Information

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Open a retail business

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?

Retail Dealer - Premises means the business of retail sales from a fixed location.

Retail Dealer -  No Premises means the business of retail sales operated from a mobile business unit.

Retail businesses that do require a licence:

  • Mobile retail businesses
  • Online or phone sales
  • Clothing stores
  • Department stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Hobby stores
  • Home and garden centres
  • Greenhouses
  • Home-based retail sales
  • Liquor stores selling accessory items like glassware, bottle openers and other bar accessories
  • Shoe stores
  • Sporting goods
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Mall kiosks
  • Tobacco retailers
  • Auction that sells used goods
  • Pharmacies
  • Tailors and seamstresses
  • Shoe repair

Retail businesses that do not require a licence (if no additional retail goods are offered for sale):

  • Health professionals
  • Registry offices
  • Rental businesses
  • Provincially approved auctions
  • Christmas tree vendors

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.

Commercial based business
Business licence Fee schedule ​New licence ​Fire Planning* Total
​Retail Dealer -Premises

Business licence fee schedule

​$172 $104 $41 $317
Retail Dealer – No premises (overnight storage)

Business licence fee schedule

$761 - $41 $802

*Planning fee is charged on the licence to review your location approval. See check your space for more details.

Home based business
Business licence Fee schedule ​New licence Total
​Retail Dealer -Premises

Business licence fee schedule

$172 $172
​Retail Dealer - No Premises

Business licence fee schedule

$761 $761

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 you have a brick-and-mortar location to sell your goods, or will you be selling from a mobile business unit? Once you have determined how your business will operate, you will need to determine the location of business.

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 location approval requirement. Check your space to help determine what permits may be needed to operate your business.

Once you apply for your business licence, the licence categories for your business type are generated as part of your application. 

Some questions to ask yourself about your business:

  • Will you be selling new or second-hand items? “Secondhand Dealer” will be added to your licence
  • Will you be selling food products? “Food Service – Premises” will be added to your licence
  • Will you be selling tobacco products? “Tobacco Retailer” will be added to your licence
  • Will you be selling products retail or wholesale? “Wholesaler” will be added to your licence
  • Will you be selling alcohol? If yes, see Liquor Store business licencing

If your business needs more than one licence category, you only need to complete the approvals once. For example, only one Fire inspection is required even if multiple licence categories require a fire inspection.

Licence Categories Description Land Use Fire Health Police Show ID Chief Licence Inspector
Retail Dealer – Premises Required to sell retail goods from a fixed location

Yes

Yes

       
Retail Dealer – No Premises Required to sell retail goods from a mobile business unit

Yes

         
Food Service – Premises Required to sell food products, including pre-packaged food  

Yes

Yes

Yes

     
Secondhand Dealer Required to sell or take on consignment of second-hand property of any kind

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wholesaler Required to sell or distribute tangible goods at wholesale (to other businesses)

Yes

Yes

       
Tobacco Retailer Required to sell any tobacco products

Yes

Yes

       
Pawnbroker Required to offer secured loans to individuals with items of personal property used as collateral

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

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 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 location 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

​Location 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*
*Change of Use fees are waived until December 31, 2021

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 location 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.

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.

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

  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 21 business days

Expiry

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 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.

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 or building permit, online or in person at the Planning Services Centre.
  • Please see the checklist for a Tenancy Change.

Fees

Location 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

Location 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 location 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, 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. For more information about when a building permit is typically required, visit Calgary.ca/commercial or 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.

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 21 business days

Expiry

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Building Permit 180 days until you require a progress inspection
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, 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. For more information about when a building permit is typically required, visit Calgary.ca/commercial or 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.

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 21 business days

Expiry

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 Centre to determine if the changes in operations will require new approvals.

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

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.

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.

Fees

Location 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

Location 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 location 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, 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. For more information about when a building permit is typically required, visit Calgary.ca/commercial or 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.

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 21 business days

Expiry

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

Home based location


Your business will be run from your home in Calgary. You may have a desk/telephone operation, complete your paperwork at home, or you may have customers coming to your home to be considered a home based business.

Location approval - home occupation

If your business will be run from your home in Calgary, a home occupation permit is required. There are two types of home occupation permits. If you do not comply with all of the home occupation class 1 rules, you will require a home occupation class 2.

Please review the table below to determine which type of home occupation permit you will need. 

    Home occupation class 1   Home occupation class 2
You live in the home associated with the business: Yes Yes
The number of business related visits to your home per week: 0 - 3 max. 4 - 15
The garage or related structure is used for the business: Note, a small storage area that is not impacting parking may be allowed for either. No     Yes
A large vehicle (over 4,536 kg gross vehicle weight) is parked/stored at or near the home: No Yes
Employee or business partner working at your home (that does not also live there): 0 1
Your business is food-related, and you are using a kitchen in your home: No Yes

*This table is for convenience only and does not include everything listed in our Land Use Bylaw. Please review the full list of rules located in the Land Use Bylaw section 207 “Home Occupation – Class 1” and section 208 “Home Occupation – Class 2.”

Fees

Location approval Fee schedule Permit fee ​Advertising fee ​​Total
​Home occupation class 1

Planning applications fee schedule

​- - $0
​Home occupation class 2

Planning applications fee schedule

​$449 ​$32 $481

Timelines

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. 

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

Permit Type Our process Timeline
​Home occupation class 1 - 5 business days
​Home occupation class 2 60 days to decision 21 days advertisement/appeal period 10-12 weeks

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

Business Licence Approval Type Timeline
Police check 2-3 weeks
Provincial licensing

Contact Service Alberta to discuss timelines for provincial licensing, 

How to proceed with completing your approvals can be found in Step 6: Approvals.

Expiry

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

Permit Type Expiry (from date of issuance)
Home occupation class 1

No expiry

​Home occupation class 2

Varies, refer to your permit’s conditions of approval for the expiration

Business licence 365 days

Building permit (if applicable)

Some home based business activities may also require a commercial building permit. For example, a home based baking business will require a home occupation class 2 and a commercial building permit. For more information about commercial building permits, see the commercial based location section.

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

Permit Type Timeline
Commercial Building Permit 21 business days

Expiry

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 business
Licence Type Description Location approval  Police check Fire Show ID Health

Retail Dealer – Premises

Required to sell retail goods from a fixed location

Required

Required

Retail Dealer – No Premises (overnight storage) Required to sell retail goods from a mobile business unit

Required

Required

Food Service – Premises Required to sell food products, including pre-packaged food  

Required

Required

Required

Secondhand Dealer Required to sell or take on consignment of second-hand property of any kind

Required

Required

Required

Required

Wholesaler Required to sell or distribute tangible goods at wholesale (to other businesses)

Required

Required

Tobacco Retailer Required to sell any tobacco products

Required

Required

Pawnbroker Required to offer secured loans to individuals with items of personal property used as collateral

Required

Required

Required

Required

Home based business
Licence Type Description Location approval (Required) Health (Required)

Retail Dealer – Premises

Required to sell retail goods from a fixed location

Required

Retail Dealer – No Premises Required to sell retail goods from a mobile business unit
Food Service – Premises Required to sell food products, including pre-packaged food

Required

Required

Wholesaler Required to sell or distribute tangible goods at wholesale (to other businesses)

Required

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.​​​​​

Police Check

This licence type requires recommendation by the Calgary Police Service through the Police Information Checks unit. This is an internal process that is completed automatically by the Calgary Police Service and is initiated on your behalf through your business licence application.  

Previous police checks cannot be used as a substitute for this approval process.

Business Licence Approval Type Timeline
Police check Approximately 2-3 weeks

Show ID

You are required to provide two pieces of valid, government issued identification, one of which must contain photo identification (ID). When you apply for your licence online, you will be required to upload your ID.

Acceptable forms of government issued photo identification may include:

  • driver’s license
  • passport
  • permanent resident card

Acceptable forms of government issued identification include:

  • provincial health care card
  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate

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.