Municipal Permits & Licences

On this page, you’ll find more information on applying for a business license, obtaining building permits for construction and renovations, and other business permits you may need, including signage, patio use, or mobile food vending.

Apply for a Business Licence

Contact: Your municipal hall
Timeline: Varies

Most municipalities require a Business Licence to operate a restaurant. Submit your Business Licence application early in the process. You may apply through your municipal hall or at BC Registry Services’ OneStop.

This application may require approval of your floor plans or construction plans by the following agencies:

  • Health: You may be required to submit building or construction plans approved by an Environmental Health Officer from your health authority. For more information, see the page in this guide on Health Operating Permits.
  • Fire: Safety approval from your local fire department.
  • Municipal: Approval by your municipality for maximum occupancy, structural changes, etc.

Your final Business Licence will not be issued until all construction and inspections are completed.After renovations and inspections are complete, you will receive an occupancy permit or occupant load, indicating the number of people allowed in the establishment. To apply for a Food Primary-Liquor Licence, you must have this occupancy load permit. For more information on applying for a Liquor Licence, see the Liquor Licences page of this guide.


Obtain construction permits

Contact: Your municipal hall
Timeline: Varies

Any structural changes to your building location will require you to apply for a Building Permit. These must be obtained before you start construction work.

These may include permits for:

  • Building: for structural changes to the premises, such as additions, altering the structure’s interior, demolitions, etc.
  • Electrical: installation of new wiring or circuitry, installation of electrical equipment, lights, etc.
  • Plumbing: for installation, additions or alterations to plumbing, water connections, or sewage systems.
  • Gas: for installation or alteration of gas appliances.

If you are unsure whether a permit is required or not, check with your municipal hall.

After construction, inspections are required to ensure the work complies with your permit and local bylaws. These might include a building inspection, an electrical inspection, a plumbing and gas inspection, and a fire safety inspection.


Other municipal or regional permits and requirements

Contact: Your municipal hall, regional district, or BizPaL
Timeline: Varies

You may be required to obtain other municipal permits, depending on your region and the type of business you wish to operate.

These may include (but are not limited to):

  • Street Food Vending: for mobile food vendors.
  • Sidewalk Patio Permit: for outdoor seating or service areas.
  • Development Permit: for site development, external changes to existing buildings or to construct a new building if these works are in a development permit area.
  • Sign Permit: for exterior signage.
  • Heritage Alteration Permit: for work on heritage structures.
  • Grease Interceptor: for separating fats, oils and grease from wastewater to prevent grease from entering the sewer system.
  • Waste Disposal Permit: for disposing of certain types of waste beyond regular household refuse.

For more information, contact your municipality or use BizPaL to generate a list of the permits and licences you may need based on your location.