If you’re opening a business in Kitchener, you may need a business licence. The cost, requirements and application process depend on the type of business.

Apply for or renew a business licence online

On this page:

  1. Apply for or renew a licence online
  2. Business licensing bylaw
  3. Apply for a business licence
  4. Renew a business licence
  5. Other licences and permits

Apply for or renew a licence online

You can apply for or renew a business licence online. Visit our online services portal to get started.

If you have any questions, send us an email or call 519-741-2275.

Business licensing bylaw

Businesses in Kitchener may need a business licence. Our business licensing bylaws outline the requirements of each category of business Inspections from planning, fire, public health, building, and plumbing may be required and will be arranged by staff.

Apply for a business licence

If you are opening one of the businesses listed below, you need to apply for a business licence.

When applying for a licence, these general conditions apply:

  • licences are non-transferable
  • businesses that fall into multiple categories may need multiple licences
  • business licences expire on March 31 (regardless of application date)
  • standard processing time is two to three weeks, depending on inspection requirements

Businesses that need a business licence are listed below.

Permanent businesses

  • adult entertainment parlour
  • alternative massage centre
  • beauty salon or barber shop
  • commercial kitchens
  • convenience store
  • driving school
  • farmers’ market
  • fireworks vendor
  • food shop
  • laundrette or dry cleaner
  • lodging house
  • motor vehicle facility
  • nightclub
  • old gold
  • payday loan establishment
  • permanent vendor
  • pet care establishment
  • pet shop
  • place of amusement
  • public hall
  • theatre

Temporary and mobile businesses

  • auctioneer
  • buskers
  • contractors
  • food truck
  • mobile business
  • pop-up shop
  • refreshment vehicle
  • special events
  • street vendor
  • temporary vendor

Visit our application page to learn more about each business type and apply for a licence.

Renew a business licence

Most business licences expire on March 31. Late fees begin on April 1.  Renewal notices with instructions are mailed out beginning in February and the expiry date is always listed on your licence.

Renewal payments

You can make a renewal payment:

  • online
  • in person – book an appointment to help plan your visit
  • by mail – mail a cheque made out to City of Kitchener and your renewal notice to Licensing Services at City Hall

Other licences and permits

You may need more than a business licence to start your business. Other licences and permits include:

Liquor licences

If you’re serving alcohol at your business, you will need to apply for a liquor licence through the AGCO. Before you apply, you’ll need a Municipal Information form signed and approved by the manager of licensing.

After you have the form signed and approved by the manager of licensing, send it to staff by email.

We will review your request and commission this form for you. This process costs $21.

Extend your liquor licence

If you want to temporarily extend your liquor licence, we will review your request and give you a Non-objection Letter. 

AGCO - Agency Approval Letters

Based on your situation, contact the appropriate group below:

  • new and existing business not under a building permit: fire prevention
  • new and existing business under a building permit: building      

Special occasion permits

If you’re applying for a special occasion permit (SOP) through the AGCO, you’ll need a Municipal Significance Sign-off. Send us an email to request our sign-off.

We will review your request and determine whether your event falls into this category. If it does, we will give you a signed letter for the SOP application.