Information

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Open a restaurant or brewery

Watch our webinar on opening a restaurant or brewery in Calgary:

Step 1: Review


Register your business

Not all businesses are required to obtain municipal licensing however, all businesses that operate within the City of Calgary are required to register in order to obtain a Business Identification number (BID) and location approval for the business location. This is to ensure that proper regulations and safety rules are being followed and that businesses are located appropriately.

Do I need a business licence?

Businesses that prepare, serve and sell food and/or alcohol from a fixed location will require a municipal licence. Before you begin, determine the type of restaurant or brewery you want to open.

Examples of restaurant businesses:

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

Step 2: Prepare


Use the information below to prepare your business licence application. Follow the business licence checklist below to help make sure your application meets the City's requirements.

Know your business activities

Understanding the details of how your business will operate, will determine the licence types of your business licence, and permit requirements. For example, will your restaurant business sell alcohol or retail products, such as drinking glasses or t-shirts? Once you have determined how your business will operate, you will need to determine the location of business.

Restaurants and breweries will often have multiple licence categories associated with the business licence application. Once you apply for your business licence,  the licence categories for your business type are generated as part of your application. 

If your business requires multiple licence categories, approval processes are only generated once per licence. For example, only one Fire inspection is required even if multiple licence categories require that inspection type.

Additional licence categories may take additional time to receive once all approvals are complete by the business owner. 

To help determine what type of business you want to open, please review the questions below:

  • Do you plan to brew or distill alcohol at the premises?
  • Will you be only serving food or a combination of food and alcohol?
  • Will you restrict minors at any time or will they always be allowed?
  • Will you offer dine-in or take-out only?
  • Will there be VLTs (Video lottery terminal)
  • Will there be a dance floor or space for entertainment?

Do not sign your lease agreements until you have checked your space.

Licence Categories Description Land Use Fire Health AGLC
Food Services – Premises Licence Required to operate a food premise or prepare and serve food to the public.

x

x

x

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

x

   

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

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

x

x

x

x

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

x

x

x

x

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

x

x

   
Retail Dealer Premises Required if your establishment sells merchandise.

x

x

   

Required Safety Codes, AHS and AGLC Approvals

A business operating from more than one location requires a separate business licence for each location. Keep in mind, each location may require a different combination of permits to satisfy the Land Use approval requirement. Check your space to help determine what permits may be needed to operate your business.

If you are not sure whether you will need a business licence, contact the Planning Services Centre.

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

How long will it take to get a business licence?

The timeline to obtain City approval for a business licence or registration can vary significantly depending on the permits and approvals that are required for your business type and location. This is why it is important to understand what your business will require prior to making any long-term commitments to a space.

Do not sign your lease agreements until you have checked your space.

How much will it cost to get a business licence?

Business Licence fees are waived until 2023.

Permit type Cost Timeline Application requirements
Development Permit

Varies, see Planning applications fee schedule

Varies depending on scope of Development Permit , typically around 12 weeks.

  • Development Permit application (forms and drawings)
  • The unit number for the building as part of your location address. 

Tenancy Change

No fee

1-2 weeks

  • The unit number for the building as part of your location address. 
  • Tenancy Change Application Form
Building Permit

Varies, see BP fee calculator for estimation.

 

Varies depending on scope of Building Permit.  See our Timelines page for up-to-date timelines.

  • Building Permit application (forms and drawings)

Additional forms and professional documents such as engineering, sign-off on structural loadings, ventilation, etc. may be required depending on scope of project. 

Business Licence

See Business licence fee schedule

Note: Business Licence fees are waived until March 16, 2023.

Dependent on several factors including:

  • Construction Timelines
  • Booking and Completing completing all required approvals and Inspections

Tips to help you open your business smoothly:

  • Submit a complete application and follow-up on requests for additional information (check your junk folder for correspondence from the city)
  • Apply for any additional required permits as soon as you’ve prepared the permit requirements
  • 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

  • Certificate of incorporation (if applicable)

  • Ownership name, trade name, moving date, start date, location
  • The unit number for the building as part of your location address and your mailing address if different from your location address.

How can I ensure a smooth application process?

Before applying

  • Put together a cost and timeline estimate as part of your business planning.
  • Check the feasibility of the proposed location:
    • Is your type of business allowed to operate from your chosen location (is the Use Listed in the Land Use District)
    • What type of Permits do you need as part of your Land use Approval? Check your space.
    • Do you need to apply for a development permit or tenancy change as part of your Land Use 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 applying

  • Submit all required permits 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 to avoid processing delays.
  • Follow-up on requests for further information when necessary
  • 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

Planning tip: Applying for your building permit before you apply for your trade permits will ensure your proposed plumbing, gas and electrical or mechanical (H.V.A.C) work aligns with the physical space and existing conditions of your food establishment. 

How do timelines impact my business application?

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

Check your space

Check your space Businesses are location specific, so each business location will require location approval in order to obtain a business licence. Check your space to plan for the fees and timelines associated with your specific business location. The sections below discuss the potential permits by location type:

Commercial based location


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

Planning approval

If your business will operate from a commercial or industrial location in Calgary, we 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.

Business activities are categorized into “uses” in the Land Use Bylaw. Each location has an associated district and listed uses, where some are permitted, and some are discretionary.

In addition to the “uses” in the Land Use Bylaw, business activities are also associated with a type of occupancy and building classification according to the Alberta Building Code. Even if you are not proposing any alterations to the space, the change in business activities at a location may require a building permit application in order to review the safety of the space.

You are the first tenant

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

In most cases, a development permit and a building permit are required. The development permit must be approved and released before the building permit can be issued. Your business land use approval will be granted when you have completed all building permit inspections.

Development Permit

Contact the Planning Services Centre to determine the current approved ‘use’ for your proposed address. Every unit in a new building will have an approved ‘use’, even before the first tenant goes in.

A change of use development permit could be required if your proposed business activities do not match the current approved ‘use’ in the unit.

Your business ‘use’ may be listed as permitted or discretionary at your proposed location, or it could be listed as permitted but one of the rules requires a relaxation.

Fees

​Planning Approval Fee schedule Permit fee ​Advertising fee ​​Total
​Permitted Change of Use

Planning applications fee schedule

​$0 - $0*
​Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use

Planning applications fee schedule

​$0 ​$32 $0*

Timeline

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

Permit Type Our process Timeline
​Permitted Change of Use - 5 business days
​Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use 60 days to decision 21 days advertisement/appeal period 10-12 weeks

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

Expiry

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Development Permit 1-3 years to commence depending on the type of development permit and land use district

Building Permit

If you are the first tenant going into a unit in a new building, a building permit will always be required.

A building permit may be required, depending on the last approved business activities in the space, or if you are proposing alterations.

Even if you are not proposing any construction, since you are the first tenant, a building permit application is required. Upgrades to the space may be necessary to bring it into compliance with the Alberta Building Code and all applicable health and safety standards. For example, this can include required upgrades to the existing HVAC system in the building, or upgrades to the fire rating of walls.

Tips for a smooth application:

Fees

  Fee schedule Permit fee ​​Total
Commercial building permit

Building and trade fee schedule

Varies

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

Timelines

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

Permit Type Timeline
Commercial Building Permit 49 days

Does it expire?

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Building Permit 180 days until you require a progress inspection

You are a new tenant

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

A Tenancy Change, Development Permit, and/or Building Permit may be required.

Tenancy Change

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

If your business activities fall under the same ‘use’ as the existing tenant, 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.

Businesses located in the Centre City Enterprise Area (CCEA) or Main Street Exemption Areas, often require a Tenancy Change application instead of a Development Permit Change of Use. Visit The Centre City Enterprise and Main Street Exemption Area for more information and to determine if your location is applicable.

  • If a Tenancy Change application is required, it can be applied for at the same time as a new business licence application, online or in person at the Planning Services Center.
  • Please see the checklist for a Tenancy Change.

Fees

​Planning Approval Fee schedule ​​Total
​Tenancy Change

Planning applications fee schedule

$0

Timelines

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

Permit Type Timeline
Tenancy Change 10 business days

Development permit

A change of use development permit could be required if your proposed business activities do not match the current approved ‘use’ in the unit.

Your business ‘use’ may be listed as permitted or discretionary at your proposed location, or it could be listed as permitted but one of the rules requires a relaxation.

See if your business ‘use’ is listed as permitted or discretionary at your proposed location: 

Find your land use district

Now, find your land use district at the top of the Listed use matrix, and see if your business ‘use’ (listed on the left hand column) is possible in your district. This will be indicated by a *. If your business ‘use’ is possible in your land use district, use the Land Use Bylaw to find your district and see if the ‘use’ is listed as either permitted or discretionary. Sometimes, even if your business ‘use’ is listed as permitted, your business activities require a relaxation of the rules.

Fees

​Planning Approval Fee schedule Permit fee Advertising fee ​​Total
​Permitted Change of Use

Planning applications fee schedule

$190 - $190
Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use

Planning applications fee schedule

$594 $30 $624

Timelines

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

Permit Type Our process Timeline
Permitted Change of Use - 5 business days
Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use 60 days to decision + 21 days advertisement/appeal period 10-12 weeks

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

For more information about your business activity and the associated 'use', contact the Planning Services Centre.

Expiry

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Development Permit 1-3 years to commence depending on the type of development permit and land use district

Building Permit

A building permit may be required, depending on the last approved business activities in the space, or if you are proposing alterations.

Even if you are not proposing any construction, since you are the first tenant, a building permit application is required. Upgrades to the space may be necessary to bring it into compliance with the Alberta Building Code and all applicable health and safety standards. For example, this can include required upgrades to the existing HVAC system in the building, or upgrades to the fire rating of walls.

Tips for a smooth application:

Fees

  Fee schedule Permit fee ​​Total
Commercial building permit

Building and trade fee schedule

Varies

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

Timelines

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

Permit Type Timeline
Commercial Building Permit 49 days

Does it expire?

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Building Permit 180 days until you require a progress inspection

You are an existing tenant

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

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

A Tenancy Change, Development Permit and/or Building Permit may be required.

Tenancy Change

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

If your business activities fall under the same ‘use’ as the existing tenant, 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.

Businesses located in the Centre City Enterprise Area (CCEA) or Main Street Exemption Areas, often require a Tenancy Change application instead of a Development Permit Change of Use. Visit The Centre City Enterprise and Main Street Exemption Area for more information and to determine if your location is applicable.

  • If a Tenancy Change application is required, it can be applied for at the same time as a new business licence application, online or in person at the Planning Services Center.
  • Please see the checklist for a Tenancy Change.  

Fees

​Planning Approval Fee schedule ​​Total
​Tenancy Change

Planning applications fee schedule

$0

Timelines

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

Permit Type Timeline
Tenancy Change 10 business days

Development Permit

A change of use or new development permit could be required if your proposed changes to business activities do not fall under the current approved ‘use’.

Fees

​Planning Approval Fee schedule Permit fee ​Advertising fee ​​Total
​Permitted Change of Use

Planning applications fee schedule

​$0 - $0*
​Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use

Planning applications fee schedule

​$0 ​$0 $0*

Timelines

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

Permit Type Our process Timeline
​ Permitted Change of Use - 5 business days
​ Permitted with Relaxation or Discretionary Change of Use 60 days to decision 21 days advertisement/appeal period 10-12 weeks

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

For more information about your business activity and the associated ‘use’ contact the Planning Services Center.

Does it expire?

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Development Permit 1-3 years to commence depending on the type of development permit and land use district

Building Permit

A building permit may be required, depending on the last approved business activities in the space, or if you are proposing alterations.

Even if you are not proposing any construction, since you are the first tenant, a building permit application is required. Upgrades to the space may be necessary to bring it into compliance with the Alberta Building Code and all applicable health and safety standards. For example, this can include required upgrades to the existing HVAC system in the building, or upgrades to the fire rating of walls.

Tips for a smooth application:

Fees

  Fee schedule Permit fee ​​Total
Commercial building permit

Building and trade fee schedule

Varies

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

Timelines

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

Permit Type Timeline
Commercial Building Permit 49 days

Does it expire?

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Building Permit 180 days until you require a progress inspection

Know your ownership

Determining your business ownership is something you must complete prior to registering a business with The City. The basic business ownership categories are listed below.

The business is owned by you, under your name

Sole Proprietorship

This is the simplest way to set up a business. A sole proprietor is fully responsible for all debts and obligations related to his or her business. A creditor with a claim against a sole proprietor has a right against all of his or her assets, whether business or personal. This is known as unlimited liability.

This type of business comes under provincial jurisdiction. If the proprietor chooses to carry on a business under a name other than his or her own, he or she must register their tradename with the province. This registration will be valid for a certain number of years.

If a sole proprietor establishes a business in his or her own name, without adding any other words, it is not necessary to register the business with the province at the registry office.

 

The business is owned by a company

Corporation

A corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners, the shareholders. No shareholder of a corporation is personally liable for the debts, obligations or acts of the corporation. This type of business can be incorporated at either the federal or provincial level.

A corporation is identified by the terms Limited, Ltd, Incorporated, Inc, Corporation or Corp. Whatever the term, it must appear with the corporate name on all documents, stationery, and so on, as it appears on the incorporation document.

Private corporation: A private corporation can be formed by one or more people. A majority of its directors must be Canadian residents. If none of the directors reside in the province in which it does business, the corporation must appoint a power of attorney who resides in the province. A private corporation cannot sell shares or securities to the general public.

Public corporation: A public corporation issues securities for public distribution. Besides filing incorporation documents, a public corporation must file a prospectus with the appropriate Securities Commission in the province, must employ outside auditors and must distribute semi-annual financial statements.

Federal corporations: Private and public corporations may be incorporated federally under the Canadian Corporations Act. A firm operating nationally or in several provinces may find this advantageous.

Extra provincial corporation

If a company is incorporated federally or provincially outside of Alberta, the Province of Alberta requires the business to be registered extra-provincially to carry on business. As per Alberta's Business Corporations Act, any corporation formed outside of Alberta must register as an extra-provincial corporation within thirty days of commencing business.

This applies to:

  • Companies incorporated federally
  • Companies incorporated in a different province
  • Limited and limited liability partnerships
  • Companies incorporated in the United States

For more information visit New home warranty – Builder licensing - Government of Alberta to review the Provincial Builder’s Licence processes and fees.

The business will be a partnership

Partnership

A partnership is an agreement in which two or more persons combine their resources in a business. To establish the business terms and to protect partners/shareholders, an agreement should be drawn up with the assistance of a lawyer. Partners share in the profits according to the terms of their agreement.

General partnership: All members share the management of the business and each is personally liable for all the debts and obligations of the business. This means that each partner is responsible for and must assume the consequences of the actions of the other partner(s).

Limited partnership: Some members are general partners who control and manage the business and may be entitled to a greater share of the profits, while other partners are limited partners and contribute only capital. Limited partners take no part in control or management and are only liable for debts to a specified extent.

Limited liability partnership: This type of partnership consists of partners in eligible professions such as optometry, medical practice, accounting or law. Unlike a general partnership, a limited liability partnership protects uninvolved partners from personal liability arising from the negligence, wrongdoing, or misconduct of a partner, employee, agent or representative of the partnership that occurs in the ordinary course of the practice of the particular profession. Partners in a limited liability partnership may be individual practitioners or professional corporations.

 

Register Your Business Name

A business name, or trade name, is used to represent your business to the public. Registering a trade name means that you let the province know you are using that name. Trade names can be registered at any Alberta registry. For more information, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/business-names.aspx

While it is not a requirement to register a trade name for a municipal licence, it may be required to obtain a bank account in your company name. Corporations and registered partnerships will automatically register the tradenames when they register the corporation or partnership with the province.

While a trade name registration does not grant ownership of the name, it allows you to have proof that the name you chose is associated with your business. ​

Step 3: Apply


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

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

Apply in person

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

Step 4: Track


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

Step 5: Change


A business licence or business ID is not transferable from one person to another or from one person's business premises to another.

For more information about changing your business, contact our Planning Services Centre

Step 6: Approvals


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

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

   

* Required Safety Codes, AHS and AGLC Approvals 

Location approval

The City of Calgary we 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 check your space 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.

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

Business Improvement Area (BIA) and Assessment

A 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.

Property tax

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

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.

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.​​​​​​​​​​

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.

Click before you dig

Always contact Utility Safety Partners before you dig. Submit a locate request online or call 1-800-242-3447 for more information.

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