Every business in the City of Victoria is required to have a Business Licence. Depending on the type of business, different documents are required when applying.
Business Licences are effective from January 16 to January 15 the following year. They are non-transferable and licence fees are non-refundable.
Step One: 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 determine the type of business you are permitted to operate. For information on Zoning, contact Development Services at 250.361.0316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have selected your location you will need to confirm the current legal use of the proposed space. The legal use is different from the zoning as it relates to BC Building Code requirements. A building permit may be required for a change in use or for alterations to the physical space to confirm compliance with BC Building Code regulations such as fire protection, occupant safety and accessibility. You can check current legal use by contacting the Permits and Inspections division at 250.361.0344.
Step Two: Prepare Paperwork
Depending on the type of business, different supporting documents that may be required when applying for a Business Licence. These can include:
- professional certificates
- proof of incorporation and Notice of Articles
- health inspection certificate (for more information, contact Island Health)
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Step Three: Complete a Business Licence Application Form
Send your completed application form and any supporting documentation to:
- by email: email@example.com
- in person: Public Service Centre, Main Floor, City Hall
- by mail: City Hall, Attn: Business Licence Clerk, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria, BC, V8W 1P8
Some applications may be completed and submitted online, others require a completed form, submitted in person, by mail or by email. Online applications and forms are available below, or in person at City Hall.
Step Four: Approval Process
A complete Business Licence application takes approximately 10 working days to process. Several City departments must review and approve an application before a Business Licence is issued. Short-term rental Business Licence applications may take up to 14 working days to process. Depending on the business type, the Capital Regional District, Provincial and Federal governments may also have additional requirements that must be met before the business can legally operate.
Once your Business Licence application is approved, you will receive an invoice to the mailing address you provided, if you have not already made payment in person. Once you have paid, you will receive a mailed copy of your Business Licence.
Renewing or Changing Your Business Licence
A City of Victoria Business Licence must be renewed annually. Each November, you will receive a Business Licence renewal invoice in the mail. This invoice is payable by January 15 of the following year.
After February 15, a late fee of $25 will apply to all expired business licences. This fee must be paid for a renewed licence to be issued. Operating a business without a valid licence may result in a fine of $250 per day.
If you receive a Business Licence renewal invoice and your business has ceased to operate, fill out the Business Licence account closure form [PDF/61KB]. Send the form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail or in person to the Business Licence Clerk in the Public Service Centre at City Hall.
To make changes to your existing Business Licence, such as a location change (within the City of Victoria) or a name change, please fill out the general Business Licence application form and indicate the changes required. Send the form by email to email@example.com, by mail or in person to the Business Licence Clerk in the Public Service Centre at City Hall. The changes will be submitted to the various City departments for review and a revised Business Licence will be issued upon re-approval of the licence.
Business Licence payments must be received prior to a licence being issued. There are options available to pay for your City of Victoria Business Licence:
- online using the City of Victoria's online payment service
- at most banks and financial institutions (the account number is located at the top of the Business Licence renewal invoice)
- by mail: City of Victoria, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria, BC V8W 1P6
- in person at the Public Service Centre on the first floor of City Hall: payments can be made by cash, debit, credit card or cheques made payable to ‘City of Victoria’