City Of Abbotsford  
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Business Licence FAQs

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Fees

Home-based Business     

General Questions

Changes to a Business

Making an Application 

Information & Resources


Fees

What is the cost of a licence?

  • 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.

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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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Home Occupation Business

What are the requirements for 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 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.

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General Questions

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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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 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. 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 building modifications 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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When can the business start operating?

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

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Where do I register by business name?

The City of Abbotsford does not register business names. Contact OneStop at 1-877-822-6727 for further information. 

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Where do I get a GST and/or PST number for my business?

The City of Abbotsford does not issue GST or PST numbers. Contact OneStop at 1-877-822-6727 for further information. 

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Changes to a Business

What do I do if my business has moved or has a new owner?

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.

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What do I do if my business name or mailing address has changed?

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).

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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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Making an Application

What are the system requirements for using the online application form?

  • The system is designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • The system uses pop-up windows. Advertising or pop-up window blocking must be disabled
  • 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 business licences cannot be applied for online?

    Temporary business licences such as the following cannot be applied for online:

    • Temporary Licence
    • Carnival
    • 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.​

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    What are the licence types?

    1. ACCOMMODATION includes apartments, hotels, motels, mobile home parks, bed and breakfasts, resorts.
    2. 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.
    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. Expand the licence types below to view the subtypes:

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

    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.

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    What employees should be included in "Number 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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    Will any additional documents be required?

    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.

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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 and Protection of Privacy Act.

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    Information & Resources

    Related Bylaws 

    Helpful Links 

    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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