A business licence is required by every business operating in the City of Victoria.
The City of Victoria is making it easier to apply for a new business licence or renew an existing licence with a new E-apply online application service. The new E-apply service will allow business owners to do the following online without having to visit City Hall:
- Apply for a business licence online and submit required documents
- Pay business licence invoices online
- Print off issued business licences
This new online tool makes renewing or applying for a business licence quicker and more convenient for new and current business owners. Follow the links below to E-apply for a business licence for:
- Arts and Entertainment
- Business Services
- Retail and Wholesale
- Financial Services
- Bicycle Vending
- Transportation and Sightseeing
- Food and Beverage
- Industrial and Manufacturing
- Professional Services
- Personal Services
- Repair Services
- Commercial Food
For business owners that operate a business not listed above or prefer to submit their applications to the City by email or by appointment at City Hall, please see the steps below about how to apply for a licence or email email@example.com for more information.
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 the Zoning Bylaw, contact Development Services at 250.361.0316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority) at 250.519.3401 or visit: http://www.viha.ca/)
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) (if applicable)
Complete a Business Application Form
Send your completed application form and any supporting documentation:
- In Person: Public Service Centre, Main Floor City Hall
- By Mail: City Hall, Attn: Business Licence Clerk, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria BC, V8W 1P6
- By email: email@example.com.
Business application forms are also available at City Hall, or click the links below:
- General - Business Licence Application Form
- Short Term Rentals
- Mobile Bicycle Vending Application
- Property - Business Licence Application
- Transient (Hotels and Motels) - Business Licence Application
- Street Entertainer Application Form
- Ride-Share / Taxicab - Business Licence Application
- Sightseeing Vehicle / Vehicle for Hire - Business Licence Application
- Escort - Business Licence Application
- Escort Agency - Business Licence Application
- Cannabis Businesses
A Business Licence application takes approximately 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. Short term rental business licence applications may take up to 14 working days to process.
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.
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. (When February 15 falls on a weekend or a statutory holiday, the deadline is the following business day.)
Operating a business without a valid licence may result in a fine of $250 per day. Here's how to renew your business licence.
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, fill out the Business Licence Account Closure form and send it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail or in person to the Business Licence Clerk in the Development Centre at City Hall.
Other Business Requirements
Helpful information is also available on:
- Building Permits
- Cannabis-Related Businesses
- Commercial Vehicle Decals
- Home Based Business
- Inter-Municipal Business
- Liquor Licensing
- Mobile Bike Vendor
- Sewage Discharge
- Sign Permits
- Street Vendors
- Portable Sign Permits
- Using Vehicles for Business
Business Start Up Links
There are agencies and services available to assist you with your business start-up needs:
- One Stop BC Business Registry
- Business Victoria
- Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority)
- Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
- Canada Revenue Agency
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