How to Apply for a Business Licence
Step 1: Submit Your Application
You must apply for a business licence with the municipality in which you live or operate your business.
Step 2: Get Required Approvals
The Planning Department will assess if the zoning bylaw allows your business activity at commercial or residential properties. You may want to check with Planning before you buy property or sign a lease to make sure that you can run your type of business there. To contact Planning call 250-475-5471. We also recommend that you learn about sign permits.
Are you renovating your place of business, or making alterations to plumbing or electrical?
You may need building or plumbing permits or approval from Saanich Inspections section to ensure you meet building codes. Common questions include:
- Do I need a permit?
- What is the status of my permit?
- How do I arrange an inspection?
For answers to these questions and more, please call Inspections at 250-475-5458 or visit our Inspections page.
For electrical and gas permits contact the BC Safety Authority.
To avoid any delays, we recommend you keep in contact with Inspections throughout your approval process. We can only issue a business licence once we get final approvals from all departments.
If you operate out of a commercial space, or if you have clients in your home, you may need a fire inspection.
- The Fire Department will confirm that you meet British Columbia Fire Codes.
- To arrange an inspection, call 250-475-5500.
- See our fire inspection guidelines.
Watch a YouTube inspection preparation video clip
- You need approval from Island Health if your business includes personal services like food handling or child care.
- For more information, call 250-519-3401 or visit Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority).
Step 3: Await review
We may send your business licence application to some or all of the above departments for approval. If we approve it, we may forward your application to other departments or outside agencies to conform to Provincial and Federal statutes. Typically, these inspections don’t cost you anything.
We can only issue a business licence once we receive all approvals.
Step 4: Pay for Your Licence
Once we receive all the required approvals and your payment, we’ll issue your business licence.
How Long Does the Application Process Take?
The processing time varies. It depends on how quickly you meet requirements. If you are altering the space, we can’t issue the business licence until the building inspection process is done. We can only issue a business licence once you get final approvals from all required departments.