Business Licencing

A General Guide to Obtaining Business Licences in the City of Vernon

In most municipalities in the North Okanagan, a Business Licence is required to operate a business within the community. A business is generally defined as "the carrying on of a commercial or industrial undertaking of any kind or the providing of professional, personal or other services for the purpose of profit or gain". A business licence must be held by the owner or operator of a business, and in the case of more than one business premise, a separate business licence is required for each location.

Inter-Community (Mobile) Business Licence
The City of Vernon, along with Armstrong, Coldstream, Enderby, Kelowna, Keremeos, Lake Country, Lumby, Oliver, Osooyos, Peachland, Penticton, Princeton, Regional District of the Central Okanagan, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Spallumcheen, Summerland and District of West Kelowna have formed an agreement to allow contractors and other service providers the opportunity to conduct business in all of these participating jurisdictions under one Inter-Community (Mobile) Business Licence.

Click here to find out more!

Some organizations or businesses may not be required to obtain a business licence. For example, residential premises holding garage or yard sales or agricultural producers who are not conducting any retail sales from the farm.

Non-profit organizations or charitable organizations are required to obtain a business licence if they operate from a premise within the City of Vernon or if they are conducting fund raising campaigns within the city. No fee is charged to a non-profit or charitable organization if the organization can provide the proper Revenue Canada identification.

When opening a business in Vernon, the following considerations should be made:

A business licence is required to operate a business within the City of Vernon.

Any development needed for the business location premises must conform to the Zoning Bylaw, Official Community Plan and/or Land Use Contracts. Contact us to obtain information or copies of these documents. We hope to have more of this information online in the near future.

The application form for a business licence can be found online and may be filled out online, printed and submitted by fax at 549-1535. We will contact you should further inspections or additional information be required. Watch for an online application that may be submitted by e-mail for home based businesses and/or other simple applications in the near future.
Download Business Licence Application Form (70Kb PDF)

For anyone intending to operate a "home based business", please ensure that you have read the home occupation attachments and that you are able to comply. There are three different types of home occupations (Major, Minor and Rural). Your property zoning will determine which type of home occupation you are eligible for. Please contact our Planning, Development & Engineering Services Department at 550-3578 to find out how your property is zoned, and which type of home occupation you are eligible for.

Home Based Business, Minor (65Kb PDF)
Home Based Business, Major (132 Kb PDF)
Home Based Business, Rural (75Kb PDF)

For more information concerning the application process for permits, licences and zoning please contact the Planning, Development & Engineering Services Department at City Hall or by phone at 550-3585.

When applying for a business licence, these considerations should be addressed prior to the leasing or purchasing of property for a business.

Please contact the Planning, Development & Engineering Services Department staff to ensure that the commercial property is appropriate for the business you are planning. Staff will verify that the Zoning District in which the property is situated will allow the particular business type, that appropriate parking is available on site (if required by Zoning), and they may bring to your attention any requirements for landscaping etc. The Staff may also advise whether the potential business location is in a Development Permit or Design regulated area, such as Downtown Vernon and the 27th Street corridor, so that you are fully aware of any regulations regarding signage, new construction or exterior renovations.

Depending on the nature of the business, approvals from the Fire Inspector, Building Inspector or the Environmental Health Officer may be necessary prior to approval of the Business Licence. There are no costs related to these inspections if associated with a business licence application. Inspections should be conducted prior to a purchase or lease so that an applicant will be aware of any costs associated with requirements under the Fire, Building or Health codes.

General Procedure for Applying for a Business Licence:

1. An application form must be completed and submitted to the City by the owner or operator or by an agent appointed by the owner of the potential business. Check with our business licencing staff @ 550-3585, as to the current rates for business licences in the community or view the Business Licence Bylaw #5480.  As of March 13, 2013, there will be a non-refundable application fee for all  business licence applications.

2. The potential location will be confirmed as conforming to the Zoning and Official Community Plan requirements and any necessary inspections will be arranged.

3. The Inspectors will check the premises and endorse the application if or when all requirements are met. The Business Licence Inspector is the final endorsement required.

4. The business licence will be issued upon payment of the fee and must be displayed in a prominent place on the premises. For mobile services, a copy of the licence should be carried in the equipment/vehicle or with the individual, at all times, when engaging in business activities.


Contact Info
General Inquiries: 250-545-1361
Fax: 250-549-1535 or 250-545-7876
Cornelius Martens
Manager, Buildings & Bylaws:
Terralynn Muska
Business Licence Inspector

RDNO Greater Vernon Water Coldstream City of Vernon, BC City of Vernon, BC