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City of Hamilton - Planning & Economic Development

Trade and Contractor Licence

The Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) Section is responsible for the licensing of Contractors and Masters. Licences are required and issued to Contractors and Masters working in:

What happens if I don't have a licence?
Upon conviction, unlicensed contractors can face sizeable fines. The City of Hamilton currently publishes the names and fines of companies that are convicted of operating without a licence. We encourages residents to call the City (905-546-2782) before hiring a contractor and signing a contract.

Are there exceptions to the above trades?
The Licence By-Law 07-170 does not apply to Contractors or Masters of a trade working in the construction of a commercial, industrial, institutional or residential building which has been designed by and is under the supervision and review of a Professional Engineer or an Architect licenced to practice in Ontario.

What do I need to have before I apply for a trade or contractor's licence?
If you are applying for a Contractor's Licence you are also required to have:

  • Insurance for public liability and property damage coverage
  • A police clearance check

You may obtain a police clearance at the Central Police Station, 55 King William, Hamilton or if you live outside the City, from your local police force. Police charge a fee for this service

  • Passed your trades' exam through the City.

Examinations for Building Repair and Drain Laying are held the 2nd Wednesday of each month at City Hall, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton, 1st floor, room 192 and 193.  Please arrive by 6:45 p.m.

How do I apply for a licence?
You have three options:

  • In person at 77 James Street North, Suite #250. 
  • Download an application: fill out at home or work and bring into our offices

* All licences must be renewed annually

  Trade Licence Fees

Contractors Licence


Master's Licence


Examination Fee


All new licences are subject to an additional $61.00 non-refundable processing fee.

What is the purpose of licensing?
The Licensing By-Law sets out a procedure to ensure the proper regulation of businesses and in doing so provides protection to those members of the public who would be employing such businesses.

How is licensing of trades and contractors monitored and enforced?
Licence officers ensure that applicants meet minimum standards, oversee examinations and address customer concerns. The Municipal Law Enforcement Section also communicates with various trade associations in order to ensure a standards of work and protect the public. On the construction site, Building Inspectors ensure that contractors hold necessary Licences and initiate enforcement when necessary.

How do trade licensing inspections work?
Inspections are primarily carried out on a complaint basis. Inspectors check for proper licences on the job site. If the City is notified of anyone operating in the field without a proper Licence, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure compliance with the By-Law. Inspectors also have the authority to carry out random spot checks to see if a tradesperson is operating with a proper trade Licence. Please note: When applying for a Permit, the Building Services Division requires the Licence number of the trades person carrying out the work at the site in question.

Contact Information:

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

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