Businesses operating in Kitchener may need a business licence. Choose your business type below to apply. More inspections may be needed from planning, fire, public health, building, and plumbing. Our licensing services team will coordinate the inspection upon application.

Apply for or renew a business licence online

On this page:

  1. How to apply
  2. About business licences
  3. Processing time
  4. Adult entertainment parlour
  5. Alternative massage centre
  6. Auctioneer
  7. Beauty salon or barber shop
  8. Buskers
  9. Commercial kitchens
  10. Contractors
  11. Convenience store
  12. Driving school
  13. Farmers’ market
  14. Food shop
  15. Laundrette or dry cleaner
  16. Lodging house
  17. Mobile business
  18. Motor vehicle facility
  19. Nightclub
  20. Old gold
  21. Payday loan establishment
  22. Permanent vendor
  23. Pet care establishment
  24. Pet shop
  25. Place of amusement
  26. Pop-up shop
  27. Public hall
  28. Refreshment vehicle
  29. Special events
  30. Street vendor
  31. Temporary vendor
  32. Theatre

How to apply

You can apply for a business licence:


About business licences

Visit our business licences page to learn about:

  • our business licensing bylaw
  • general licence conditions
  • renewing a business licence
  • other licences and permits

Processing time

Depending on the inspection requirements, the standard processing time is two to three weeks.


Adult entertainment parlour

Definition: means any premises or any part thereof where, in pursuance of a business:

  • goods, entertainment, or services that are designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations are provided in the premises or part of the premises; or 
  • body-rubs, including the kneading, manipulating, rubbing, massaging, touching, or stimulating by any means of a person's body, are performed, offered, or solicited in the premises or part of the preemies unless such body-rubs are performed, offered, or solicited for the purpose of medical or therapeutic treatment and are performed or offered by persons otherwise duly qualified, licensed or registered to do so under the laws of the Province of Ontario.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Alternative massage centre

Definition: means any premises or part thereof in which alternative massage is provide for hire or gain or respecting which a licence has been granted. However, in the case of a publicly or privately funded post-secondary institution licensed pursuant to this Chapter, an "alternative massage centre" shall mean the portion of the premises identified pursuant to Section 508.2.14 & 508.2.15 during the class times specified thereon provided alternative massage is not provided or offered outside of the specified hours or location or provided to patrons for hire or gain.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Auctioneer

Definition: means any Person selling or putting up for sale goods, wares, merchandise, effects, or property by public Auction.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Beauty salon or barber shop

Definition: means an establishment where any of the following services are provided: hair cutting, hairstyling, barber services, beauty treatments for face, hands, or feet, and including but not limited to waxing, nail services, tanning, piercing, tattooing, cosmetic tattooing, hair extensions, micro-blading, eyelash extensions, and electrolysis.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Buskers

Definition: means a Person, or a group of Persons operating together, who play, act, sing, or otherwise perform or entertain for reward or payment in or upon any highway or public place.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Commercial Kitchen

Definition: "Commercial Kitchen" means a shared-use, commissary, or incubator kitchen that are licensed spaces where chefs, bakers, caterers and other culinary professionals can prepare their goods. 

Definition: "Commercial Kitchen - Vendor" means the business that rents or operates out of a Commercial Kitchen for the purpose of preparing their goods.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Contractors

Definition: means a Person engaged in the Business of altering, repairing, or  renovating buildings or structures, and such Business may include, but is not limited to, cleaning homes or offices, landscaping, installing fences, driveway paving, fire inspections, plumbing  or  drainage  work, or installing, leasing, or renting portable signs, but does not include a building renovator whose principle Business is the construction of new buildings or structures  and who is registered with the Tarion Warranty Corporation, or any electrician, master electrician, or electrical contractor.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Convenience store

Definition: means a Business that is open for long hours for the convenience of shoppers and stocks, sells, or offers for sale a range of everyday items, which may include items such as newspapers, magazines, soft drinks, confectionery, meat, and milk products.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Driving school

Definition: means a Business that, for gain, teaches a Person or Persons to operate motor vehicles.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Farmers’ market

Definition for Stationary Farmers' Market: means a building or place where a group of persons who operate stalls or other food premises meet to sell or offer for sale consumer products that may include, but are not limited to, farm products, baked goods, and preserved foods, and shall include permanent and seasonal flea markets.

Definition for 'Pop-up' Farmers' Market: means a short-term operation where a group of persons who operate stalls sell or offer for sale farm products, baked goods, or preserved foods for one day a week at the same location for up to 30 days in a calendar year in total.

Definition for Farmers’ Market Vendor: means a person or group of persons who operate a stall at a farmers market or flea market.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Food shop

Definition: means a Business where food products intended for human consumption are made for sale, offered for sale, stored, or prepared, but does not include the selling of only bottled or canned beverages, meat in an airtight package, or pre-packaged candies other than those required to be frozen, and includes, but is not limited to, a bake shop, restaurant, or an establishment or kitchen used for the purpose of catering or preparation of food for catering.

This licence category includes restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, coffee shops and more.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Food truck

Definition: means a motorized vehicle, other than a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle, from which food products are prepared, sold or offered for sale, but does not include a Refreshment Vehicle.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Laundrette or dry cleaner

Definition of Laundrette: means an establishment with automatic washing machines, dryers, or dry cleaning machines available for public use for a fee.

Definition of Dry Cleaner: means a Person engaged in the Business of or in the collection of clothing for the purpose of dry-cleaning, dry-dyeing, or cleaning, pressing, and spot or stain removal, or other similar applications to clothing or fabric.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Lodging house

Definition: means a dwelling or part thereof containing one or more lodging units which lodging units or units are designed to accommodate four or more residents in total. The residents may share common areas of the dwelling other than the lodging units, and do not appear to function as a household. This shall not include a hotel, motel, group home, nursing home, hospital, or any residential care facility licensed, approved, or supervised under any general or specific Act.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Mobile business

Definition: means any Business that is operated from place to place offering or providing a product or service and that would be covered by one of the schedules of this By-law if the Business was operating in a building or fixed location, but shall not include any Person operating as a Contractor or Temporary Vendor.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Motor vehicle facility

Definition: means a building or place where a Person engages in the Business of selling, offering for sale, or providing servicing or maintenance of a Motor Vehicle and shall include without limitation any new or used Motor Vehicle Dealership, Motor Vehicle Service Station, Motor Vehicle Service Shop or Specialty Shop, Motor Vehicle Repair Shop, supplier of new and used Motor Vehicle parts, Motor Vehicle inspection Centre, Motor Vehicle rental and leasing establishment, and Motor Vehicle Specialty and Service Shops.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Nightclub

Definition: means an establishment or part thereof, having a principal function of the provision of pre-recorded or live music for dancing by patrons, where food and beverages may be served, and where the occupancy load is greater than 100 Persons.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Old gold

Definition: means a business in which any Person purchases or deals in gold or any other precious metal which is not newly minted, including old jewelry or similar articles intended to be smelted or dismantled.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Payday loan establishment

Definition: means any premises or any part of them in respect of which a licensee within the meaning of the Payday Loans Act, 2008, S.O. 2008, c. 9 may operate a business pursuant to a licence issued under that Act.

Review the fee schedule.

Apply for or renew a licence online


Permanent vendor

Definition: means a Person who sells goods or services, at one specific location, either directly or by way of sample or catalogue for delivery later, intends to do so for 250 days in a calendar year, and is not regulated by a schedule other than the schedule respecting Permanent Vendors in this By-law.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Pet care establishment

Definition: means a Business for the grooming, training, daycare of any pet, or the overnight boarding of Animals, and shall include any Boarding Kennel or Breeding Kennel but does not include veterinary practices or the City’s Animal Services Provider.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Pet shop

Definition: means a Business that sells, has for sale, or keeps Animals including without limitation rodents, reptiles, fish, or amphibians.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Place of amusement

"Place of Amusement" means an arcade, axe throwing venue, billiard parlour, bowling alley, roller skating rink, ice skating rink, curling rink, miniature golf course, paintball arena, laser quest venue, pool hall, driving range, shooting gallery, dance hall, cabaret, adventure room, rock climbing facility, or any other Place of Amusement not specifically provided for herein.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Pop-up shop

Definition: means a Person or Business who sells goods or services, at one specific location, for no more than 250 days in a calendar year by way of testing a location or operates as a seasonal or short-term vendor, but does not include a Person or Business selling similar goods or service for more than 250 days at the same location in the previous calendar year.

Review these documents:

Apply for a licence online


Public hall

Definition: means a building, including a portable building or tent with a seating capacity for over 100 persons that is offered for use or used as a place of public assembly, but does not include a theatre or a building, except a tent, used solely for religious purposes.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Refreshment vehicle

Definition: means a Vehicle selling Refreshment but shall not include a Food truck. There are three (3) classes of Refreshment Vehicles. The classes are defined below:

Class A: means a Refreshment Vehicle that is a stationary vehicle and licensed to operate at one specific location. 

Class B: means a Refreshment Vehicle propelled by muscular power, from which pre-bottled beverages, or confection goods including, but not limited to, fruit, candy, ice cream, and popcorn are sold for human consumption.

Class C: means a Refreshment Vehicle that is a motorized vehicle or a trailer that is hitched to a motorized vehicle that is moved from place to place and that offers for sale only pre-packaged foods, pre-bottled beverages, or ice confectioneries for human consumption, and may include food warming equipment.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Special events

Definition: means a one-time or infrequent occurring event outside normal programs or activities such as any community, social, or cultural group celebration including a ceremony, street party, beer garden, festival, carnival, circus, midway, exhibition, or outdoor concert, but does not include a parade, wedding, funeral procession, picketing, trade show, or film event under permit.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Street vendor

Definition: means a stationary vehicle or vendor licensed to operate on property owned by the City in Victoria Park or at specific street intersections, and will include without limitation any hot dog cart, portrait artist, or popcorn and confection stand.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online


Temporary vendor

Definition: means a person who offers goods, wares, or merchandise for sale in any manner in the City of Kitchener, other than on a permanent basis, and operates for no more than 3 days consecutively, for a maximum of 90 days per calendar year.

Review these documents:

Apply for a licence online


Theatre

Definition: means a building in which moving pictures are shown for public entertainment and may include single screen or multiple screen Theatres.

Review these documents:

Apply for or renew a licence online