Donation bins and publication dispensing boxes

On May 25, 2015, City Council approved an amendment to the Business Licensing By-law to add the category of Donation Bins and Publication Boxes. This amendment will allow the City to regulate where and how Donation Bins and Publication Boxes are operated in Guelph.

Applying for a donation bin or publication box license

  1. Obtain written permission from the property owner to use location for the bin or box.
  2. Fill out the appropriate Business Licence Application. The form must be completed in full.
  3. Contact the Licensing Coordinator to book an appointment to submit your Business Application.

1 Carden St.
Guelph, ON N1H 3A1
519-822-1260 extension 2551
licensing@guelph.ca

Submitting an application for inspection does not entitle you to carry on business pursuant to the by-law. You are only entitled to do so once a current and valid licence has been issued.

How can we help you?
Submit a concern about a newspaper/publication box

Frequently Asked Questions

When does this licensing category come into effect?

As of July 1, 2015 the City of Guelph’s Business Licensing By-Law requires all operators of donation bins and publication boxes on either City or private property to obtain a business licence before operating. All bins and boxes must be licensed by August 1, 2015 or will be subject to removal.

Why is the City licensing donation bins and publication dispensing boxes?

In the case of donation bins, licensing regulations help address community concerns related to illegal dumping around the area of the bins, poorly maintained bins, misleading signage and placement of the bin on private or public land without consent of the landowner.

The licensing of publication boxes helps address community concerns related to these boxes being placed without the landowner’s consent and the lack of routine maintenance. Additionally, by licensing publication dispensing boxes, the City can address concerns related to pedestrian accessibility or other safety concerns.

Who is required to be licensed?

Donation bin operators collecting donated items from the public, including the following; clothing, appliances, household items, metal, paper, recyclables and toys, must be licensed in order to operate in Guelph.

Any business using publication dispensing boxes to dispense publications to the public, for financial consideration or free of charge must be licensed in order to operate in Guelph.

Where can the donation bins and publication dispensing boxes be placed?

For donation bins, all operators must have a letter of permission from the property owner as well as Zoning approval and must obtain a business licence from the City of Guelph before placing their bins.

For publication dispensing boxes, all applicants must have a letter of permission from the property owner as well as Engineering approval and must obtain a business licence from the City of Guelph before placing their boxes.

How does licensing donation bins and publication dispensing boxes benefit our community?

By licensing donation bins, the City aims to:

  • reduce illegal dumping surrounding the areas of donation bins 
  • ensure bin owners maintain the physical conditions of the bins
  • regulate the placement of donation bins
  • educate the public on where/how their donations are being used

By licensing publication dispensing boxes, the City aims to:

  • ensure box owners maintain the physical conditions of the dispensing boxes
  • regulate the placement of the publication dispensing box
  • ensure that the areas where the boxes are placed are not affecting pedestrian accessibility or other safety concerns

What is a publication dispensing box?

A publication dispensing box is a container located outdoors which is placed, installed, displayed, operated, used, altered, or maintained for the purpose of dispensing publications to the public, either for financial consideration or free of charge.

Who should I call if I have a concern about a donation bin or a publication box?

Bylaw Compliance at 519-836-7275 or submit your concern online.