BusDev-Business Licence
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Business Licence FAQs

Licence Type

Business Location

Home-based Business

Contact Information

Business Information

Using the System

General Questions


Licence Type

What are the licence types?

  1. ACCOMMODATION includes apartments, hotels, motels, mobile home parks, bed and breakfasts, resorts.
  2. AGRI-INDUSTRIAL includes:
    1. the fabrication, testing, servicing and repairing of farm equipment;
    2. the processing, storing, distributing, wholesaling, grading, sorting or packaging of farm produce, animal products, feed and seed;
    3. the selling of farm equipment and vehicles; and
    4. the operation of an animal stockyard.
  3. ASSEMBLY includes businesses where there is a gathering of people such as a coffee shop, restaurant, art gallery, golf course, or banquet hall.
  4. AVIATION includes businesses in the aviation industry such as flight schools, ground service, flight service, maintenance of aircrafts.
  5. BUSINESS AND PERSONAL USE includes professional, household, or personal services such as banking services, spas, beauty salons, janitorial services, medical clinics, pet grooming, accounting services, chiropractors, and engineers.
  6. CARE FACILITIES includes services for the care of children, such as daycares and preschools; also includes personal care services or assistance such as private hospital, rehabilitation and extended care facilities, personal and intermediate care facilities.
  7. CONTRACTOR includes businesses that perform any type of construction, including alterations.
  8. INDUSTRIAL includes food processing and manufacturing, assembling, storing, wholesaling, testing, transporting, servicing and repairing of equipment, goods and materials.
  9. MERCANTILE includes displaying or selling retail goods, wares or merchandise.
  10. TEMPORARY LICENCE includes non-permanent businesses such as carnivals, ice cream vendors, direct sellers, film production, local produce sales, non-permanent commercial sales and charitable activities.

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What are the licence subtypes?

The licence subtype indicates more specifically the nature of the business operation. Subtypes by licence type are:

  1.   ACCOMMODATION
  2.   AGRI-INDUSTRIAL
  3.   ASSEMBLY
  4.   AVIATION
  5.   BUSINESS AND PERSONAL SERVICES
  6.   CARE FACILITIES
  7.   CONTRACTOR
  8.   INDUSTRIAL
  9.   MERCANTILE

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How are the licence types and subtypes determined?

Licence types and subtypes are defined in a bylaw approved by Council. Refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006.

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What if the wrong business licence type or subtype is selected on the application?

The City reviews the information for all applications and will notify the applicant if a more appropriate category exists.

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What information should be provided in the "Description of Business"?

The business description should provide details on the nature of the business that will help staff verify the most appropriate licence type and subtype were selected. For example:

  • Florist – retail and wholesale
  • Roofing – new and repairs, torch on, shingles, shakes and metal roofs
  • Janitorial – residential and commercial cleaning
  • Painting and Drywall – residential and commercial, interior and exterior
  • Internet Sales From Home – all sales done over internet; merchandise mailed to customer

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What difference does it make if the business location is within or outside the City of Abbotsford?

Businesses located within the City of Abbotsford are subject to specific regulations as defined by the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006.

Businesses located outside the City of Abbotsford will not be subject to these bylaw requirements. As such, the review and issuance of licences for these businesses can often be completed more quickly.

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What is the cost of a licence if the business location is outside the City of Abbotsford?

The cost of a licence for a business located outside the City of Abbotsford is $155.00. Annual renewals are $130.00. For more information, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006.

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What is the cost of a licence if the business location is inside the City of Abbotsford?

The cost of a licence for a business located within the City of Abbotsford depends on a number of factors including the licence type, subtype and nature of business. For more information, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006.

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Home Occupation Business

What is a Home Occupation Business?

A home occupation (home-based business) is one where a resident of Abbotsford carries on a business in the home in which they reside. For more information, refer to Home Occupation Business on the City website.

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What are the requirements for a home occupation?

Refer to Home Occupation Business on the City website.

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What is the cost of a business licence for a home occupation?

Other than an Agricultural Repair business, a new home occupation business licence is $155.00. Annual renewals are $130.00. For more information, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006.

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Contact Information

What is "Contact Information"?

Contact information is the name, mailing address and phone number used to correspond with the business.

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What is "Position of Applicant"?

The position of applicant is either the owner of the business or an authorized agent, which is anyone authorized by the owner to act on behalf of the owner to make application.

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What does "Operating As" refer to?

The term "Operating As" refers to the name the business will be known as, and marketed as, to the public. In the majority of cases, the "Operating As" and Business Name are the same.

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Business Information

What employees should be included in "No. of Employees"?

The people that should be included are the full and part-time employees, including the owners/applicants. This information is used for statistical purposes and does not affect the cost of the licence.

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What does "Square Footage Utilized" mean?

This is the area of any building or land used by the business including any outside area used for the storage of goods, commodities, vehicles, etc. Do not include parking spaces for vehicles.

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Who can be named as the Emergency Contact for the business?

The emergency contact must be someone other than the owner (over the age of 18) who may be contacted if the owner is unavailable during an emergency, as required by the Abbotsford Police. Also, the emergency contact phone number must be different than the owner's phone number.

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Using the System

How secure are online payments?

The City uses PayPal, one of the most popular and secure payment providers on the internet. Payments are made using an SSL secure connection certified by Verisign.

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What browser is required to apply for a business licence online?

The system is designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer.

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What computer settings are required to apply for a business licence online?

The system uses pop-up windows. Advertising or pop-up window blocking must be disabled.

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General Questions

What business licences can be applied for online?

All business licences can be applied for online, except for a few licences which require more initial review by staff -- for example, a Temporary Licence which includes Carnival, Charitable Activity, Direct Seller, Film Production, Ice Cream Vendor, Non-Permanent Commercial Sales, and Trade Show.

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When is a business licence required?

Any activity or undertaking providing professional, personal or other service for the purposes of gain or profit requires a valid business licence.

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What is required from a licencing perspective before starting a business?

Every business must have a business licence issued by the City of Abbotsford before starting business.

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What is the cost of a business licence?

Business licence fees are determined based on a number of factors including licence type, subtype and nature of business. For more details, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No 1551-2006.

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How are business licence fees determined?

Business licence fees are established by a bylaw approved by Council. Refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006, Schedule B.

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When does the licence fee have to be paid?

The licence must be paid for at the time of application. Part of the application process is to pay online.

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What forms of payment are accepted?

Part of the online application process includes an online payment that accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

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What is the process after the business licence application is complete and paid for?

The application will be reviewed to ensure its completeness and staff will begin processing the application. Processing requirements depend on a number of factors including licence type, subtype and nature of business. In the application review, staff will notify the business applicant regarding the specific requirements.

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When will the City start processing the business licence application?

Every attempt will be made to begin processing on the first business day after the application is received.

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How long is an issued licence valid?

Other than Temporary Licences, a business licence is valid for a 12-month period from the date of issuance and shall expire on the last day of the 12th month. For Temporary Licences, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006, Section 7.2 or contact the Building Permits & Licences Division.

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What happens when the business licence expires?

The City sends out a renewal notice approximately six weeks before the expiry date. If, for some reason, you do not receive a renewal notice, please contact the Building Permits & Licences Division.
Business Licence Renewals can be paid for online.

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Is a permit required for signage used to advertise a business?

All signs, other than signs located on a residential property to advertise a home-based business, require permits. A Sign Permit Application can be completed online. Signs for home-based businesses do not require permits, but must comply with the regulations as outlined for Identification Signs in the Sign Bylaw No. 1022-2001, Schedule A, page 27. Contact the Building Permits & Licences Division for more information.

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Is a building permit required before improvements can be made to the business location?

A permit is required for any structural changes made and any new plumbing installed including sprinklers. Paint, carpeting or cosmetic changes do not require a permit.

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Will the premises need to be inspected prior to the issuance of the business licence?

All businesses located within the City of Abbotsford require an inspection. The Licence Inspector will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for the inspection.

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Will any additional documents be required?

For some business types, the City may require additional documents (e.g. plumbers, electricians, gas contractors will need to provide a copy of their Trade Qualification [TQ] certificate). The applicant will be contacted if any additional documentation is required.

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How long does it take for a business licence to be issued?

Business licence issuance times vary depending on a number of factors including the licence type, subtype and nature of business. The applicant will be notified of the processing specifics as soon as possible.

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When can the business start operating?

Once a business licence is issued, a business can start operating.

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Is the information provided in the business licence application treated with confidentiality?

All information provided to the City of Abbotsford online or in person is subject to the confidentiality imposed by the Freedom of Information Bylaw No. 21-95,

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Would a new owner of an existing business require a new business licence?

All business licences are non-transferable. A new application must be completed and issued before the new owner may start operating the business.

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What bylaws regulate the establishment and operation of a business?

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If my business moved, how do I update my licence?

Business Licences are non-transferable; a new application must be completed for the new location.

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My business has ceased operating, do I need to notify the City?

Yes, the City will need to be notified in writing so that your business licence file can be closed. Requests to close your business licence file can be emailed to businesslicence@abbotsford.ca.

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My business mailing address has changed, how do I update my licence?

f the business is still operating from the same location and just the mailing address has been changed, a request can be made in writing to update the mailing address. Complete and submit a  Business Licence Amendment Application, along with the Administration Fee of $25 (payable to City of Abbotsford).

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My business name has changed, how do I update my licence?

If the nature of the business and the location is the same, a request to change the business name can be made in writing. Complete and submit a  Business Licence Amendment Application or submit a copy of the name change registration, along with the Administration Fee of $25 (payable to City of Abbotsford).

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Where is more information available?

For more information, please contact the Building Permits and Licences Division by email or phone 604-864-5525 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays; or visit the office in person at 1st Floor City Hall, 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford.

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Information provided in this FAQ is intended to clarify the business licence application process. For complete information, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006. This guide should be used for general information only and not as a substitute for municipal bylaws and regulations.

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