Get a City of Guelph Business Licence

Businesses selling products and services within Guelph may be required to obtain a Business Licence from the City of Guelph. The licenses are issued by the Corporate and Community Safety Division and are designed to protect the citizens of the community.

Licenses are non-transferable if a business is sold or moves to a new location and businesses that require multiple licenses must apply for each separately.

Please allow a minimum of four weeks for your business licence to be processed and issued. Once your business licence has been issued, your business may begin to operate.


Before you begin

Know your location

  1. Determine where your business will be located.
  2. Check with our Zoning Department at [email protected] or 519-837-5615 to ensure your new location is zoned for your type of business.
  3. Check for open building permits at your new location because it could impact your license. Use our Public search to see what permits exist on your property. A business licence cannot be issued with an open building permit.
  4. If you plan to make modifications to your space, you may need a building permit. If you need a building permit it must be issued, and the building inspections must be passed before your business license can be issued. A business licence cannot be issued with an open building permit.
  5. For information on building permit requirements or to discuss open permits on a property, please visit or email [email protected].
  6. Check with the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit about your business – know the Public Health requirements for your business.
  7. Search for the type of business you plan to open in the Business Licence Bylaw to learn about rules that apply to your business, and other key licensing information.

Collect your required documents

  1. Floor Plan (sample floor plan)
  2. Lease (must include the applicants name on the lease)
  3. Articles of Incorporation (sample Articles of Incorporation page 1)
  4. Master Business Licence (sample Master Business Licence)
  5. General liability insurance of no less than $2,000,000.00 per occurrence

Complete the required applications.

Find your business licence category below and submit the required applications for that category.

What happens after you apply?

If your applications and documents are complete a licensing representative will contact you by email with instructions on how to complete payment for your application(s).

Inspections (if applicable)

Inspections may include an in-person visit. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all inspections are completed and approved within 90 days of receipt of a completed Application for Inspection.

If applicable to your business category, once payment is received for your Application of Inspection, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to book your required inspections.

The submission of a Business Licence Application does not entitle the applicant to carry on business pursuant to the bylaw. The applicant is only entitled to do so once a current and valid licence has been issued.


If you have questions or would like to discuss your application with a licensing representative contact [email protected] or 519-822-1260 extension 2551.

Business Licensing categories and applications

Please refer to the Business Licence Bylaw for more information.

Adult Entertainment

“Adult Entertainment and Retail Establishments” are any premises wherein is provided in pursuance of Business, any Good or Service designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations.

Amusement Establishment

“Amusement Establishment” means any indoor facility, designed for and equipped to provide amusement activities, but does not include, Adult Entertainment Establishments, arcades, arenas, billiards, bowling alleys, carnivals, golf courses, internet gaming facilities and internet cafes, Theatres or physical fitness centres.

Bed and Breakfast

“Bed and Breakfast” means any premise in which the owner resides and where for gain, is provided 3 (three) or fewer rooms for overnight accommodation and breakfast for the traveling public, but does not include a restaurant, hotel, tourist home, lodging house, nursing home or any other license approved or supervised under any general or special act.

Catering Business

“Catering Business” means any business in which food prepared at premises not already licensed in relation to food preparation under this bylaw, and for immediate consumption at premises not already licensed in relation to food sales under this bylaw.

Donation Bin

“Donation Bin” means a receptacle located outdoors, within the geographic area that is under the City’s jurisdiction, and placed, installed, displayed, operated, used, altered or maintained for the purpose of collecting donated items from the public, including but not limited to appliances, clothing, household items, metal, paper, recyclables and toys, but does not include a receptacle located within a Building or a receptacle owned or operated by the City.

Driving School Instructor

“Driving Instructor” means an individual who accepts remuneration to provide instruction in the operation of motor vehicles but does not include an individual who provides in-class instruction only.

Food Premise

“Food Premise” means any premises permanently affixed to the ground, where Food is prepared and provided for sale or sold for immediate consumption indoors and/or outdoors at the Premises, or after take-out or delivery to other Premises; by way of examples, Food preparation includes such things as cleaning food, cooking food, making coffee, heating sandwiches or scooping ice cream.

Food Vehicle

“Food Vehicle” means an outdoor vehicle not permanently affixed to the ground and capable of being moved on a daily basis, from which food is provided for sale or sold.

Annual Licence

Short-term Licence

Holistic Services

“Holistic Service” means any service that is a complementary or alternative healing modality including, but not limited to: energy or life-force therapies; herbal/botanical therapies; and, physical therapies.



Hotel Establishment

“Hotel” includes a motel and means any premises in which is provided four (4) or more rooms for overnight accommodation of the travelling public.

Merchant Stand

“Merchant Stand” means an outdoor wheel-less frame, base or display structure not permanently affixed to the ground and capable of being moved on a daily basis, not part of a merchandise establishment, and from which merchandise is provided for sale or sold.

Annual Licence

Short-term Licence


“Pawnbroker” means any person who carries on the business of taking by way of pawn or pledge any article for the repayment of money lent thereon.

Payday Loan Establishment

“Payday Loan Establishment” means any Premises or any part of them in respect of which a licensee within the meaning of the Payday Loans Act, 2009 may operate a business pursuant to a licence issued under that Act.

Personal Service Establishment

“Personal Service Establishment” means any premises in which is provided services, including, but not limited to activities, facilities, or treatments for the improvement of a person’s physical or psychological health or appearance such as, but not limited to hair salons, tattoo parlours, tanning salons, spas, electrolysis, piercing and aesthetician salon.

Private Parking Agent

“Private Parking Agent” means any individual who issues any notice or any correspondence to a vehicle, driver, or registered owner of a vehicle regarding the parking of the vehicle on private property, that indicates that payment should or must be made in respect of a parking infraction to either the City of Guelph or to any other person(s) or organization.

Public Assembly Hall

“Public Assembly Hall” means a building, or portable structure, with a seating capacity for over 100 persons that is offered for use or used as a place of public assembly, and includes a flea market and a theatre but does not include a tent or place of worship being used for the purposes of holding a service.

Publication Dispensing Box

“Publication Dispensing Box” means a container located outdoors, within the geographic area that is under the City’s jurisdiction, and 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, but does not include a container located within a Building or a container owned or operated by the City.

Second-hand Goods/Salvage Dealer

“Salvage Goods” means any destroyed, deteriorated or damaged goods or property and any part thereof, and includes such items as metal, old damaged or inoperable automobiles, automobile parts, old, damaged or inoperable major appliances, bicycles, junk or other similar material. “Second-Hand Goods” includes goods listed in Appendix “A” of Schedule 18, that have been previously owned or used by one or more persons and which are transferred to a Second-hand Goods Licensee for resale.


“Taxicab” means any motor vehicle having, at the time of manufacture, a normal seating capacity for nine or fewer passengers, used to convey individuals for a fee or other compensation, but does not include a special transportation vehicle licensed under a bylaw of the City or under the Ontario Highway Transport Board, a bus, an ambulance, a funeral hearse, or a motor vehicle conveying passengers from any point within the city to an airport situated outside of the city and bearing a valid and subsisting plate or permit issued under the applicable legislation.

Helpful links

Other licenses and permits

Additional resources

Provincial licensing requirements

1 Stone Road West, Guelph

Importing and exporting

Information regarding importing and exporting products is available by contacting:

Canada Border Services Agency

Starting a small business

For information regarding starting your own small business contact:

Business Centre Guelph Wellington
519-822-1260 extension 3907

COVID-19 Guidelines for businesses