representative can help you determine what approvals you will need. Contact The Planning Services Centre.

Apply for your licence and required permits

To apply online, you need a myID account. Create a myID account.

Apply in person

Once you have gathered all required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre.

After you apply


What approvals do you need?

After you submit your application online, you will get a confirmation email summarizing your application. It will include your Business Identification number (BID) and your next steps. If you do not get this email, check your junk email folder and then contact the Planning Services Center if you still did not receive it.

Once you apply for your business licence, you must complete your outstanding approvals before the business licence is issued.

The approvals you will need for your licence are:

  You will be contacted by a file manager to review your application and provide you with next steps. 

  Required

Licence type Land use Police Fire AHS / Health Provincial AMVIC ID card
Body rub centre

check

check

check

Body rub practitioner

check

check

Massage centre / office

check

check

check

Massage practitioner

check

check

Personal service

check

check

check

Retail detailer - no premises

check

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.

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.

To view the allowable uses within a land use district, refer to the Land Use Bylaw. To determine the land use district of a property, visit myProperty.

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.​​

Calgary Police Services approval

This licence type requires recommendation and completion by the Calgary Police Service through the Police Information Checks unit. Approval is initiated on your behalf through your business licence application. Please note that previous police checks cannot be used as a substitute for this approval process.

You are required to provide two pieces of valid, government issued ID, one of which must contain photo ID.

You can show your ID:

  • In person at the Planning Services Centre:
    3rd floor
    800 Macleod Trail S.E.
    Calgary, AB
  • By fax: 403-537-3034

Please reference your Business ID (BID) in the email or fax.

Please note: for licenses requiring a statutory declaration or a City-issued ID card, proof of identification must be shown in person.

This approval generally takes about two weeks.

Acceptable forms of government issued photo identification include:

  • driver’s license
  • passport
  • Alberta photo identification card (issued through registry offices)
  • firearms license
  • Nexus card
  • permanent resident card
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status card (federally issued)
  • aviation document booklet
  • certified refugee protection claimant document

(For youth between the ages of 12 to 15 years old who cannot provide any of the listed photo identification options, a student photo ID will be considered).

Acceptable forms of government issued identification include:

  • provincial health care card
  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • immigration documentation (includes valid document issued by Immigration and Citizenship Canada)
  • citizenship card
  • citizenship certificate

Fire Prevention Bureau approval

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 Timeline
Fire inspection 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.​​​​​

Alberta Health Services (AHS) approval

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:

If AHS advised you that your business type does not require a health inspection, please forward the email confirmation as proof 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 Timeline
Alberta Health Services Contact AHS at 403-943-2288 for timelines

Photo identification (ID) cards

​​If your business type requires an ID card, you must apply in person at the Planning Services Centre:

  • Planning Services Centre:
    3rd floor
    800 Macleod Trail S.E.
    Calgary, AB

Two (2) pieces of valid, government issued ID are required, one of which must include photo identification. The Calgary Police Service outlines acceptable forms of identification. Be prepared to have your photograph taken at the Planning Services Centre, where your municipal photo ID card will be created.​

After you have obtained all your approvals, your Business Licence can be issued to you.

Check the status of your application

After you submit your application online, you will get a confirmation email with a Job Access Code (JAC).

To track your application and check its status, enter your Job Access Code in Vista.

If you need help or have questions, contact our Planning Services Centre

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​.

When does your licence expire?

Business licenses expire one year from the issuance date. You’ll get a notice in the mail 45 days before your licence expires to notify you of the expiry date. To renew your licence, see licence renewals.

Renewing your business licence

Your business licence needs to be renewed every year to remain active. We will mail you an invoice 45 days prior to payment being due. How you choose to pay for your renewal will affect when we receive the fee, so please allow sufficient processing time.

Payment options

Online renewal

To renew your licence online, sign into your myID business account and manage your business at apply.calgary.ca​.

If you do not have a myID business account, you will have to create one first.

Other payment options

Online banking

Please note the following items from your invoice; they are required for online payment:

  • Payee: when setting up the payee on your online banking, choose payee CALGARY (CITY OF) - CORPORATE INVOICE. Please note that different banks may have a different variation of the spelling, e.g. Calgary (City): Corporate Invoice. If you are not sure that you selected the correct payee, confirm with the bank.
  • Payee account number: some banks or institutions may refer to this as the accounts receivable number (A/R#). Use your customer number on the invoice. If you are unable to find your customer number, contact the Planning Services Centre.

In person

Planning Services Centre
Third floor, Municipal Building
800 Macleod Tr S.E. Calgary, Alberta

Over the phone

To renew your licence over the phone, please call (403) 268-5311. Please note, we only accept credit card as a payment method over the phone.

Mail - please include Business ID

The City of Calgary
Licence Division
PO Box 2100 Station M (#8043)
Calgary, AB T2P 2M5

Home Occupation Class 2 renewals

To renew your Home Occupation Class 2, sign into your myID business account and manage your business online at apply.calgary.ca​. If you do not have a myID business account, you will have to create one first.​

Business licence fees

When setting up a new licence, applicable fees apply. Fees are based on the licence type and whether the business is home-based or commercial-based. Business licence fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. Fees are subject to change the next calendar year.

Business Licence Fee Schedule

What happens if you don’t renew your licence?

If a licence is not renewed, it will expire. When a licence expires, it cannot be reinstated, and full fees will be charged to apply for a new licence and you will need to obtain all new licence approvals.

Make changes to your business

Business licences are specific to the owner when the business was applied and are non-transferable from one person or entity to another.

You can make some changes to your business, including:

  • Moving your Business
  • Change your mailing address
  • Changing your Trade Name
  • Updating your Ownership (sole proprietor or partnership to corporation) * conditions apply

See manage your business for more information.