How to Get a Guelph Business Licence

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, accounting, or tax advice. The information contained herein is subject to change and may vary from time to time in your region. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

Guelph, aka The Royal City, is richly steeped in heritage — European and Indigenous — and this is nowhere better seen than in this city’s architecture. Located in Ontario, Guelph is an exciting place to call home and one of the best places you could choose to start your new business.

First Steps to a Business Licence in Guelph

When choosing your new business’s name, the name should be unique.
For instance, if you’re opening a retail clothing store, you can have “clothing store” in the name if you want, but it needs something a bit more distinctive, like Guelph Clothing Company.

Your business name can’t be in use by any other business — there can’t even be a business with a similar name.

Some tools you can use to conduct a business name search include the Canada Business Registry and NUANS. You can also hire a private company to perform the search for you, but note that these companies charge a fee for their service.

Obtaining a business licence in Guelph requires licensing your business with the province in accordance with Ontario’s Business Name Act. Businesses that must register according to this Act include:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Existing partnerships registering a business name that’s not the same as their current business name
  • LLPs, or limited liability partnerships
  • LLCs, or limited liability companies

You’ll find a list of everything you’ll need to register a business name in the Ontario province on the Ontario official website. If you prefer, you can also hire Ontario Business Central to help register your business in the province.

Depending on the type of business you operate, you may also need a trade licence or a professional permit and licence. You obtain these specialized permits through the City of Guelph website.

Finally, register your business with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to get a business number. You’ll need your business number when applying for your Guelph business licence.

This is a handy website for brand new business owners in the Guelph area.

Applying for a Guelph Business Licence

Before you apply for your business licence in Guelph:

  • Check the location where you plan to conduct business. You’ll need to call the Zoning Department to find out if that location is zoned for the type of business you’re proposing. The Zoning Department can be reached at 519.837.5615.

  • Review the business types allowed in Guelph. You can search these rules in the Guelph City Bylaws. The bylaws offer pertinent information regarding business types and the rules that apply to every kind of business.

  • Review business categories. Each business category has its own applications and fees. When you apply, a representative from the Guelph licensing department will reach out to you with your specific fee information.

  • Depending on your business, you may need your premises inspected. If this is the case, you will need to ensure all inspections get completed before the due date and that each inspection is approved within the 90-day application window.

Merely submitting your application doesn’t grant you the right to conduct business. Your licence must be approved and the actual licence issued before resuming or conducting any business.

All fees for licences, permits, and inspections are provided upon contacting the City of Guelph by calling 519-822-1260 extension 2551 or emailing the business licensing department.

The following are useful resources:
Guelph City Business Bylaws
Guelph City User Fees Bylaws

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Tips for Success with a Guelph Small Business

In addition to offering guidelines for applying for a new business licence, the City of Guelph website asks new business owners if they’re ready to start a new business and its many challenges. You can minimize your challenges by making a business plan and finding a solid partner. Ready for an upgrade? Streamline sales and reporting with Square.