Business Licence FAQs
- When is a business licence required?
- How long is an issued licence valid?
- What happens when the business licence expires?
- Is a permit required for signage used to advertise the business?
- Is a building permit required before improvements can be made to the business location?
- Will the premises need to be inspected prior to the issuance of the business licence?
- When can the business start operating?
- Where do I register my business name?
- Where do I get a GST and/or PST number for my business?
- What are the business licence requirements for mobile food vending?
Changes to a Business
- What do I do if my business has moved?
- What do I do if my business has a new owner?
- What do I do if my business mailing address has changed?
- What do I do if the name of my business has changed?
- What do I do if my business has ceased operating?
Making an Application
- What are the system requirements for using the online application form?
- What business licences cannot be applied for online?
- What are the licence types?
- What are the licence subtypes?
- What information should be provided in the "Description of Business"?
- What employees should be included in "No. of Employees"?
- What does "Square Footage Utilized" mean?
- Who can be named as the Emergency Contact for the business?
- Will additional documents be required?
- Is the information provided in the business licence application treated with confidentiality?
Information & Resources
- What bylaws regulate the establishment and operation of a business?
- Where is more information available?
- For businesses located within the City of Abbotsford the fee depends on a number of factors including the licence type, subtype and nature of business.
- Businesses located outside the City of Abbotsford (Non-Resident) have an annual fee of $130.
- An admin fee of $25 is charged for all new business licence applications.
For more information, refer to the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006.
Part of the online application process includes an online payment that accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
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 the Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006 and Home Occupation Business information on the City website.
Other than an Agricultural Repair business, a home occupation business licence has an annual fee of $130. An admin fee of $25 is charged for all new business licence applications.
Any activity or undertaking providing professional, personal or other service for the purposes of gain or profit requires a valid business licence.
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.
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 online.
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. Contact the Building Permits & Licences Division for more information.
A permit is required for any building modifications made and any new plumbing installed including sprinklers. Paint, carpeting or cosmetic changes do not require a permit.
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.
Once a business licence is issued, a business can start operating.
The City of Abbotsford does not register business names. Contact OneStop at 1-877-822-6727 for further information.
The City of Abbotsford does not issue GST or PST numbers. Contact OneStop at 1-877-822-6727 for further information.
Changes to a Business
All business licences are non-transferable. A new application must be completed. If there is a new owner, the licence must be issued before they may start operating the business.
If the nature of the business and the location are the same, a request to update the business name and/or mailing address should be made in writing. Complete and submit a Business Licence Amendment Application together with a copy of the name change registration (if applicable), and the Administration Fee of $25 (payable to City of Abbotsford).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making an Application
Temporary business licences such as the following cannot be applied for online:
- Temporary Licence
- Charitable Activity
- Direct Seller
- Film Production
- Ice Cream Vendor
- Non-Permanent Commercial Sales
- Trade Show
Please contact the Building Permits & Licences Division for more information.
- ACCOMMODATION includes apartments, hotels, motels, mobile home parks, bed and breakfasts, resorts.
- AGRI-INDUSTRIAL includes:
- the fabrication, testing, servicing and repairing of farm equipment;
- the processing, storing, distributing, wholesaling, grading, sorting or packaging of farm produce, animal products, feed and seed;
- the selling of farm equipment and vehicles; and
- the operation of an animal stockyard.
- ASSEMBLY includes businesses where there is a gathering of people such as a coffee shop, restaurant, art gallery, golf course, or banquet hall.
- AVIATION includes businesses in the aviation industry such as flight schools, ground service, flight service, maintenance of aircrafts.
- 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.
- 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.
- CONTRACTOR includes businesses that perform any type of construction, including alterations.
- INDUSTRIAL includes food processing and manufacturing, assembling, storing, wholesaling, testing, transporting, servicing and repairing of equipment, goods and materials.
- MERCANTILE includes displaying or selling retail goods, wares or merchandise.
- 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.
The licence subtype indicates more specifically the nature of the business operation. Expand the licence types below to view the subtypes:
- Bed and Breakfast
- Mobile Home Park
- Agri-Food Processing
- Farm Services
- Kennel/Animal Training
- Medical Marihuana Production Facility
- Natural Resources
- Produce Sales
- Repair Agricultural Equip - A Zone
- Amusement Facility
- Art Gallery
- Banquet Hall
- Bingo Hall/Gaming
- Bowling Alley/Billiard Hall
- Exhibition Complex
- Food Primary
- Funeral Home
- Golf Course
- Liquor Primary/BarWatch
- Liquor Primary/No BarWatch
- Parks, Recreation and Culture Facilities
- Recreational Facility
- Restaurant With Drive-Up Window
- Air Freight/Passenger Service
- Aviation Contractor
- Aviation Fuel Supplier
- Aviation School
- BUSINESS AND PERSONAL SERVICES
- Automated Teller Machines
- Business Services
- Charitable Service
- Film Production
- Financial Institution
- Health Services
- Non-Registered Massage Therapist
- Personal Service
- CARE FACILITIES
- Day Care
- Day Care - Charitable
- Day Care without Fraser Health Licence
- Personal Care
- Residential Care
- Blasting & Drilling
- Building Trades
- Construction Consultants
- Fire Protection
- HPO Licenced Builders
- Pool/Hot Tub
- Road Construction and Traffic Control
- Sign Contractor
- Auto Body Repair
- Auto Recycler
- Auto Services
- Boat Sales and Service
- Farm Equipment Sales
- Feed Mill
- Food Processing
- Heavy Equipment/Truck Sales
- Heavy Equipment/Truck Services
- Industrial Sales
- Junk/Scrap Metal Dealer
- Lumber Manufacturing
- Oil Storage/Pipeline
- Recycling Depot
- Small Engine Repair
- Towing Service
- Waste Services
- Wood Working Shop
- Auto Rentals
- Auto Sales/Leasing
- Automotive Supplies
- Building Supplies
- Catalogue Sales
- Charitable Service
- Department Store
- Fabric Store
- Flea Market
- Food Store
- Fuel Service Station
- Home Decor/Furniture
- Licensee Retail Store
- Medical Supply Store
- Mobile Vendors
- On-Line Sales
- Pawn Shop
- Pet Shops/Supplies
- Pharmacy/Personal Care
- Recreational Retail
- Rental Outlets
- Second Hand Goods
- Variety Store
- Water Suppliers
The business description should provide details on the nature of the business (i.e. what service/product you provide and how) that will help staff verify that the most appropriate licence type and subtype were selected.
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.
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.
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.
For some business types, the City may require additional documents (e.g. personal care businesses will need to provide a copy of their Fraser Health approval; 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.
All information provided to the City of Abbotsford online or in person is subject to the confidentiality imposed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
- Business Licence Bylaw No. 1551-2006
- Building Bylaw No. 2883-2018
- Sign Bylaw No. 1022-2001
- Abbotsford Zoning Bylaw, 2014
- Secondhand Goods Regulation Bylaw No. 949-2000
- Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA)
- BC Registries and Online Services
- Canada Business
- Community Care Facilities Licensing
- Community Futures Self Employment Program
- Corporate Online
- Fraser Health
- Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch
- OneStop BC Business Registry
- Small Business BC
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.