The Municipal Licensing & Standards Division, Licensing Services issues licences and monitors vehicles, stationary businesses and trades to ensure they follow all applicable municipal by-laws. If you plan to open or to conduct most or part of your business in the Toronto area, you may be required to obtain a business licence. Some trades or professions must meet certain qualifications by means of verbal or written examination, waiting periods, etc.
The Business and Trades Unit issues licences to the following types of stationary businesses and trades. Issuance of Business Licences is governed by the Licensing Chapter 545 of the City of Toronto Municipal Code. Licensing Services issues licences to the following types of businesses and trades:
- accident report centres
- adult entertainment parlours
- automobile body repairs
- bake shops
- barber and hairdressing shops
- bill distributors
- billiard halls
- body rub parlours and attendants
- bowling alleys
- butcher shops
- car wash
- carnivals and circuses
- coin-operated laundries
- convenience and variety stores
- drug stores
- entertainment establishments/nightclubs
- grocery, fruit or fish markets
- holistic centres and practitioners
- movie theatres and public halls
- parking lots
- pawnbrokers and old gold dealers
- pet shops
- places of amusement
- public bath houses
- public garages and gas stations (including new and used motorized vehicle dealerships)
- salvage yards
- sign painters
- second hand shops
Any premise where food is stored, prepared, or sold for human consumption, on or off the premises, must be licenced:
- coffee shops
- burger shops
- donut shops
- fish and chips stores
- pizza parlours
Trades and other professions
- building renovators
- drain contractors
- hawkers and pedlars.
- scrap collectors
If you do not see your business listed above, please contact the Municipal Licensing & Standards, Licensing Services Information Line at 416-392-6700.Municipal Licensing and Standards Licence Application and Renewal
- East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenue, Third Floor, Toronto, ON M4C 5R1
- Information line: 416-392-6700
- Fax number: 416-392-3196
Please make your application in person. To help process your application more quickly, please bring all required documents with you. It is a good idea to read Licensing Requirements Guide
If the Business & Trades Unit denies a licence to a business, they will send a notice to the applicant outlining the grounds for the denial and an appeal process. The applicant then may request a hearing of the application for a licence at the Toronto Licensing Tribunal (http://www.toronto.ca/licensing-tribunal/index.htm ).
Businesses who operate without a licence but require one, are subject to charges under applicable City of Toronto bylaws.
Before applying for a licence, please check if your proposed business is permitted in the Zoning Bylaw. The licence cannot be issued to a business that contravenes the Bylaw. For zoning information, contact the local Toronto Building Customer Service office.
Public garages, restaurants, adult entertainment parlours, body rub establishments, holistic centres, and entertainment establishments/night clubs will require a mandatory Preliminary Project Review (PPR). Other business licences may also require a PPR. Further information will be provided at the time of application.
Resources: Types of Stationary Businesses Requiring a Licence in Toronto http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/bto_licensing.htm Types of stationary businesses requiring a licence http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/bto_licensing.htm#stationary Qualifications and examinations http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/bto_licensing.htm#qualifications Business licence application and renewal fees http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/business_licensing_fees.htm Opening a new business? http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/bto_licensing.htm#tips Do you need a permit? http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/bto_licensing.htm#permit Taxis and vehicular businesses http://www.toronto.ca/licensing/mobile_business.htm Toronto Licensing Tribunal http://www.toronto.ca/licensing-tribunal/index.htm
Want to open a barbershop?
Toronto Municipal by-law: Chapter 545 – Licensing
Several trades, businesses and occupations in the City of Toronto require a licence in order to operate. For information on how to obtain a licence or whether you require a licence for a certain trade, business or occupation contact Licensing Services. Investigation Services is responsible for the enforcement of most licensing requirements, which includes but is not limited to:
- Stationary Businesses
- Adult entertainment parlours
- Barbers and hairdressers
- Car washes
- Dry cleaners
- Pet shops
- Public garages
If you have any questions or would like to report a violation stationary business, contact your District Office and an Officer will investigate the complaint.
Investigation Services also deals with the enforcement of mobile (non-stationary) business licences, which includes but is not limited to:
- Mobile Businesses
- Pedi cabs
- Tow trucks
- Hot dog and refreshment carts
- Driving schools
The City of Toronto and the former municipalities that make up the amalgamated City have passed more than 180,000 by-laws. The Toronto Municipal Code is a compilation of by-laws organized by subject. Each chapter is a by-law. For example, Chapter 591 – Noise; or, Chapter 447 – Fences. The Chapters from Toronto Municipal Code are enforced by officers from the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division Investigation Services.
If you have any questions or would like to report a violation of a mobile business, contact the Licensing Enforcement Unit and an Officer will investigate the complaint.