Business Licences & Permits

Opening a new business is a busy and exciting time, and requires careful planning.

Every business in the City of Victoria is required to have a business licence. Before applying for a business licence the business should be registered with BC Registry Services. Depending on the type of business, there are a number of supporting documents that are required when submitting an application such as proof of incorporation or health approval from Island Health.

Download our Starting a Business in Victoria document for a step by step guide to starting a business in the Capital City.

Learn more about new Short Term Rental business regulations.

Business Licence Application

When an application for a business licence is submitted, approvals from other departments including zoning, bylaw, permits & inspections, Island Health (if applicable), and the fire department (if applicable) are required. Before submitting an application please contact our Business Licence department to learn more! Learn how to renew your business licence online

Zoning and Property Use

When searching for a suitable property for a business it is integral to ensure the zoning allows for the business use before signing a lease or purchasing a property. To view the allowable uses for a specific property, use VicMap to search the address of the property. The zoning will be available to view which will outline the allowable uses in the zone. If the property allows for a use, however, is currently occupied by a different use, a change of use will occur. A change of use may require additional steps to conform to bylaws and the BC Building Code. Please contact our Zoning division to learn more.

Development Variances for Parking

Parking requirements may be required for certain properties. When a property does not meet the parking requirements outlined in the zoning bylaw a development variance permit is required. A development variance permit must be submitted through Development Services at City Hall. The application fee is $500 and the processing time is approximately 10 weeks. The process involves a public consultation with final approval made through City Council. 

Building Permits

Whether a business is leasing or purchasing a space, interior and exterior alternations may require one of more building permits. In addition, when changing the use of a space, a building permit is required. Average building permit processing times for tenant improvements are 7 business days. It is important to consult with the Permits & Inspections department before signing a lease or purchasing a property to ensure the improvements are allowable and timelines are understood.