Open a restaurant or brewery

Open a restaurant or brewery business

Learn about licensing requirements, fees, timelines, permits and approvals you need to open your business

Before you apply


Do you need to register your business?

Yes. All businesses operating in Calgary are required to register their business with The City and get approval for their business’ location.

Do you need a business licence?

Yes. All businesses that prepare, sell, or allow on-site consumption of food or alcohol require a business licence. 

Examples of Restaurant and Brewery businesses that need a licence:

  • Bakeries
  • Bars and Pubs
  • Breweries, Micro-breweries, Brewpubs
  • Butcher shops
  • Coffee shops
  • Delicatessens
  • Food court vendors
  • Ice cream parlours
  • Lounges and Nightclubs
  • Shisha and hookah bars
  • Take-out and fast food

If you don’t know if your business requires a business licence, contact the Planning Services Centre for assistance.

What are your business activities?

Your business activities will determine what's required to open your business:

  • if you need a business licence
  • what licence types you need
  • what permits you may need 

Examples of different licence types you may need: 

Watch our webinar on opening a restaurant or brewery in Calgary

Example Licence types
If you plan to brew or distill alcohol at the premises

You will need an Alcohol Beverage Manufacture licence

If you will only be serving food

You will need a Food Services – Premises licence

If you will be serving both food and alcohol

You will need a Food Services – Premises licence and an Alcohol Beverage Sales licence

Where is your business located?

All businesses need to provide a location that is approved for their specific business activities. Review the location approval section to make sure your business activities are allowed at your chosen location.

If you’re running your business from more than one location, you need a separate business licence for each location. Each location may require a different combination of permits to satisfy your location approval requirement.

Example Type of use
If you will restrict minors

Your business will be considered a drinking establishment

If you offer take-out only

Your business will be considered a take-out food service

If you will have VLTs (video lottery terminals)

Your business will be considered a drinking establishment

If you will have a dance floor or space for entertainment

Most uses allow for up to 10 square meters of the public area to be used for entertainment purposes.

If your entertainment space will be larger than 10 square metres, your business will be considered a night club

How much does a Business Licence Cost?

When setting up a new licence, applicable fees apply. Fees are based on the type of licence you need and whether your 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. 

Commercial based business
Fee schedule ​New licence ​Fire Planning Total

Business licence fee schedule

​$172 $104 $41 $317*

Business Licence fees are waived until 2023.

How do you pay for your licence?

You need to pay for your licence when you submit your application. If you are applying online, you can pay using apply.calgary.ca​.

What permits do you need?

Understanding what approvals will be required will help ensure you will be able to open your business with ease and on time. Your business may require Planning Approval or Building Safety Approval, or both in order to be approved to operate from your selected location.

These approvals are based on:

  • the location of the business,
  • the proposed business activities
  • how the space was used before your business.

To learn more about what permits you may need, see the location approval section.

How long will it take to process your application?

The timeline to get a business licence or registration can vary significantly depending on the permits and approvals that are required.

To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information.

TIP

Do not sign your lease agreements until you have checked your location approval. We recommend applying for your Location Approval and Building Safety Approvals before applying for your licence.

Commercial based location timelines

Permit type Timeline Application requirements
Development Permit

Varies depending on scope of Development Permit.

  • Permitted – 5 days
  • Discretionary or permitted with relax – 60 days to decision, plus 21 days advertising/appeal period

 To find out more about when a Development permit is required, read the Commercial Location Approval section.

Tenancy Change

1-2 weeks

To find out more about when a Tenancy Change is required, read the Commercial Location Approval section.

Building Permit

Varies depending on scope of Building Permit. 

Top find out more about when a Building Permit is required, review the Commercial Location Approval section.

Business Licence

Dependent on several factors including:

  • Obtaining the required Location and Building Safety Approvals.
  • Booking and completing all required approvals and Inspections

      Help you open your business smoothly:

      • Apply for your location and building safety approvals once you’ve confirmed your business can operate from your preferred location
      • Be aware of your construction timelines and call in your inspections as soon as you are ready, or hire a general contractor to do this work for you

      Submit a complete application and follow-up on requests for additional information (check your junk folder for correspondence from the city)

      Varies depending on scope of Development Permit.

      • Permitted – 5 days
      • Discretionary or permitted with relax – 60 days to decision, plus 21 days advertising/appeal period

      To find out more about when a Development permit is required, read the Commercial Location Approval section.

      • Review the Business Licence checklist and complete all steps before starting your application with the city.
      • You will need to provide: Ownership, trade name, moving date and start date information
      • The location of your business, including the unit number for the building if your mailing address is different from your location address.

      Location approval


      Commercial based location

      Your business will be run from a commercial or industrial location in Calgary.

      Planning and Building Safety approvals

      What is planning approval?

      Part of your location approval confirms that your business is allowed to operate from your chosen location. The Land Use Bylaw specifies a list of allowable uses for each land use district based on what the intent is for that location, which will be listed as either permitted or discretionary. If the use is not listed in a land use district, the business will not be allowed to operate from that location. 

      Permitted or Discretionary? What’s the difference?

      In the Land Use Bylaw, Uses are defined as either being Permitted or Discretionary in a Land Use District.

       

      Permitted means that, if a use meets all the rules of the bylaw, it must be approved.  The uses listed as permitted were intended for this location and have little to no impact on the surrounding community.

       

      Permitted with Relaxation means a use that is permitted but requires a relaxation of one of more bylaw rules. Evaluations are done on a case-by-case basis to determine if the relaxation is appropriate and how it impacts the surrounding community.

       

      Discretionary use means that the use needs to be reviewed and is evaluated against several factors including applicable policies, appropriateness of the location, the compatibility of the use with others in the surrounding area, access, parking, servicing, and sound planning principles. Each submission is reviewed on its own merit at the time of application as discretionary uses have a higher impact on the surrounding community.

      How your business operates will determine what use or uses best fit your business. Types of planning approval include Tenancy Change, Permitted Change of Use, Permitted with Relaxation Change of Use, and Discretionary Change of Use.

      What is building safety approval?

      Your business will also be reviewed for safe operations. Based on how the commercial building is constructed and the types of tenants it is designed for, a building will have a classification and occupancy based on the National Building Code – Alberta Edition.

      Even if you are not planning any construction or changes to the space, the change in business activities may require a building permit application to review the safety of the space and bring it into compliance with the National Building Code – Alberta Edition. If required, you will need to apply for a Building Permit.

      TIP

      Before you lease a space, it’s important to determine if the use or uses are listed at a proposed business location, if a use isn’t listed in a land use district, it’s not allowed in that district.

       

      If a use is not listed, you could apply for a Land Use Redesignation, or look for another location for your business.

      Look up your land use district on the listed use matrix to determine if your proposed business activities are listed in your district.

      How will you occupy the space?

      Once you’ve confirmed your business activities are a listed use in a Land Use District, you need to determine how you will be occupying the space, to see which permits you might need to satisfy your Location Approval.

      Contact the Planning Services Centre if you are not sure what approvals your business will require from your chosen location.

      You are taking over a previously occupied space

      There was a different business using this space and now your business will be taking over, OR you are a new tenant, but you will be sharing the space with an existing tenant.

      You will need one or more of the following:

      • Tenancy Change: how the space is used is not changing, but the tenant is changing or taking over the existing business with no changes, for example: Retail to Retail. No construction is being done.
      • Development Permit: use of the space is changing, for example: Retail to Restaurant.
      • Building Permit: you will be doing construction, or the space needs to be reviewed for safety and be brought into compliance with the National Building Code – Alberta Edition.
      • Trade Permits: may be required if plumbing, electrical or HVAC work is required.

      This is a new building, and you will be the first tenant in the space

      You are the first tenant going into a unit in a new building.

      You will need:

      • Building Permit: new buildings will have approval for the base building, a BP will be required for the individual tenant fit outs to complete the space
      • Trade Permits: you will need any additional trade permits for plumbing, electrical or HVAC work within your individual unit

      You may need:

      • Development Permit: new building owners will get approval for the base building and new businesses often require a separate development permit for their business.

      You are currently occupying the space and changing your business activities

      You are an existing tenant. You have pre-existing approval for this space, but are making changes to operations

      You may need one or more of the following:

      • Tenancy Change: to confirm if the proposed new business activities will match the existing approvals
      • Development Permit: if you’re changing the way the space is being used, you may need a Development Permit.
      • Building Permit: if you will be doing construction, or the changes require a building safety review to confirm compliance with the National Building Code – Alberta Edition
      • Trade Permits: may be required if plumbing, electrical or HVAC work is being done or is required to satisfy Safety Code Requirements.

      Contact the Planning Services Centre if you are unsure if the changes in operations will require new approvals.

      What different types of permits might be required?

      Development Permit

      You may need a development permit to operate from your preferred location if your proposed business activities do not match the current approved use. This is called a change of use development permit. You  may need a development permit for other reasons, including some exterior and interior changes to the space.

      Sometimes, even if your business is listed as permitted, your business activities require a relaxation to the bylaw rules. This is considered permitted with relaxation change of use and takes longer to process than a permitted change of use.

      Contact the Planning Services Centre if you are unsure if the changes in operations will require new approvals.

      How to apply

      You can apply for your Change of Use Development Permit before, at the same time as, or after your business licence (Licence) application. We recommend applying before your Licence.

      Checklists

      Sample drawings

      Review the sample drawings​ to help prepare your application.

      Fees, timelines and expiry

      ​Permit Type Fee schedule Permit fee ​Advertising fee ​​Total Our Process Timeline  Expiry

      Permitted Change of Use

      Planning applications fee schedule

      $190

      -

      $190

      -

      5 business days

      1-3 years to commence depending on the type of development permit and land use district

      Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use

      Planning applications fee schedule

      $594

      $30

      $624

      60 days to decision + 21 days advertisement/appeal period

      *timelines are subject to change based on circulation requirements

      10-12 weeks

      1-3 years to commence depending on the type of development permit and land use district

      *Review our Development Permit Process page for more information about the planning approval process. 

      To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information as indicated on the checklist.

      Contact the Planning Services Center to determine the current approved "use" for your proposed address.

      Tenancy Change

      Contact the Planning Services Centre to determine the current approved ‘use’ for your proposed address.

      If your business activities fall under the same ‘use’, typically a Tenancy Change application is required. Please note, during this review, we may determine a Development Permit and/or a Building Permit is required instead or in addition to the Tenancy Change application.

      How to apply

      If a Tenancy Change application is required, you can apply for it at the same time as a new business licence application or building permit, apply online or in person at the Planning Services Centre.

      Checklist

      Tenancy Change

      Fees and timelines

      ​Permit Type Fee schedule ​​Total Timeline

      Tenancy Change

      Planning applications fee schedule

      $0

      Approximately 10 business days

      Building Permit

      A building permit will be required if you are making changes to your space, including adding, moving, or removing wall partitions. Even if you are not proposing any construction, you might still need a building permit to confirm that the space meets the required Safety Codes. Upgrades to the space may be necessary to bring it into compliance with the National Building Code - Alberta Edition and all applicable health and safety standards. A building permit confirms that your space is safe to operate your business from.

      How to apply

      You can apply before, at the same time as, or after your business licence application. You can submit Building permit details and drawings online or in person at the Planning Services Centre.

      Commercial: food establishments

      Sample Drawings

      For more information on specific application types please see the corresponding checklist below. View some sample drawings to help prepare your application

      For more information about safety codes for food establishments visit  National Buidling Code - Alberta Edition for food establishments. For more information contact the Planning Services Centre​.​​​​

      For more information about your business activity and the associated building permit code classification, visit Alberta Building Code for commercial building permits. For more information about when a building permit is typically required, visit Calgary.ca/commercial or contact the Planning Services Centre​.​​​​

      Fees, Timelines and Expiry

       Permit Type Fee schedule Permit fee ​​Total Timeline Expiry (from date of issuance)

      Commercial building permit

      Building and trade fee schedule

      Varies

      ​​Please use the Building permit fee calculator to estimate your fee.

      Varies based on complexity 180 days until you require a progress inspection

      Trade Permits

      You may require a trade permit if you are doing any upgrades or new in a specific trade. This can include required upgrades to the existing HVAC system in the building, changes or upgrades to plumbing, electrical and gas systems. A trade permit confirms that the work being done complies with the appropriate safety codes.

      Commercial Trade Permit applications must be done by the appropriate licensed Trade Contractor. Visit Hiring a Contractor for information on what to look for when choosing a contractor.

      What is the name of your business?

      A business name, or trade name, is used to represent your business to the public. You may wish to register your trade name with the province. Read more in Opening a business in Calgary: Register your Trade Name.

      Who will own the business?

      • Sole proprietor – one person owns the business
      • Partnership – agreement between two or more people or companies
      • Corporation – a legal entity that is separate from its owners, the shareholders

      Meet Matt

      Matt is a brew master for a world-famous brewing company. As an avid lover of craft beer, he has decided to open his own microbrewery with a tasting room in the heart of Calgary’s brewing district. 

      Matt’s perfect location is a closed-up retail shop that will require extensive renovations. 

      To open a new microbrewery Matt will need to:

      1. Apply for a Discretionary Change of Use Development Permit.

      2. Research and comply with the building regulations for having both brewery equipment and a tasting room operating in the same physical space. Matt may want to hire industry professionals to help with this.

      3. Apply for his Building Permit, once the Development Permit has been released.

      4. Hire licensed trade contractors to pull permits and bring the electrical, plumbing and gas systems up to code.

      5. Call for building permit and trade permit inspections throughout the construction process.

      6. Submit his Business Licence application.

      7. Call for Fire and AHS inspections and submit approvals so his Licence can be issued.

      8. Apply for and receive his AGLC liquor Licence.  He will need to follow the AGLC requirements for selling and processing alcoholic beverages within the same location.

      9. Open his Business.

      Matt will need:

      • Discretionary Change of Use DP
      • Building Permit
      • Business Licence
      • AGLC Licence

      Meet Lily

      Lily started her catering business in 2020 after the COVID pandemic caused her to lose her corporate 9-5.

      Two years later, she is ready to expand her services and wants to operate in a brick-and-mortar building with dine-in service. 

      As a first-time business owner starting in a brand-new space, Lily will need to:

      1. Apply for her Development and Building Permits.

      2. Work with her contractor to secure the correct trade permits.

      3. Ensure building construction is complete, call for trade permit inspections and ensure the commercial space is ready to use.

      4. Register her company with the provincial registry as she has decided to incorporate her business.

      5. Submit her Business Licence Application.

      6. Call for Fire and AHS inspections and submit approvals so her licence can be issued.

      7. Open her Business.

      Lily will need:

      • New Building DP
      • New Building BP
      • Business Licence

      Meet Maria

      Maria is taking over her family-owned and operated restaurant. Though she’s keeping the original recipes, she has big dreams of modernizing the kitchen and dining area and updating her cocktail menu. 

      To transfer ownership and renovate her restaurant, Maria will need to: :

      1. Apply for a new Business Licence as she will be considered a new owner as per the Business Licence Bylaw.

      2. Decide if she needs to change or upgrade any cooking equipment as this would mean she would need a Building Permit.

      3. Apply for a Tenancy Change as she has decided to only do minor cosmetic changes like painting, for now.

      4. Call for Fire and AHS inspections and submit approvals so that her Licence can be issued.

      5. Apply for and receive her AGLC liquor Licence.

      6. Open her Business.

      7. In the future, Maria wants to upgrade some of her kitchen equipment an will apply for the appropriate permits when she is ready to go ahead with those renovations

      Maria will need:

      • Tenancy Change
      • Business Licence
      • AGLC Licence

      Meet Luis

      Luis recently immigrated to Canada and has always wanted to open a Brazilian Steakhouse.  As an experienced Chef, Luis would like to import some of his most cherished ingredients from Brazil to bring his dishes to life.

      Luis perfect location is an existing restaurant on 17th Ave that he will be renovating. 

      To start his Brazilian Steakhouse, Luis will need to:

      1. Work with an architect to draw plans and ensure his design meets the building code and bylaw requirements for his location.

      2. Determine if the restaurant’s proposed grilling  and cooking equipment meets the safety requirements outlined in Provincial Regulations prior to purchasing the equipment.

      3. Apply for his Building Permit.

      4. Hire licensed trade contractors to pull permits and bring the electrical, plumbing and gas systems up to code.

      5. Call for building permit and trade permit inspections throughout the construction process.

      6. Ensure the menu’s food and liquor are approved by Industry and Health Standards Canada and confirm he can import food from other countries (as needed).

      7. Submit his Business Licence application.

      8. Call for Fire and AHS inspections and submit approvals so his Licence can be issued.

      9. Apply for and receive his AGLC liquor Licence.
         
      10. Open his Business.

      Luis will need:

      • Building Permit
      • Business Licence
      • AGLC 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
      • Ownership
      • Name of Business
      • Contact information for the business and owner
      • Fee payment at the time of application*

      *Fees have been waived until 2023.

      Tips for a smooth application process

      Before you apply:

      • Put together a cost and timeline estimate.
      • Check the feasability of your proposed 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? See Alberta Building Code information for restaurants and food establishments.
            • 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 notget 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:

      Commercial based location
      Licence Categories Description Location approval Fire Health AGLC
      Food Services – Premises Licence Required to operate a food premise or prepare and serve food to the public.

      Required

      Required

      Required

       
      Outdoor Patio Required when food and liquor are being prepared and/or served to the public outdoors, adjacent to an established restaurant or brewery.

      Required

         

      *If your restaurant sells alcohol then you need AGLC approval.

      Alcohol Beverage Sales Required to sell alcoholic beverages to the public.

      Required

      Required

      Required

      Required

      Alcohol Beverage Manufacturer Required to make your own alcoholic beverages on the premise.

      Required

      Required

      Required

      Required

      Entertainment Establishment Required if your establishment routinely advertises live entertainment such as music or comedy, dancing, games room, a bowling alley, billiard/pool hall or drive-in theatre

      Required

      Required

         
      Retail Dealer Premises Required if your establishment sells merchandise.

      Required

      Required

         

      How to get your approvals

      Location approval

      All businesses in Calgary require planning approval before they can open. We recommend that you review and apply for required permits prior to applying for your licence. 

      Commercial Location Approval

      The City of Calgary will need to review your proposed location and determine what approvals are required to operate legally and safely.

      All businesses in Calgary require location approval before they can open.

      To review what types of Planning approval are required for your business, refer to the location approval section.

      Health

      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 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 Timeline
      Alberta Health Services Contact AHS at 403-943-2288 for timelines

      Fire

      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.​​​​​

      AGLC

      Businesses manufacturing or selling alcoholic beverages must also obtain a liquor licence from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC). The AGLC application takes approximately three weeks to process. Applicants can start the AGLC application process before their municipal business licence, however the AGLC liquor licence will not be issued until the Land Use Approval has been obtained.

      aglc.ca

      TIP

       

      You can start the AGLC application process before your municipal business licence, however the AGLC liquor licence will not be issued until your Location Approval has been obtained. 

      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

      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

      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.

      2022 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.

      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.

      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 <-> corporation) * conditions apply

      See manage your business for more information.

      Business Improvement Area (BIA) and Assessment

      Business Improvement Area (BIA) is established by businesses in an area to jointly raise and administer funds for various projects and promotional activities within the zone throughout the year. Businesses located in a BIA will receive a BIA tax bill. This levy is collected by The City of Calgary on behalf of the BIA.

      In an effort to help businesses in our communities, business tax was eliminated in 2019.

      Data created when businesses open, move, change ownership or close is important in maintaining accurate assessment records to determine the amount of business improvement area (BIA) tax.

      Businesses may be liable for two types of taxes: business improvement area (BIA) tax and property tax.

      Business improvement area (BIA) tax

      Business improvement area (BIA) tax is billed annually to any business that occupies commercial space within an established business improvement area (BIA) in Calgary. It does not reflect a specific type of business or the profit of a business.

      For more information on the administration or collection of business improvement area (BIA) and property taxes, visit Business Improvement Area (BIA) Tax or contact 311.​​​​​​​​​​

      Property tax

      Property tax is paid by landowners and is based on the assessed property value. Learn more at property tax.

      Special cases

      • Home-based businesses: Home-based businesses do not pay business improvement area (BIA) tax, as they do not occupy a commercial space.
      • Non-resident businesses: Non-resident businesses do not pay business improvement area (BIA) tax or Calgary property tax, as they are not located within the municipality. This is the primary reason for the non-resident surcharge being added to these business licences.
      • Subtenant businesses: Subtenant businesses may or may not be responsible for paying business improvement area (BIA) tax, depending on the lease agreement.

      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

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

      Live chat:
      calgary.ca/livechat

      Call:
      403-268-5311

      In person:
      Whitehorn Multi-Services Centre
      3705 35 Street N.E.