Occupational Licences and Permits

Occupational Licences and Permits
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If you want to practice your trade or profession in Canada as an entrepreneur, or if you are an employer interested in hiring a tradesperson or professional, you will need to understand what education, standards, licensing or other requirements exist in your field. Remember, it is your responsibility, as a business owner, to obtain all required business licences and permits from all levels of government. Although it can be easy to figure out that you need a liquor licence to operate a nightclub, it can be difficult to assess that you need a Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada’s (SOCAN) licence to play music protected by copyright.

The permits and licences overview that we have prepared for you can help you find out which permits are required and how to obtain them.

What happens if you neglect to obtain a permit or licence?

Depending on the violation, you may receive a warning or a fine. Some more serious outcomes may include having to settle in court or having to move or close your business.

What if you were not aware of the requirement?

Telling an official that you were not aware or were not advised of the need to obtain a certain permit will not suffice. You are responsible for seeking out and complying with all business regulations. Try the permits and licences overview today and see what other obligations and regulations may affect your business.

General Information on Regulated Professions and Trades

There are certain factors to consider for the evaluation and recognition of your qualifications, when you pursue your career. Professions and trades in Canada are either regulated or non-regulated and, sometimes, it is not easy to decipher which area your occupation falls into.

Regulated Professions and Trades

A regulated occupation is one that is governed by a provincial, territorial or sometimes federal authority (for example: veterinarians, electricians and plumbers). Certain entry requirements and standards of practice are used to assess your qualifications and certify, register or license you as a qualified applicant. For a regulated occupation, you must have a licence, certificate or be registered with the regulatory body, before you start practicing your trade or profession. Approximately 20% of professions or trades are regulated in Canada.

Red Seal Trades

Some trades are recognized as Red Seal trades. These are specific trades for which some provinces and territories have jointly agreed on specific standards. In such trades, you can work in various provinces or territories without having to write examinations or get further certification. You would need to check each trade individually, as not all provinces have the Red Seal designation for each trade.

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program was established more than 50 years ago to provide greater mobility across Canada for skilled workers. Today it represents a standard of excellence for industry. Through the Program, tradespersons are able to obtain a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial certificates by successfully completing an interprovincial Red Seal examination. The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program acknowledges their competence and ensures recognition of their certification throughout Canada without further examination.

The Red Seal Program is recognized as the interprovincial standard of excellence in the skilled trades

Non-Regulated Professions

A non-regulated profession does not require that you have a licence, certificate or registration before you practise (for example, engineering technician or commercial planner). Most occupations fall into this category. Some occupations allow you to register with a professional body or association on a voluntary basis.


Find out what are the requirements for practicing a specific trade or profession in Canada. This information will be useful to entrepreneurs who want to start a business in a specific trade or profession, or employers wishing to hire professionals or trades people.

Content Category

(The number in brackets shows the quantity of results connected to the category.)

Business and professional services (827)

  • Gaming, entertainment or recreation, including special events (263)
  • Personal services (esthetic, massage, child care, dentistry, cleaning) (175)
  • Passenger transportation services (taxi, bus, rail) (155)
  • Lodging or accommodation (rentals, retirement homes, hotels, B&Bs, trailer camps) (56)
  • Equipment, furniture or vehicle leasing, repair, or maintenance (49)
  • Transport, delivery or storage of goods (freight, courier, warehousing) (39)
  • Financial, insurance or real estate services (24)
  • Photography, film, computer, graphic design or similar services (21)
  • Private training or education (vocational schools, driver instruction, etc.) (19)
  • Security services (13)

Construction, development and zoning (667)

  • Constructing, renovating, demolishing or moving buildings (234)
  • Development, including environmental assessments and zoning (152)
  • Changing building occupancy or building use (77)
  • Erecting temporary structures (tents, trailers, hoardings) (60)
  • Road and highway access, entrances, allowances (54)
  • Excavation, grading and soil removal (44)
  • Constructing roads or railways, including road cuts (43)

Serving, selling, exporting, importing (449)

  • Serving or selling food or alcohol (178)
  • Selling retail or wholesale goods (other than food) (148)
  • Selling used or second-hand goods (81)
  • Selling tobacco (retail or wholesale) (28)
  • Exporting or importing goods, animals or plants (14)

Starting or managing a business (general) (361)

  • Licencing or certifying an individual to perform a trade or profession (173)
  • Signs, billboards and other advertising (121)
  • Obtaining tax certificates, exemptions, or other special taxation status (23)
  • Registering your business (16)
  • Home-based business (8)
  • Recruiting or hiring workers (4)

Electrical, plumbing, heating, pools, etc. (341)

  • Plumbing, water connections, drainage, sewage and septic (252)
  • Swimming pools and hot tubs (53)
  • Heating and air conditioning (16)
  • Electrical installations or changes, including electricity transmission (13)
  • Alarm systems and sprinklers (6)
  • Gas hook-ups and installations (2)

Using roads, sidewalks, and public facilities (247)

  • Closing or obstructing or changing access to a street, road or highway (143)
  • Municipal or city property use, including public halls and parks (33)
  • Parking (30)
  • Obstructing sidewalks (patios, sidewalk sales) (27)

Natural resources (188)

  • Open fires and other burning (68)
  • Mining, quarrying or extracting materials (39)
  • Gas or oil pipelines, processing and storage (30)
  • Bulk Water (27)
  • Forestry and tree-cutting (27)
  • Working on or near Crown Lands, aboriginal lands, or ecological reserves (19)

Farming, fishing, hunting and keeping animals (155)

  • Keeping or breeding dogs, cats or other animals (94)
  • Fishing, hunting or trapping, including game farms and preserves (30)
  • Growing and harvesting plants or crops (21)
  • Breeding and managing livestock, fish, or honeybees (17)

Dangerous goods and waste (111)

  • Handling explosives, fireworks, firearms, pesticides, dangerous substances, etc. (52)
  • Treating or disposing of waste (42)
  • Generating or storing waste (6)
  • Transporting waste or dangerous goods (6)

Vehicles, watercraft and aircraft (91)

  • Owning or operating road vehicles (57)
  • Owning or operating road, off-road or farm vehicles (17)
  • Airport operations and other uses of airport space (7)


The Ontario Occupational Licensing Gateway provides one-window, online access to information and forms related to occupational/business licences.

This information includes provincial licensing services; processes and qualification requirements, organized by specific topics or industry sector; and links to other licensing information. The goal of this gateway is to provide timely and comprehensive information, to improve service delivery, to simplify interactions with government and lower costs for individuals, businesses and government.

The first phase of the Ontario Occupational Licensing Gateway includes licences issued by the Ministry of Consumer Services, Consumer Protection Branch and the Ministry of Consumer Services’ Designated Administrative Authorities. Please select one:

  • Cemetery Licence
  • Collection Agency Licence
  • Theatres and Video Distribution Licence
  • Board of Funeral Services (BoFS)
  • Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)
  • Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
  • Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)
  • Tarion Warranty Corporation (TARION)
  • Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO)
  • Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA)
  • Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing and Kickboxing Licensing

Please stay tuned. We expect to add more licences in the near future.

Please note

Rules, regulations and laws are constantly changing. Every effort is being made to keep this information as current as possible. However, we makes no representation or warranties regarding the completeness and/or accuracy of this information and are not assuming any liability for any claims, losses, or damages arising out of the use of this information.

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