If you are planning to operate a business in the City of Victoria, you will need to apply for a business licence from City Hall. Below are steps to help guide you through the process.
Select a Location
Prior to applying for a business licence, you will need to select a location. Zoning regulations vary in different areas of Victoria and can affect the type of business that you are allowed to operate. For information on zoning, visit the Planning and Development Department or call 250.361.0316 or 250.361.0536.
You will also need to confirm the legal use for a specific address according to the City of Victoria Bylaw by contacting the Permits and Inspections division at 250.361.0342.
A print copy of the City of Victoria Bylaw may be obtained free of charge from the Public Service Centre located at Victoria City Hall at 1 Centennial Square. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Depending on the type of business, there are a number of supporting documents that are required when submitting a business licence application, including:
- professional certificates (if applicable)
- proof of incorporation and Notice of Articles (if applicable)
- health inspection certificate (if applicable - for more information contact the Vancouver Health Authority at 250.519.3401 or visit: http://www.viha.ca/)
Complete a Business Application Form
You can mail your completed application form and any supporting documentation to the address below, or fax it to 250.361.0205 or in person to the Public Service Centre at Victoria City Hall.
Business application forms are also available at Victoria City Hall as well as for downloading.
- General - Business Licence Application [PDF - 96 KB]
- Escort - Business Licence Application [PDF - 45 KB]
- Escort Agency - Business Licence Application [PDF - 45 KB] [PDF - 82 KB]
- Property - Business Licence Application [PDF - 104 KB [PDF - 58 KB]]
- Transient - Business Licence Application [PDF - 94 KB]
- Street Entertainer Application Form pdf [PDF - 30 KB]
- Street Entertainer Consolidated Provisions.pdf [PDF - 18 KB]
- Taxicab - Business Licence Application [PDF - 102 KB]
- Sightseeing Vehicle - Business Licence Application [PDF - 165 KB]
A business licence application takes approximate 10 working days to process, as a number of City of Victoria departments must review and approve an application before a business licence can be issued.
Approval is also required when the use of a business premise is changed, a property is developed, or building additions are undertaken, in order to ensure compliance with bylaws and regulations.
The Capital Regional District, and Provincial and Federal governments may also have additional requirements that must be met before a business can legally operate.
Once your business licence application has gone through the approval process and approved, you will then receive an invoice to the mailing address you provided us on your application form if you have not already made payment in person. Once your business licence has been paid, you will receive a business licence.
Business Licenses are effective from January 16th to January 15th of the following year, are non-transferable and the licence fees paid are non-refundable.
Business Licence Renewal
If you operate a business in Victoria, you are required to have a valid business licence, which must be renewed annually. Each November, you will receive a Business Licence Renewal Invoice in the mail which is payable by January 15 of the following year. Businesses that operate without a valid business licence may be fined.
A $25 late fee will apply to all business licence accounts with balances 30 days past due. All businesses must have a valid licence to legally operate in the City of Victoria.
After February 15th, a late fee of $25 will apply to all expired business licences and must be paid in order for a licence to be issued. Operating a business without a valid licence may result in a fine of $250 per day.
Changes to Your Business Licence
If you have a change of address, change of name, or change of ownership, please fill out our general business licence application form (above) with the new changes. For change of ownership on Apartments, Rooming houses, or Boarding houses you would need to fill out our property business licence application form (above).
If you receive a Business Licence Renewal Invoice but your business has ceased to operate, please email us at email@example.com stating "CLOSED", or contact the City of Victoria at 250.361.0572.
Other Business Requirements
Helpful information is also available on:
- Street Vendors
- Permit Requirements
- Sign Permits
- Liquor Licensing
- Using Vehicles for Business
- Sewage Discharge
- Home Based Business
- Inter-Municipal Business
- Commercial Vehicle Decals
Business Start Up Links
There are agencies and services available to assist you with your business start-up needs:
- One Stop BC Business Registry
- Small Business Victoria
- Vancouver Island Health Authority
- Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
- Canada Revenue Agency
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