By-laws for Businesses

We have several by-laws to ensure business owners operate a legitimate business and maintain their property or building. Understanding more about by-laws helps owners recognize their responsibilities and avoid consequences for violations. Below you will find the most popular by-laws for businesses, or you can read about all Hamilton by-laws.

Most businesses in Hamilton must have a business licence to operate legally. This by-law protects the health and safety of the public who use the service and ensures consistency for business owners and customers. Learn more about what business licences the City issues.

Read about Hamilton’s Business Licence By-law No. 07-170

Any business owner wishing to change their business from one use to another, modify an existing building or build a new building must get building permit.Learn more about building permits for small businesses.

Read about Hamilton’s Building Permit By-law No. 13-313 (PDF, 3.5 MB)

Every business owner with a cooling tower must register their cooling towers every year with Public Health Services, have a Risk Management Plan for each cooling tower and maintain an up-to-date log book for each cooling tower.

Read more about Cooling Tower Registry By-law No. 11-078 (PDF, 278 KB)

All high and medium risk food premises in Hamilton are required to have at least one certified food handler at the premise who supervises the preparation, processing, packaging, service or storage of food. Learn more about Food handler training and requirements.

Read about Hamilton’s Food Handler Certification By-law No. 07-245 (PDF, 382 KB)

People cannot make or allow others to make an unreasonable noise or a noise that will disturb Hamilton residents. 

Read about Hamilton’s Noise Control By-law No. 11-285 (PDF, 598 KB) and exemptions for business activities.

Apply for a noise exemption permit

You may apply for a noise exemption permit that will allow you to be temporarily exempt from the by-law. Complete the Noise Exemption Permit application (PDF, 19 KB) and submit in person or by fax to:

Municipal Law Enforcement
77 James Street North, Suite 250
Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 2K3
Fax: 905-540-6280

Every property owner must look after the property according to the standards set out by the City of Hamilton. These standards are put in place to protect the health and safety of occupants and the general public. 

Read about Hamilton’s Property Standards By-law No. 10-221

Sewer discharge guidelines for comerical, industrial, institutional and residential users that discharge wastewater to the city’s sewer works or have waste hauled to the sewer works for discharge.

Read about Hamilton’s Sewer Use By-law No. 14-090 (PDF, 2.6 MB)

The sign by-law regulates all outdoor signs and advertising space to ensure that signs are not a safety hazard, such as interfering with traffic visibility. It assists in maintaining a clean and positive image for the city. Learn more about what signs require a permit.

Read about Hamilton’s Sign By-law No. 10-197 (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Every business owner or occupant must remove and clean all snow and ice from sidewalks,  roofs and eaves of buildings that overhang the road or sidewalk within 24 hours of the end of a winter storm or snow fall, or within 24 hours of the end of a series of consecutive storms. 

Read about Hamilton’s Snow off Sidewalks By-law No. 03-296 (PDF, 163 KB)

Every owner of a vacant building has to register the vacant building with the City of Hamilton.

Read about Hamilton’s Vacant Building Registry By-law No. 10-260

Every business owner and/or occupant must keep their property clean of waste and ensure grass and weeds do not exceed 20 cm (8 inches) in height. The exterior of property including buildings, structures, fences, walls and vehicles needs to be free of graffiti.

Read about Hamilton’s Yard Maintenance By-law No. 10-118

A Zoning By-law regulates the use of land and controls how each property in the city can be used. More specifically, it regulates:

  • the types of buildings such as townhouses, manufacturing or retail stores that are permitted
  • where buildings and structures can locate on a property
  • the lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights, setbacks from the street and other such regulations

At present the City of Hamilton has 7 Zoning By-laws currently in effect.

Read about Hamilton’s Zoning By-laws