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    Small business permits and licenses in Canada

    Having a unique idea is amazing. Having a unique idea that has never been implemented before is brilliant; the resources to make it happen? Beyond amazing, and I know quite a bit of people who were at this stage. However, rarely do entrepreneurs with brilliant, innovative ideas, study the law. This is why they would sometimes fall and crumble due to some poorly planned steps, legally speaking. But to kick it off with, there is a number of business permits and licenses in Canada that you need to be aware of if you wish to conduct and start your business venture.

    Nowadays, it is impossible to start your small business without having all the business permits and licenses in Canada. Not only will it be dangerous to conduct business without them, but you also might be faced with some ridiculous fines. Fines so high that they end a business idea before it even starts.

    When it comes to getting business permits and licenses in Canada, you must know everything before starting the hunt.
    Take your time and research all the licenses you might need.

    But before we go into any detail, do you even know what the difference is between a license and a permit? A license is a document that shows direct proof that you are given permission to operate your business in a given area. This means that you were licensed, and tested through an array of standardized tests in order to see whether the quality and standard fits the requirements of the area. Once you prove that you do, and you pass, you are an owner of a license.

    Permit, on the other hand, is a document showing that you are in compliance with certain laws. So if you own a restaurant, for instance, and you own a permit, that means that you are in compliance with hygiene and food laws of the area you operate in.

    Business permits and licenses in Canada

    Knowing the two apart begs the question: Which one do I need? These permits and licenses will greatly vary from one industry to another. Furthermore, the licenses and permits tend to vary from city to city, as well as province to province. Sometimes they may vary so much that you could be forced to get a provincial one as well as a municipal one. The thing is, regardless of what type of a business we are talking about, they are all going to need a license of some sort. Even the smallest, home-based businesses. The reason is the fact that taxes and fees are attached to the license itself, so however you plan your budget – make sure you count this in. Because, as mentioned earlier, the fees for failing to do so can prove to be catastrophic.

    License prerequisites

    If you are looking to get your business permits and licenses in Canada, there is a process to it. You can’t hope to get into an office, pay a fee and receive your license. Nothing in life is that easy. Especially not the business-related paperwork. So don’t get your hopes up.

    There is an abundance of approvals, inspections, and background checks before you can hope to get your license. That means that someone will most likely appear at the doorstep of your company, walk inside and take a good look at what you have. Potentially check your software licenses if you are into IT. Or, look into your kitchen if you are a restaurant. On the other hand, long distance moving companies in Canada will have an entirely different story.

    Failing to have all the business permits and licenses in Canada can result in devastating fees.
    Failing to own one can cost a lot of money.

    Second, you and all the members of your staff will most likely undergo a background check, seeing if any of you is a convicted felon. All of this can impair your license and permit acquiring, so be careful.

    For instance, there are a lot of commercial business locations that the fire department inspects. Also, a lot of home operated businesses will have to have a home occupation permit. They will inspect if you own one or not.

    Permit and license classification

    The list of permits and licenses goes on infinitely. Literally, from one business to another the amount of documentation might be entirely different. All depending on the business, of course. It also may greatly depend on the city you are in.

    Just to get you on board on how much paperwork you need. For instance, a simple yoga studio in Calgary will require the following:

    • Alberta Sign Form
    • Alberta Business Name Registration
    • Canadian Business Registration
    • Calgary Sign Permit
    • Calgary Development Permit
    • Commercial School License
    Be sure to research which documents you will need for your business.
    Make sure you know all the documents you are looking for.

    For a yoga studio. So you get the idea. The paperwork is huge. However, you are not alone because there are organizations and institutions that can provide a lot of assistance with this issue. There are agencies that will do everything for you, for a fee. But for this fee, you risk zero chance for mistakes, and all you have to do is show up and sign the documentation. To some companies, starting on an incredibly low budget, this might be a problem. However, other companies will take full advantage of such agencies. And quite frankly, they are worth the money. But when you add this to all the other costs you have, such as the business storage unit, you could be in trouble.


    If you can’t afford such an agency, you can always contact the local city department and ask about the licenses. They will all gladly share the information about which business permits and licenses in Canada you need for your business. Some costs and wait times for these permits are longer than what you’d expect, so don’t delay this process. Also, you can go online and look at Canada’s BizPal website to learn more about the permits and licenses.

    On behalf of moving services in Sudbury, we wish you the best of luck with your new venture!