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City of Hamilton - Planning & Economic Development

Business and Establishment Licences

Understanding the Basics:

Which types of businesses require a Licence?
Most businesses in Hamilton must be licensed to operate legally. There are nine (9) types of categories that businesses are classifed under including:

  • Eating Establishment
  • Food Shop
  • Refreshment Vehicles
  • Miscellaneous: Bed and Breakfast, Aesthetic Services (i.e. hairdresser, piercing, tattoo etc.), Cigarette and Tobacco Sales, Kennels and Pet Shops, Public Hall, Salvage Yard, Recreational Camping Establishment, Residential Care Facilities etc.
  • Mobile: Taxi Cab Owner, Limousine Driver etc.
  • Places of Amusement
  • Public Garage
  • Trade/Contractor
  • Adult Services: Entertainment Establishments

Where do I apply for or renew my business licence?

Licences are processed at two different locations depending on which category your business falls under. Please see below for the category and corresponding location:

You can apply for a new licence at City Hall (71 Main Street West – 1st floor - next to Country Style) if your business falls under one of these categories:

• Food Premises (restaurants)
• Goods/Used Goods and Services
• Accommodations
• Places ofAmusement
• Public Garage

All business licences are renewed at City Centre - Licensing & Permits Office (77 James Street North, Main Floor Suite 250) AND new licences for:

• Food Service Vehicles (i.e Food Trucks, food carts)
• Mobile (Taxi cab)
• Trade Licence Contractor and Master
• Adult Services Entertainment Establishments

Here is a complete list of businesses (and their categories) that require a licence:
Food Premises:
• Restaurant
• Bar/Nightclub
• Food Shop/Bakery/Catering

Food Service Vehicles:
• Class A – non travelling food service vehicle on private property e.g. chip wagon
• Class B – motorized food service vehicle operating on the road e.g. ice cream or food truck
• Class C – non motorized travelling food service vehicle operation on public/private property i.e. ice cream bicycle

Goods/Used Goods and Services:
• Antique/Flea Market
• Auctioneer
• Salvage and Second-Hand Goods, Pawnbrokers and Jewellery & Precious Metals Business
• Exterior Building Cleaner
• Kennels and Pet Shops
• Personal Aesthetic Services (i.e. hairdresser, piercing, tattoo)
• Mobile Sign Leasing/Renting
• Sign Posters and Bill Distributor
• Cigarette/Tobacco Sales
• Personal Wellness Facility
• Public Halls
• Seasonal Produce Vendors (45 Day Licence)

• Bed/Breakfast/Hotels/Motels
• Lodging Home
• Residential Care Facilities (RCF)
• Mobile Home Park
• Recreation Camping Establishments

Mobile (Police Criminal Checks are required):
• Taxi Cab Owner (private): only 3 licences are issued to those on the priority waiting list each year. Starting In 2013, additional plates will be awarded for accessible taxi cabs.
• Taxi Cab Owner
• Taxi Cab Broker
• Tax Cab Driver
• Limousines (owner)
• Limousines (driver)
• Tow Truck (owner)
• Pedlars
• Tow Truck Driver
• Pedlars
• Transient Trader (licence issued for 3 month period)

Places Of Amusement:
• Amusement Arcade
• Amusement Rides, Carnival, Circus
• Billiard Tables, Bingo Parlour, Bowling Alley
• Motor Vehicle Race Track
• Roller Skating Rink, Skateboarding, BMX bikes
Public Garage
• Buying, Selling, Storing of vehicles
• (B1) Combined Engine/Body Work
• (B2) Engine Work
• (B3) Body Work
• (C) Gas Hoses
• (D) Parking Lot
• (E) Car Wash/Detailing

Trade Licence Contractor and Master:
• Building Repair
• Plumber
• Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
• Drainage
• Sprinkler and Fire Protection Installation

Adult Services Entertainment Establishment :
• Owner – please note that no new licenses are being issued at this time
• Attendant, Operator, Manager
• Class A & B Video
• Adult Film Theatre
• Body Rub Parlour Owner – please note that no new licenses are being issued at this time
• Body Rub Parlour Attendant, Operator, Manager

What do I need before I apply for a licence?

  • A copy of your Business Registration. You may apply online for a Corporation Profile
  • A copy of your Zoning Verification Certificate. Apply online.
  • The application must be completed by either an individual owner, a partner or the president or signing officer of the corporation
  • Determine if you require a criminal record check from Police Services to apply for or renew your licence
  • Be aware that inspections of your location may be required by Police, Fire, Building Services and/or Public Health
  • Payment of your licence and the cost of all inspection fees will be required at the time of application

Note: If you are applying for a New Eating Establishment Licence, other than in the 3 major malls (Lime Ridge, Eastgate and Centre Mall), you will require a Zoning Verification Certificate.


Contact Information:

Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
77 James Street North (Main Floor), Suite #250
Phone: 905-546-2782
(Press "3" for licensing)

Online Services:

  • BizPaL  (identify permits and licences for your business)

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