Business licences

Businesses operating in Waterloo require a license. Determine which type you need and apply online, in person or by mail. Fees vary based on the licence. Average processing time is two to four weeks.

While requirements vary for each type of licence, all must comply with the business licence bylaw, applicable fire and zoning regulations, and provide proof of insurance. Other general conditions:

  • licences are non-transferrable if a business is sold or moves to a new location
  • businesses that require multiple licences must apply for each separately

Licence types

  • Animalsanimals for entertainment, pet shop
  • Business establishments: beauty salon and barber shop, bed and breakfast, dry cleaner and launderette, fair, food shop, general business, group home, home occupation, motor vehicle facility, nightclub, old gold shop, public hall, tobacconist
  • Renovators and contractors: building renovator, drain laying contractor, driveway paving contractor, fencing installation contractor, HVAC contractor, plumbing contractor, pool installation contractor, private property enforcement contractor, private property enforcement officer
  • Food vehicles: food trailer, food truck, refreshment trailer
  • Operators and distributors: donation box operator, flyer distributor, newspaper vending box operator
  • Other: auctioneer, flea market, portable sign lessor, special sales, temporary vendor license on city property, temporary vendor license on private property

If you're not sure what licence type fits your business, contact us at 519-747-8785, TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or 

Apply online

  1. Register or sign in to apply apply for a licence online.
  2. Enter and submit all required permit info.
  3. Pay with credit card (online debit cards not accepted).
  4. If approved, licence will be sent to you within two to four weeks.
  5. If the business license requires a police check, apply for a background check online.

Apply in person or by mail 

1. Download, print and fill out the licence application form(s) that apply to your business (see list below)

2. Bring your complete application to the municipal enforcement counter on first floor of city hall (cash, debit and credit accepted) or mail it to us (along with a cheque or money order to the City of Waterloo) at:

City of Waterloo
ATTN: Municipal Enforcement Services 
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337 STN Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

Application forms (PDF)


Business establishments

Contractors and renovators

Food vehicles

Donation box, flyers and newspaper distribution