Business licensing


All business licensing requests are being processed by phone, mail, or e-mail only. At this time, there are no in-person consultations available for business licensing. New and renewal applications can be mailed in or dropped off at the Young Street drop-box. We accept payment by debit, cheque (made payable to City of Kitchener), bank draft, or money order.  Please check the City’s website and social media channels often for updates on when facilities will reopen for walk-ins and all when City services will resume. If you require further assistance, please call our main Licensing Services line at 519-741-2275.

Council approved the current Business Licensing By-law in December 2017 and it took effect on April 1, 2018.  Businesses operating in the City of Kitchener may require a business licence. The first step is to determine your licence category. The Business Licensing Bylaw (Municipal Code Chapter 599) outlines the requirements of each category of business and may require inspections from planning, fire, public health, building, and plumbing.  Other general conditions:

  • Licences are non-transferable.
  • Businesses that fall into multiple categories may need multiple licences.
  • Business licences expire on March 31st (regardless of application date).
  • Standard processing time is 2-3 weeks, depending on inspection requirements.

Please note that this process is only for business licensing.  Contact the Building Division and Planning Division to ensure compliance with any of their requirements.

Other potential requirements:

  • Municipal Information Form – when applying to the AGCO for a liquor licence.
    • The Manager of Licensing will review and commission the form. The cost of process is $20.00
  • Municipal Significance Sign-off –  if applying to the AGCO for a Special Occasion Permit (SOP).
    • The Manager of Licensing will review your request and determine whether your event falls into this category. If so, they will provide you a signed letter for the SOP application.
  • Non-objection Letter – temporarily looking to extend your liquor licence.
    • The Manager of Licensing will review your request.

The 2017 Comprehensive Business Licensing Report highlights the guidelines and key changes within the current Business Licensing By-law.   Specific regulations, fees, application, and frequently asked questions are available below for each type of business.  You can stay informed of updates by subscribing to this page.

For more information, please contact us at or call 519-741-2275.


Adult Entertainment Parlour

Definition: means any premises or any part thereof where, in pursance of a business: a) 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  b) 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.

  • Adult Entertainment Parlour Regulations
  • Fees:
    • New licence - Class A: $428
    • New licence - Class B: $780
    • New licence - Class C: $806
    • New licence - Class D - Operator: $4,845
    • New licence - Class D - Attendant: $117
    • New licence - Class E: $5,819
    • Renewal - Class A: $97
    • Renewal - Class B: $97
    • Renewal - Class C: $109
    • Renewal - Class D - Operator: $4,750
    • Renewal - Class D - Attendant: $117
    • Renewal - Class E: $5,819
  • Application form available through Licensing Services.
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. 


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

 Beauty Salon/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. 


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.


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, installing fences, driveway paving, 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.

 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.

 Driving School

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

 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.

Fireworks Vendor

Definition: shall mean a licence issued pursuant to this Chapter and shall include a licence issued under one of the three following classes:

Class A: means a licence for a vendor who has not established a permanent place of business and is offering Consumer Fireworks for sale from a location that does not have a permanent business licence, and only operates during approved periods. Consumer Fireworks quantity does not exceed 1000 kg gross weight including packaging. 

Class B: means a licence for a vendor who has establish a permanent place of business and is offering Consumer Fireworks for sale from a location that does have a permanent business licence and only conducts sale during approved periods. Consumer Fireworks quantity does not exceed 1000 kg gross weight including packaging. 

Class C: means a licence for a vendor who has established a permanent place of business and is offering fireworks for sale from a location that does have a permanent business licence and only conducts sale of Consumer Firework during approved periods. Consumer Fireworks may be sold to the public, but may also offer fireworks for sale to person holding a valid Fireworks Supervisor or Pyrotechnical Certification issued by Natural Resources Canada under the authority of the Explosives Act. 

  • Fireworks Vendor Regulations 
  • Fees:
    • New licence - Class A: $538
    • New licence - Class B: $217
    • New licence - Class C: $435
    • Firework Premises: $418
    • Renewal - Class A: $538
    • Renewal - Class B: $89
    • Renewal - Class C: $89
    • Renewal - Firework Premises: $84
  • Application form available through Licensing Services.
 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.

 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. 

Food Trucks operating in residential zones

Council has approved a motion that will allow licenced food truck businesses the opportunity to operate in residential zones. The pilot program will run from July 1 – Aug. 31, 2020. No additional permits are required. If a food truck has their 2020 business licence from the City of Kitchener, they qualify providing they meet the following conditions:

  • Food truck must have a valid 2020 City of Kitchener business licence;
  • Operate only between the hours of 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.;
  • Operating on private property will require the property owner’s written consent (e.g., church or school);
  • No horns, flashing lights, or amplified sound/music would be permitted;
  • Parking must be in a legal parking spot and must abide by all parking regulations;
  • Food truck must be parked in a manner that the serving window is parallel to the sidewalk;
  • Parking in one location has a 2-hour maximum limit and then the food truck must move to a different street;
  • Food trucks cannot operate within 200 metres of a property with a licensed Food Shop;
  • Food trucks cannot operate within 500 metres of each other;
  • Food trucks cannot operate on Regional roads;
  • Operator must ensure that no waste is left behind;
  • Operator must ensure that any line-ups are on the sidewalk or boulevard; and
  • Operator must ensure that physical distancing measures are in place.
 Laundrette/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.

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. 

 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.

 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.


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. 

 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.

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.

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. 

 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.

 Pet Shop

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

 Place of Amusement

Definition: 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.

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. 

 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. 

 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 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.

  • Refreshment Vehicle Regulations
  • Fees: 
    • New licence - Class A: $225
    • New licence - Class B: $165
    • New licence - Class C: $185
    • Renewal - Class A: $175
    • Renewal - Class B: $125
    • Renewal - Class C: $135
 Special Events

Definition: means 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.

 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.

 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. 


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

 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if my business needs a municipal business licence? 

A: The Business Licensing By-law lists all the classes of business that require a municipal business licence. They are listed as "schedules" to the By-law.  If you aren't sure what category your business fits into, call City of Kitchener - Licensing Services at 519-741-2275 or email at

Q: How do I apply for a business licence? 

A: Applications are available for download on our website or you can pick up an application at Licensing Services located on the 2nd floor of Kitchener City Hall (200 King Street West).  Once the application is completed, submit to Licensing Services with payment and staff will coordinate any additional inspections with internal and external agency (for example: send Fire Prevention notice of application). 

Q: What type of approvals do I need to obtain my business licence? 

A: Each type of business has a different set of requirements. Typical inspections include Public Health Approval, Fire Approval, Zoning Approval, and Building Approval.  Review the regulations (available above) for the specific business regulations that pertain to your application. 

Q: What are the insurance requirements for applying for a business? 

A: Some businesses require proof of insurance as part of their application process. 

Q: What type of Police Clearance Check do I need? 

A: There are two types of police clearance checks: Vulnerable Sector and Basic. If you require a police clearance check as part of your business licence application, you will only be required to submit the basic check. 

Q: How long does it take to get my business licence? 

A: Each application is unique and requires its own set of inspections.  The average time is 2 - 3 weeks to obtain your licence. 

Q: When does my business licence expire? 

A: Most business licences expiry on March 31 - no matter when you apply for a licence. However, there are several temporary or mobile businesses that have different expiry dates. Ask Licensing Services staff and check your licence for the exact expiry date. 

Q: Is my licence fee refundable? 

A: No, licence fees are non-refundable. 

Q: What if I pay half way through the year? Do I only pay half the fee? 

A: No, licence fees are based on a cost-recovery model and therefore cannot be


Business Licence Renewals

New process for 2018/2019 renewals:

Under the new Business Licensing By-law, the renewal dates, fees, and process have changed. Moving forward, we will email and/or mail your business licence courtesy renewal notices in mid-January. If you're scheduled for a renewal, watch for your courtesy notice in the mail. Some renewals require additional inspections or forms that are to be submitted along with the courtesy renewal notice.

Almost all business licences expire on March 31. Please look for your expiry date on the licence or contact Licensing Services for more information. 

 Please note that all business owners are responsible for knowing when their licence expires and must renew their licence by the March 31.  Late fees will be added to your licence fee starting on April 1

 You can make a renewal payment by:

  • Mailing a cheque and your renewal notice to: City of Kitchener, 200 King St. W., Kitchener, ON, N2G 4G7; or
  • Visiting our city clerk's office, located on the second floor of Kitchener City Hall. Office hours are Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. We accept cash, cheque and debit card.


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