Business Licences

Business Licence By-law and Application Forms

Important information for businesses that are new, relocating or transferring ownership

Businesses selling products and services within Guelph may be required to purchase a Business Licence from the City of Guelph. The licenses are issued by the Licensing Division/Bylaw Compliance, Security and Licensing Department and are designed to protect the citizens of the community.

Applicants must ensure that Building, Fire and By-Law regulations are complied with. Other specialized businesses such as hair salons and aesthetician salons or businesses where food products are prepared and sold must also obtain approval from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health.

Please allow four to six weeks for your Business Licence to be processed and issued. Once your Business Licence has been issued, your business may begin to operate. To book an appointment with the Licensing Coordinator to submit or discuss your application call 519-822-1260 extension 2551 or email

Application Forms

Business Licence By-law (2009) – 18855 (Consolidated)

Please note: The individual sections of the Business Licence By-law shown below have been prepared and consolidated for the purpose of convenience only and are not certified true copies. For accurate reference, consult copies of the official Business Licence By-law (2009)-18855 and related amendments in the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall.

643 kBBusiness Licence By-law (August 2015) Business Licence By-law Schedule A – Directory of Schedules 19 kBBusiness Licence By-law Schedule B – Required Inspections 17 kBBusiness Licence By-law Schedule C – Fees

Step 1 – Application for Inspection

Schedule 1 – Adult Entertainment

155 kBAdult Entertainment Application for Inspection

Schedule 2 – Amusement Establishment

127 kBAmusement Establishment Application for Inspection

Schedule 3 – Bed and Breakfast

127 kBBed and Breakfast Application for Inspection

Schedule 4 – Catering Company

128 kBCatering Company Application for Inspection

Schedule 5 – Food Premise

128 kBFood Premise Application for Inspection

Schedule 6 – Food Vehicle

161 kBFood Vehicle Business Application – Annual Licence 103 kBFood Vehicle Business Licence Application – Short-term Licence

Schedule 7 – Holistic Services

154 kBHolistic Services Application for Inspections

Schedule 8 – Hotel Establishment

127 kBHotel Application for Inspections

Schedule 9 – Pawnbrokers

127 kBPawnbroker Application for Inspections

Schedule 10 – Personal Service Establishment

154 kBPersonal Service Establishment Application for Inspections

Schedule 11 – Private Parking Agent

See Step 2

Schedule 12 – Public Assembly Hall

128 kBPublic Assembly Hall Application for Inspections

Schedule 13 – Street Vendor

128 kBStreet Vendor Application for Inspections

Schedule 14 – Driving Instructor

More information on the new Driving instructor category

Map of regulated streets

See Step 2

Schedule 15 – Donation Bins and Publication Dispensing Boxes

131 kBDonation Bin Business Licence Application 126 kBPublication Dispensing Box Business Licence Application

Sample Floor Plan

Sample Floor Plan

Step 2 – Business Licence Application

Business Licence Application 101 kBHolistic Services Operator/Practitioner Business Licence Application Private Parking Agent Business Licence Application Driving School Instructor Business Licence Application

The submission of a business licence application does not entitle the applicant to carry on business pursuant to the by-law.  The applicant is only entitled to do so once a current and valid licence has been issued.

Guelph Fire Department – Business Licence Self-Inspection Checklist

New Business Licence By-law Background

Proposed New Business Licence Update

October 2, 2009

Notice of New Business Licence By-law Passing in Guelph Tribune

September 28, 2009

New Business Licence approved by Council

July 13, 2009

Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee Meeting

Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee Report – June 9, 2009

Spreadsheet of current and proposed fees with 20% cost recovery

June 9, 2009

Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee Meeting – The FACS Committee deferred the June 9 Report to the Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee meeting on July 13, requesting that City of Guelph staff report back with overhead recoveries information.

June 26, 2009 – Notice of Council’s intention to pass a new Business Licence By-law Advertisement in the Guelph Tribune

Proposed New Business Licence Bylaw Fees and Categories Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee Report – June 9, 2009

May 22, 2009 – Notice of Council’s intention to pass a new Business Licensing By-law advertisement in the Guelph Tribune.

The current City of Guelph Business Licence bylaw, passed in 2004, has undergone a review process. As a result, a number of proposed changes have been developed by City staff which may result in a new by-law.

The City of Guelph is now looking to interested stakeholders to provide comments and feedback on the proposed changes, presented at an open house on May 7. The proposed changes are outlined in the Open House Information Posters and Open House Presentation links available at the bottom of this page. If you would like to provide comments, please e-mail them by May 14 to either or

May 7, 2009 – Open House

Business owners and interested stakeholders were invited to attend an open house on May 7, to learn about the proposed changes to the current Business Licence By-law and provide feedback.

At the open house, City staff discussed the following:

  • Changing the number of business categories to be licensed in future
  • Introducing new conditions and deleting some conditions for the proposed remaining categories
  • Introducing a two-step application process
  • Introducing a new fee structure and options for future fee schedule implementation

Recommendations for a new Business Licence By-law will be brought forward to the Finance Administration Community Services Committee on June 9 and is tentatively planned to go to Council on June 22 for approval. The new Business Licence By-law is proposed to be in effect September 2009.

For more information

Jennifer Jacobi
Licensing Coordinator
Clerk’s Office
T 519-822-1260 x 2551


In 2004 Council passed the current business licensing bylaw (2004)-17551.
On January 1, 2007, Bill 130, the Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act, came into force and effect which gave more discretion regarding the provisions pertaining to business licensing.

The amended act gave municipalities broader licensing and enforcement powers. Specifically, municipalities were no longer limited regarding the reasons for licensing which were as follows:

  • health & safety
  • consumer protection
  • nuisance control.

As a result, Council approved a recommendation On October 15, 2007 to reflect that the purpose for licensing businesses is primarily for the health, safety and well-being of the public, where there is a municipal interest that is not otherwise legislated. Examples of businesses meeting these purposes are establishments where food is prepared or sold, or where large assemblies are inherent in the business. These are cases where there is a greater interest in health, sanitation, and safety where a higher degree of inspections is warranted.

Staff initiated a review of the business license bylaw, accordingly, to conform to the new reasons for licensing. Concurrently, a service review was conducted which resulted in a consolidation of bylaw enforcement including the enforcement of the business licensing bylaw.

Supporting documents

Business Licence Bylaw (2004) – 17551 Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee Report Oct 3, 2007 – Bill 130 Amendments to Municipal Act affecting business licensing Finance, Administration and Corporate Services Committee Report April 14, 2009 – Business Licence By-law Review Process New Business Licensing By-law Open House Advertisement in Guelph Tribune April 27 and June 1, 2009 Letter to Business Licensees about Open House for new Business Licence By-law dated April 24, 2009 Business License By-law Open House Poster Business License By-law Open House Presentation Business License By-law Open House Comment Sheet Proposed New Business Licence Bylaw Fees and Categories Notice of Council intention to amend Business Licence By-law (2009) -18855

Other Government Agencies

Liquor Licences

Citizens wishing to operate establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and/or consumed must contact the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for approval.

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
20 Dundas Street West, Seventh Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2N6
416-326-8700 or toll free at 1-800-522-2876

For provincial requirements

1 Stone Rd. W., Guelph

Importing And Exporting

Information regarding importing and exporting products is available by contacting:

Canada Border Services Agency

Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre

For information regarding starting your own small business contact:

401-42 Wyndham Street North
Guelph, Ontario, N1H 4E6

Last Updated: December 11, 2015. Broken links or incorrect information? Let us know!