How to Get a Toronto 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.

Toronto is a bustling metropolis with every type of business imaginable. It’s the capital city of the Ontario province and has a population of over 3 million people, making it the most populated city in the nation. If you’re considering starting a business in Toronto, you’ll have no shortage of customers.

Applying for a Toronto Business Licence

Toronto is a major business hub in Canada, which is great for budding business owners — but it can also be a double-edged sword. While its size and population make for incredible business prospects, it also means getting a Toronto business licence might not be as easy as it is in smaller cities.

Your first step to becoming a licensed business owner in Toronto is registering your business name with the province. To do this, you must submit documents proving the legal structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

As a business owner, you’re considered self-employed, so you must visit the licensing office in person when applying for your licence and any permits required. Be prepared — there’s quite the list of documents you’ll need when applying. The documents you’ll need depend on your new business’s industry.

All applications for Ontario business registration require:

  • A background check made within 280 days of your business registration application
  • Two government-issued documents proving your identity
  • A rental agreement for the space your business will occupy
  • If taking over an established business, the previous owner’s letter of cancellation regarding their business licence

Once this step is completed, you’ll need to ensure you meet zoning approval through the Municipal Licensing & Standards Office. This step isn’t necessary if it’s an established business.

You might wait as long as 8 weeks for processing, and this process requires a fee.

All fees are due at the time of application and can vary significantly based on specific factors.

The City of Toronto partners with BizPal to help streamline your application process.

Square Online

Turn any business into an online business with a free eCommerce website.

Allowed Businesses in Toronto, Ontario

A wide variety of business types are considered permissible in Toronto. From adult entertainment to vapour product retailers and 134 others in between, you’ll find all business licence information on the City of Toronto website.

The typical process for a restaurant application for a business licence in Toronto requires a $245.94 application fee, plus a $274.92 licence fee when your application has been approved and licence granted.

Special Permits for Toronto Business Licences

Certain requirements depend on the type of business you plan to operate. Some industries are much more vigilant than others. For instance, a massage parlour must provide the names and ages of all individuals who will work at the salon, in addition to meeting other more specific criteria.

Fees for Toronto Business Licences

Like permits and special requirements, fees for Toronto business licences depend on the type of business. The application fee for a massage parlour is over $14,000, while a restaurant has a $245.94 application fee and $274.92 licence fee. A taxi service owner application costs nothing. However, a taxi service must pay $1003.84 for its licence, plus $31.33 into an accessibility fund.

Tips for Success in Your Toronto Business

Starting a business can be daunting, thrilling, overwhelming, and wonderfully fulfilling all in one day. Creating a business plan and using your Square account tools can help you with everything from staying on top of inventory to streamlining your sales and much more.