Business Licences

Trade Licence

Business Licensing
We have reopened in-person counters for regular business hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm):

  • Monday to Friday at City Hall, 71 Main St. W., 1st Floor
  • Monday and Wednesday at 330 Wentworth St. N., Hamilton

Business Licence applications or renewals can be submitted 7 days a week to [email protected]

Questions for staff? Contact us 5 days a week by email [email protected] or phone at 905 546-2782 option 3.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities oversees the apprenticeship process, training and certification for many skilled trades in Ontario.  However, if you own or operate one of the following companies or work in any of these fields as a tradesperson, Hamilton’s Licensing By-law No. 07-170 (PDF, 2 MB) requires you to hold a trade licence with the City of Hamilton:

  • Plumbing
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, also known as HVAC
  • Drain laying
  • Building repair
  • Sprinkler and fire protection

Types of trade licences

There are two types of trade licences:

  • Master’s licence
  • Contractor’s licence

Both licences are required when the business owner is also the tradesperson.

The by-law to license and regulate various businesses 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 licensed to practice in Ontario.

  • For a Master’s licence, the individual tradesperson must apply for the licence
  • For a Contractor’s licence, the business owner(s) must apply for the licence

Submit your Trade Licence Application Form (PDF, 327 KB), Trade Licence Questionnaire (PDF, 155 KB) and fee in person to:

Licensing and By-Law Services
330 Wentworth St N, Hamilton, ON

Refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 1 MB) for all of the requirements and costs for each type of licence.

Trade Exams: A mandatory trade exam is required for Building Repair and Drain Laying before we can issue a trade licence. Contractors are required to apply for the trade licence prior to the date of the exam - same day applications are not accepted. Applications can be made at 77 James Street North, Suite 250 (City Centre) or City Hall, 71 Main Street West, 1st floor. Trade exams are held the second Wednesday of each month at City Hall, 1st floor in Rooms 192 and 193. Contractors are encouraged to come at 6:45 pm to sign in with the proctor. You will begin writing the exam at 7 pm.

Trade Licence expiry: All Trade Licences expire one year after they are issued. You must renew your 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.

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 )

Documentation required varies depending on the type of trade licence you are applying for.

For new trade licences you may require:

  • proof of insurance
  • business registration or corporate profile
  • photo identitification

For renewals you must submit:

  • proof of insurance
  • photo identification
  • sign a declaration that you have not been convicted of any criminal offence since you were first issued a licence.

For a complete list of documents required to be submitted, refer to the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 1 MB).

As part of their regular duties, building inspectors regularly check for proper licences on job sites. Building inspectors may carry out random spot checks to see if a tradesperson is operating with a proper trade licence. When applying for a Building Permit, Building staff require the licence number of the tradesperson carrying out the work at the site.

The City conducts investigations if we receive complaints regarding unlicensed contractors. If the City receives notification of anyone operating in the field without a proper licence, appropriate action is taken to ensure compliance with the by-law.

Contact us

Licensing and By-Law Services
Phone: 905-546-2782 and select option 3
Email: [email protected]