Many businesses in Hamilton must be licensed to operate legally for public health and safety, consumer protection and/or nuisance prevention. A business licence protects the health and safety of the public who use their service or products and also helps ensure consistency for business owners and customers. Hamilton’s Licensing By-law No. 07-170 (PDF, 2 MB) provides the rules and regulations for each type of business.
What businesses require a licence
There are two categories of business licenses:
- Establishment licence
- Mobile licence
For a complete list of businesses that require a license, refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 1 MB).
Who can apply for a business licence
A business licence application must be submitted by:
- an individual owner
- a partner in a partnership
- the president or a signing officer of the corporation
- or written authorization by the president and/or signing officer of the corporation
Apply for or renew a business licence
Complete the Business Licence Application Form (PDF, 430 KB) and submit it in person to one of the following locations:
If your business licence requires a photo ID, submit your application to:
Licensing and By-Law Services Office
Hamilton City Centre
77 James Street North, Suite 250, Hamilton, Ontario
If your business licence does not require a photo ID, submit your application to:
One Stop for Business, Licensing Counter
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, Hamilton, Ontario
Refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 779 KB) to determine:
- if your business licence requires a photo ID
- the costs and fees required for your licence
- a complete list of required documents you need to submit with your licence application
Business licence expiry: Most business licenses are valid for one year from the date issued.You must renew the licence every year. As a courtesy, the City may send out renewal notices by mail. However, it is the licence holder’s responsibility to ensure the licence is current.
Pay your business licence fee
You can now pay your business licence fee online.
To make an online payment you must have:
- your licence number if paying for a renewal i.e: 18-XXXXXX (first 2 digits represent the year)
- your application number if paying for a new licence i.e: 18-XXXXX (first 2 digits represent the year)
Documents that may need to be provided to get a licence
Documentation required varies depending on the type of business licence you are applying for. In addition to the business registration or corporate profile some licences require a:
- Zoning Verification certificate
- Premises plan or floor plan
- Police criminal check
- Ministry of Transportation driver abstract
For a complete list of documents required to be submitted, refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 779 KB)
Licensing Compliance Officers will be visiting locations throughout the City to educate business owners of licences that may fall under the new or existing licensing by-law schedules. The Officers will be educating business owners of the new or existing regulations and supporting business owners through the licensing process.
Questions? Contact the Licensing Section at 905-546-2782, Option 3 for Establishment Licensing or Option 5 for Mobile Licensing.
Phone: 905-546-2782 and select option 3
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