Apply for a business licence

Your licence application may require an inspection and approval by staff of zoning, buildings, police, health, fire and property standards. The Business Licensing Centre will coordinate this process and advise you of your status.

What permits or licences do I need?

You may require a municipal business license if you are planning to operate a business in Ottawa. Use BizPal to find information on business permits and licenses from all levels of government.

Business licence application form

How long must I wait before my licence is issued?

The review process varies based on the approvals that are required. In most cases, licences can be issued within six weeks of receiving the application; some licences are even issued within minutes. However, you may experience a delay if you did not submit enough information or if you failed to meet some of the licensing requirements.

Will I have to renew my licence each year?

Most licences have an annual expiry date. You will be notified by mail of your approaching expiry date. Upon notification, you should promptly renew your licence to avoid a late fee.

For more information contact:

  • Call: 3-1-1 

Are you planning to open a restaurant, bakery, café, butcher shop or another type of food establishment? The City of Ottawa has resources to assist business owners who are starting to plan and operate a new food establishment, including the Business Ambassador Service and the online Food Premises Application tool available on My ServiceOttawa.