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Mobile food vendor

Learn more about licence requirements for mobile food service vendors

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?

A municipal business licence is required for businesses that offer mobile food services. Examples of businesses that do require municipal licensing:

  • Bicycle food vendors
  • Catering trucks
  • Food trailers
  • Food trucks
  • Pushcarts
  • Hot dog carts
  • Ice cream trucks
  • Grocery delivery
  • Fresh produce vendors

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

People gathered around a food truck in the winter

What do you need to do before applying?

  • An Alberta Health Services consultation is required if food is prepared in a commercial-grade kitchen within a home. Contact 1-833-476-4743 for more information.

  • A Home Occupation Class 2 Development Permit and a Commercial Building Permit may also be required.

  • Acquire a licence plate number.

Food truck versus food service - no premises

The required licence type depends on where the food is prepared and where the truck is located. 

Food truck (full service food vehicles)

Mini donut food truck on street with crowd
  • Food trucks can operate on both city streets and private property.
  • Food trucks must adhere to maximum dimensions, contain a full kitchen and prepare food to be sold directly to the public.

A food truck:

  • has the facilities on board to store and prepare food,
  • is less than 10 metres (32’-9 5/8”) in length, and
  • has a commercial licence plate, obtained through a registry office.

In addition:

  • Wastewater must be disposed of at approved locations. Learn more about how and where to dispose of fats, oils and grease.
  • Streets, traffic, truck route and wastewater bylaws must be complied.
  • There must be a separate licence for each mobile unit/location.
  • Must have a minimum of $2,000,000 liability coverage
  • The City of Calgary must be added as an additional named insured
  • Must have thirty (30) days written notice, to be given to The City, prior to cancellation of, or material change to, the policy
  • Food trucks must not allow customers to order or consume foods and beverages inside the vehicle.
  • Food truck operators are NOT able to set up tables and chairs on sidewalks, roads, or other public property as per the Street Bylaw.
  • Tables and chairs can be temporarily placed on private property provided they have permission from the land owner. However, the tables and chairs must leave when the food truck leaves.

Food service - no premises

Smiling man leaning out of the window in an ice cream truck
  • Can only operate on private property.
  • Do not require a self-contained kitchen and can sell pre-packaged food.
  • Are not limited to the size and vehicle requirements of food trucks.

This licence type includes food prepared and stored in a vehicle, in a commercial kitchen (including catering trucks) or in a trailer. Some examples include:

  • Food trucks that only operate at festivals or only sell pre-prepared foods,
  • Pushcarts outside of downtown,
  • Bicycle vendors operating on roadways that do not meet the definition of pushcart,
  • Ice cream trucks and catering trucks, and
  • Trailers pulled by a truck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pushcart vendor

A portable cart or wagon (which may be attached to a bicycle) used for carrying goods to sell to the public fall under this category. This includes bicycle food vendors operating on downtown city sidewalks. Pushcarts can operate on public property, but are limited to specific sites downtown.

Pushcarts operating downtown (other than on Stephen Avenue Mall, Barclay Mall or Eau Claire Market) can be located in the north part of downtown. This is shown on the Downtown Pushcart Locations map.

There are no pushcart vendors operating outside of downtown. These businesses are licensed as food service – no premises, or retail dealer – no premises when selling non-food products. A statutory declaration and indemnification agreement must be completed upon application.

All pushcarts must apply for an annual approval with the Pushcart Approval application requirements list. Land use approval is also required for the location of operations.

  • Pushcarts have a maximum size of 1 metres wide and 1.5 metres long. No hitch is allowed to remain on the cart when set up.
  • You must have a licence for each mobile unit/location. 
  • Must have a minimum of $2,000,000 liability coverage
  • The City of Calgary must be added as an additional named insured
  • Must have thirty (30) days written notice, to be given to The City, prior to cancellation of, or material change to, the policy 

Caterers

A catering business can only provide alcohol with meals served along with catered events for private social functions (e.g. a wedding). A catering business can store alcohol at the business premises if it is not sold for consumption on or away from, or at the premises. In this situation, no alcohol beverage sales or liquor store licence is required.

If a catering business promotes or organizes a public event and sells tickets to the general public, it may require alcohol beverage sales, food service - premises, and entertainment establishment licence types.

tomato, mozzarella, and basil skewers with pesto
exclamation point in a circle

To operate on private property, businesses must get written consent from the property owner. This service is only offered downtown between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Annual inspection for food trucks and trailers

Food truck owners are notified each year of their annual food truck and trailer inspection. The inspections are coordinated by Compliance Services - Business Licence Inspections. The inspections are completed on a first come / first serve basis, usually located at the Calgary Fire Department Training Centre.

As the inspections are very busy, City staff send out the following pre-inspection reminders.

  • Fire reminders:

    • Hood, filters, back wall, floor, extinguishers are all cleaned properly with no grease or dirt. If it is not acceptable you will need to have it professionally done.

    • Suppression system and extinguishers are up to date and have been tested, inspected, and tagged. Get an inspection report from the company who performs the service.

    • The generator, hood and all appliances turn on so all operations can be inspected.

    • All drip trays and metal separations are in place.

    • All extinguishers are in an accessible location.

    • All required electrical cords needed to operate in city parks.

  • Health reminders:

    • All food equipment is operational.

    • Fridges must be four degrees Celsius or below.

    • Water system is fully operational with hot and cold running water.

  • Plumbing & gas reminders:

    • For new trucks, interlock installed for the fresh air vent or window.

    • All propane bottles and fill valves are marked with the propane decal.

Approved locations

Food truck Food service - no premises & food truck on private property Pushcart vendor

Additional information

  • Food prepared and stored in a vehicle, commercial kitchen, or trailer (even when food is being prepared in said trailer).
  • Pushcarts outside of Downtown.
  • Bicycle food vendors operating on roadways.
  • A portable cart or wagon (may be attached to bicycle).
  • Includes bicycle food vendors operating on downtown sidewalks.

Downtown (not including Stephen Ave, Barclay Mall and Eau Claire)

  • Operating from a street: requires a Street Use permit from Roads.
  • 100 m of a school,
  • 25 m of a food service establishment
  • Only 2 per block face.
  • Does not meet approval for Pushcart or Food Truck.
  • Downtown means the area in the city bounded in the north by the Bow River, in the west by 14th Street west, in the south by 14th Avenue south and in the east by the Elbow River.
  • A Food Service - No Premises may only carry on business in the downtown between the hours 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m

Can only locate on sidewalks in the Downtown North or Downtown South (only 4 spots given by lottery each year for South). Pushcarts can also include retail sales, not just food.

Stephen Ave, Barclay Mall and Eau Claire

Contact Downtown Association. If ONLY operating here, no City approvals required.

Contact Downtown Association. If ONLY operating here, no City approvals required.

Contact Downtown Association. If ONLY operating here, no City approvals required.

City of Calgary parks (including Olympic Plaa and entrance to Prince's Island Park, in front of te YMCA)

  • Vendors operating within City of Calgary parks require a valid business licence for the activity being carried on. There will be no waiving of licence fees.
  • At festivals and events: Vendors located in City parks for festivals and events do not require a licence.
  • Vendors require additional permission from Parks, which must be produced to a licence inspector on demand.
  • Each vendor must comply with all other provisions of the applicable licensing bylaw.
  • Vendors operating within City of Calgary parks require a valid business licence for the activity being carried on. There will be no waiving of licence fees.
  • At festivals and events: Vendors located in City parks for festivals and events do not require a licence.
  • Vendors require additional permission from Parks, which must be produced to a licence inspector on demand.
  • Each vendor must comply with all other provisions of the applicable licensing bylaw.
  • Vendors operating within City of Calgary parks require a valid business licence for the activity being carried on. There will be no waiving of licence fees.
  • At festivals and events: Vendors located in City parks for festivals and events do not require a licence.
  • Vendors require additional permission from Parks, which must be produced to a licence inspector on demand.
  • Each vendor must comply with all other provisions of the applicable licensing bylaw.

Other public property

Not allowed on public property EXCEPT for City approved festivals and events.

Vendors in all other public property outside downtown will only be permitted to operate as part of a major festival or event.  Roads does not regulate this activity. It is assumed operator will pull over in safe area and not remain on the roadside for any extended period of time. Transit Parking lots –Mobile vendors are not allowed to sell from LRT stations - including the parking lots surrounding the stations, which are under the control of Calgary Transit.  Sidewalks within the LRT station parking lots are also under the control of Calgary Transit. Questions regarding commercial activity from LRT stations.

Outside downtown: Licence as Food Service - No Premise or Retail Dealer- No Premise, if no food. See respective category for rules.

Private property

Customer must obtain written authorization from the owner. Other restrictions may apply (Schools & other Restaurants nearby).

Customer must obtain written authorization from the owner..

Outside downtown: Licence as Food Service - No Premise or Retail Dealer- No Premise, if no food. Written authorization from the owner will be required

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

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 Health
Food service - no premises

check

check

Food service - premises

check

check

check

Food truck (full service food vehicle)

check

check

check

Pushcart vendor

check

check

Food truck (private property)

check

check

check

All mobile vendors

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 multi-residential for more information, or contact our Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 to investigate land use approval for your business.

Health inspection

A Health Inspection (Health Recommendation Report) is required. Please contact Alberta Health Services (AHS) at 1-833-476-4743 and advise you have applied for a City business licence which has a category that requires AHS approval. They will determine if an inspection is required or not. If they do an inspection, AHS will email you an approval report when completed. Please forward a copy of this email reference your BID number in the subject line. If AHS has advised they do not need to inspect, please document who exactly at AHS has advised of this and we can override the approval when you provide us this information.

Customers must contact Alberta Health Services at Contact Environmental Public Health · Alberta Health Services for Full Service Food Vehicle requirements as well as commercial-grade kitchen consultation.

Food trucks / Push carts

Indemnification Agreement and Statutory Declaration

*Approval only required if on city streets or public property.

Four originals of the indemnification agreement to be signed identically. You must have a Commissioner for Oaths be present. The person signing must be:

  1. who they say they are and they are the one(s) who signed the indemnification agreement,
  2. of signing authority for the company (if it is a corporation, you will need BLR to print off a corporation search), and
  3. at least 18 years of age.

Only one copy of Statutory Declaration must be completed. A Commissioner for Oaths be at the front counter needs present. 

Insurance

A copy of a CERTIFICATE OF LIABILITY INSURANCE (not your pink slip) is required in order to operate your food truck.  To obtain this, please contact your insurance company and have them complete a Certificate of Liability Insurance. On this certificate we will require the following:

  • Must have a minimum of $2,000,000 liability coverage
  • The City of Calgary must be added as an additional named insured
  • Must have thirty (30) days written notice, to be given to The City, prior to cancellation of, or material change to, the policy 

Fire and Building Regulation Inspections

Please contact 3-1-1 (or 403-268-2489 if calling from outside Calgary) to book this specific licence type (Fire Inspection for Mobile Food Concession). A specific inspector will call the morning they are planning to come to ensure they will have access to the space. A 6–7-day window is typically provided. Once the inspection is completed, they will notify The City of the results.

Full service food vehicles require a building regulations Plumbing & Gas and HVAC inspection to ensure compliance to Provincial and Federal safety codes. The building safety inspection is coordinated in conjunction with the business licence fire inspection. Building Safety and Approvals will be notified automatically once the customer calls 3-1-1 to book the fire inspection. The customer does NOT need to contact Building Safety and Approvals separately to book the inspection. All they need to do is call 3-1-1 to book a fire inspection and then both the Fire Department and Building Regulations will contact the customer to arrange for a mutually beneficial time to have both inspections done at the same time and location.

This category of vendor is also required to have land use and health inspection approvals.

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.