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Business Licensing

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) is a great place to live and do business. Whether you are an established company or just starting out with your first business, we can help you find all the information you need to be successful. While operating a business within the region, you should be aware of certain municipal regulations and processes. This section provides an overview of these regulations and processes.

All businesses operating in the RMWB 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. Before you begin operating your business, you need to determine the type of business you are planning to start and what the required steps are to obtain your licence.

There are two types of licences available: Resident and Non-Resident

A Resident business is a business that is located, operating in and generating revenue from an address within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. These licence categories are:

  • Commercial Business
  • Day Home
  • Home Based Business
  • Home Occupation
  • Market

A Non-Resident business is a business located from an address outside the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, but is generating revenue within the municipality. These licence categories are:

  • Good selling at $1,000 or more per item
  • Good selling at less than $1,000 per item
  • Services offering to perform or complete specific tasks
  • Trade Show Organizer

Once you have determined Resident status you can then determine the business category and start the process to obtain a business licence. The general steps include:

Step 1: Municipal Land Use Approval:

If your business is to be operated out of your home, it may qualify as a Home Occupation. You must complete the Home Occupation Declaration Form and submit it with your licence application for approval.

If your business is to be operated out of your home as a Home Based Business, you are required to provide an approved Development Permit number. If you do not have one, complete and submit the Home Business Development Permit Application and Checklist. This application will be reviewed by a development officer to determine whether your proposed operations are permitted at that address. This permit will need to be approved and issued prior to your licence application.

If your business is to be operated from a Commercial location, you are required to provide an approved Development Permit number. If your business activities differ from the previous tenant, you may be required to obtain a First Use/ Change of Use Development permit. [Download the First Use or Change of Use Checklist]. While the process of requiring a development approval is the same for both a home-based business and a commercial location business, they do have different development review processes. Learn more about Development Permits.

What is the difference between a home occupation and a home-based 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 prior to licence issuance.

Home-based 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 and to conduct a business activity. A Home-Based Business requires municipal land use approval. A Development permit is required prior to applying for a Business Licence. 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.

Home business development permits issued after May of 2016 will no longer expire. As long as your business does not change or move location, the home business development permit will no longer need to be renewed annually.

Step 2: Alberta Safety Codes Approval:

Whether your business is home-based or commercial, we must ensure the safety for our consumers. Depending on the type of business, where it is located and if any changes were made to the structure, etc., there may be building code requirements that need to be met.

If no permits are required for safety codes then you may be required to obtain a Fire Inspection Report from the Fire Department. You can call 780-792-5519 to book an inspection.

Learn more about the Alberta Fire Code Pre-Inspection Checklist.

Step 3: Business Licence Application:

(Note: Do not apply for a Business licence until you have all the applicable documentation, as this will delay the issuance of your licence.)

Once you have received Land Use approval and Safety Code approval, you can complete your business licence application. Methods to apply include:

  • E-permitting
  • In Person at Timberlea Landing (309 Powder Drive)

This year (2016), you will be required to submit all applicable documents pertaining to your business. For example, an Alberta Health Inspection Report. If no changes have been made to your business, a simple renewal will be available in the system for each following year.

Your proposed business licence application will be reviewed to confirm it meets all Municipal and Provincial requirements. Some business categories require documentation from other external agencies and are required to submit this with the licence application. For example: Alberta Health Permit, AMVIC, AGLC, Journeyman ticket, Master, etc. If the business is incorporated, copies of incorporation papers should also be included with the application.

Licence issuance can take up to 10 business days provided all required documentation is submitted.

The cost of a business licence varies and is determined by the business category your operation is classified under. Licences are valid for one year from date of issue and must be displayed on the business premises visible to customers.

Have questions? Contact us at Business.Licensing@rmwb.ca or call 780-788-1590.

Additional Information

Renewal of Licences

Licences must be renewed annually. When the licence is approaching expiry, you will receive an email notification that your licence is expiring in a few weeks. Once you receive this notification, please login to E-permitting, or visit the Timberlea Landing office (309 Powder Drive), to renew your business licence. All non-compliant business will be visited by a business licensing enforcement officer and the business may be shut down until a valid licence is obtained.

Moving Locations or Changing Operations

Your business licence is issued for a specific location and operation(s). If you change your operations or move your business to a new location, you will need to have your account reviewed to determine if a new development permit or business licence category is required.

Sale of Business

Business Licences are non-transferable. If you sell or close down your business, please contact our office. If you would like more information about a specific licence or permit, please contact Current Planning and Development Branch.

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