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.

On this page:

  1. COVID-19 updates
  2. Business licensing bylaw
  3. Apply for a business licence
  4. Renew a business licence
  5. Other licences and permits

COVID-19 updates

Business licence application appointments are not currently available due to the provincewide shutdown.

If you need a consultation or help with the application process, please call 519-741-2275 or send us an email.

You can also continue to mail in your new or renewal application with payment, or use our drop-box at our Young Street entrance (located outside the doors). Renewals notices have been mailed directly to you. The business licence renewal due date has been extended to June 30.

Please subscribe to this page to get an email if this process changes.

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 June 30 (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
  • 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

If you have a business licence, we will mail or email you a renewal notice in mid-January. You will need to fill out and return this notice with payment and any subsequent required documents. Any inspections that may be required will be arrange by Licensing Services.

Expiry date

Most business licences expire on March 31. Please look for your expiry date on your licence or contact us for more information.

If your licence expires on March 31 and you do not renew it, we will add late fees to the licence starting on April 1.

Due to COVID-19, the expiration date for 2021 has been extended until June 30.

Renewal payments

You can make a renewal payment by mail. Please 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:

  • building permits
  • liquor licences
  • special occasion permits
  • lottery licences

Building permits

You may need a building permit if you are doing any construction work on your property. Visit our building permits page to learn more.

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.

Please fill out the form linked below and send it to staff by email.

Download the Municipal Information application form

We will review your request and commission this form for you. This process costs $20.

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.           

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.

Lottery licences

If you’re hosting an event that includes a lottery, you need to apply for a lottery licence and follow the related regulations and bylaws.