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FAQ: Business Licences

Here are some frequently asked questions about business licences:

I haven’t received my Business Licence, what do I have to do?

You will no longer receive an invoice by mail. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has transitioned to a new business licensing system in June 2016. All business must apply for a new licence before the December 31, 2016.

Who requires a business licence?

All businesses operating in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo normally require a business licence. However, there are a small number of business types that are exempt from a licence, and others who are exempt from fees. If you have reason to believe your business may be exempt, please email business.licensing@rmwb.ca or call 780-788-1590 for more information.

What is the difference between a resident and non-resident business licence?

A resident business is a business that is located at, operating in, and generating revenue from an address in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

A non-resident business is a business located and operating from an address not within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, but is generating revenue within the municipality.

What is the difference between a home occupation and a home business?

Home occupation refers to the secondary use of a principal dwelling by only the permanent resident to conduct business that does not require clients or vehicles to visit the home. A Home Occupation Declaration Form is required to be completed and approved

Home business refers to the secondary use of a principal dwelling, its accessory buildings and site, or combination thereof, by at least one (1) permanent resident of the dwelling, to conduct a business activity or occupation. Once approved, this type of permit could allow for some activity at the home (such as client or employee visits). Each approved permit is subject to specific conditions.

What should I do if I move or change business locations?

To ensure the use of the proposed business is allowed in the district the business will be located, please contact Planning and Development at 780-799-8695 or visit 309 Powder Drive before your business moves. A development permit and building permit may be required before the business licence can be issued.

I have been awarded a short-term contract. Do I require a business licence?

All businesses operating in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo require a business licence regardless of the length of time they will operate. Licences are valid for one year from the date of issuance. Licences are not pro-rated.

How long will the application process take?

Business licences can take up to 10 business days to obtain, provided all permits are in place and any required supporting documentation is provided. This can vary depending on the type of business.

Do I have to renew my business licence?

Yes, business licences must be renewed annually.

When will my business licence expire? Will I receive a notice?

Business licences expire one year after the date of issuance. Yes, there will be a 45-day email renewal notice and 15 day email renewal notice sent out to all businesses.

How do I apply for a business licence?

Visit the RMWB's Online Online E-Permitting Service. Be sure to review the documentation and permitting requirements before applying for a Licence online, failure to do so will result in licensing delays. There you can create your own E-Permitting account. You may also visit 309 Powder drive or email business.licensing@rmwb.ca.

What permits may be required prior to obtaining a business licence and why?

A development permit may be required to ensure the land use bylaw requirements are met. The Municipality must ensure the use of the proposed business is allowed in the district the business will be located.

Building and Trade permits may also be required if construction will be required to operate the business. All inspections must be completed and passed before the business licence can be issued.

When is a Health Inspection needed?

Alberta Health Services requires a Health Inspection for some businesses to help ensure the business meets Alberta Health standards. To find out if you require a Health Inspection, please call 780-791-6078 or visit the Alberta Health Services website.

Why is a fire inspection required to get my business licence?

If you are a new tenant moving into an existing commercial space, a fire inspection is required. This ensures the fire department has up-to-date information about the new business occupying the space, and also ensures the space meets current fire code requirements. In some cases, a fire inspection may not be required. To find out if your business requires a fire inspection, please call 780-792-5519.

I am opening a business in a shopping mall/kiosk. Do I require a business licence?

A business inside a mall or kiosk must follow the same requirements as any other type of business. Before your business opens, please contact Planning and Development to ensure the use of the proposed business is allowed in the district the business will be located. A development permit and building permit may be required before the business licence can be issued.

What is APEGA? Do I require a business licence if I am a member of APEGA?

APEGA is The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. Current members are exempt from Municipal Business Licence fees. For more information please contact 780-426-3990.

What is AMVIC and who requires it?

AMVIC is the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council. Most businesses dealing with automotive are required to be a member. To find out if you require AMVIC please contact 780-466-1140.

I am participating in a craft show. Do I require a business licence?

Yes, a business licence is required in order to participate in a craft show. If you are renting a table and selling handmade items, the Municipality offers a daily handicraft licence for $10 per day. Businesses selling products that are not handmade, however, require a regular resident or non-resident business licence.

If you are the organizer of the craft show, an organizers business licence may also be required for the event. For more information please call 780-788-1590 or visit 309 Powder Drive.

I am organizing a tradeshow. Do I require a business licence? Would the participants need their own licence?

The organizer of the tradeshow requires an organizer's business licence. If this licence is in place, the participants of the trade show do not require licences.

  • Resident Trade Show Organizers Fee $5,250 per year
  • Non- Resident Trade Show Organizers Fee $2,100 per year

How do I register my business?

There are three separate governments that require business owners to register their business: Federal, Provincial and Municipal. In order to comply with all government regulations, please research all of the following:

Federal: There are different regulations if you need to register with Canada Revenue Agency. For more information please visit the Canada Revenue Agency website, or call 1-800-959-5525, or visit your nearest Service Canada office.

Provincial: There are various registrations for different business types. For more information please visit the Service Alberta website, call 780-427-7013 or visit your nearest Alberta Registration office.

Municipal: The Regional Municipality of Buffalo is the municipal government for this region. To ensure you have met all the municipal requirements, please visit the Planning and Development pages on this website, contact us at 780-799-8695, or visit 309 Powder Drive.

Do I have to install signs on my property or front door stating there is a business at the residence?

Home Businesses are not required to install signage for a business to operate. However, should a business choose to install signage there are restrictions:

  • One (1) non-illuminated sign or plaque shall be permitted on the dwelling. The maximum sign or plaque dimensions are 20 cm by 30.5 cm. No other form of on-site advertising is permitted.

Commercial Businesses must follow the Urban Service Area Sign Provisions (Bylaw 01/068). Commercial Businesses are also required to follow the Sign City Centre Bylaw (Bylaw 13/005).

Why are building permits required for my business?

If the current space does not meet safety code standards or construction is required in order for the business to begin operation, a building permit will be required. Learn more about building permits and safety code standards on this website.

I have multiple businesses do I need multiple Licences?

If your business has multiple locations with the same type of business operating at each location, you are required to:

  • Obtain a licence fee for each location;
  • Ensure each location has their own individual licence;
  • Ensure the same business name is used at all locations; and
  • They must all have the same owner(s).
  • If you own a number of different types of businesses, the business owner must ensure:
    • A business licence for each type of business has been obtained; and
    • A licence fee for each business has been met, as per the Municipal requirement.

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