Business Licence FAQs


  1. Do I require a Business Licence?

    If you carry out business within the City of Courtenay municipal boundaries, you are required to have a valid City of Courtenay Business Licence. Business Licence Bylaw No. 2523 [PDF - 1 MB]

  2. Why does the City of Courtenay require Business Licences?

    The primary purpose for the requirement of a Business Licence is to ensure that the City's municipal land use regulations, building and fire codes, health regulations, and all other relevant community safety requirements are adhered to by businesses. 

  3. Are there consequences for operating a business without a valid Business Licence in Courtenay?

    Yes, you could be subject to fines of $500.00 per day.

  4. Can I operate a business from my residence?

    Yes, certain types of businesses are permitted to operate from your home, with some restrictions, pursuant to the Zoning Bylaw. In order to minimize disturbances to surrounding residential properties zoning restricts the type of business activities, the size of area used, parking requirements, and storage impacts.  Retail use and personal service uses are specifically excluded as home-based businesses.

  5. What are the fees for a Business Licence?

    Business Licence fees are defined in Schedule 'A' of Business Licence Bylaw No. 2523 [PDF - 38 KB].  The fee to participate in the Inter-Community Business Licence (ICBL) Program is an additional $150.00 annually, allowing a mobile business to conduct business in any of the 12 participating municipalities. Please note that payment is due at issuance; once your application has been entered into our system, an invoice with payment instructions will then be generated and sent to you. Once you have received an invoice with an account number, please refer to our Business Licence - Payment Guide.pdf [PDF - 283 KB] for making payments.

  6. How do I obtain a Business Licence?

    A Business Licence application form can be obtained online on our website. Once completed, please submit to or through our drop-slot located outside of City Hall, at 830 Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay. Please note that payment is due at issuance (not at the application stage); once your application has been entered into our system, an invoice with payment instructions will then be generated and sent to you.

  7. How long does it take to get a Business Licence?

    The processing time for a Business Licence application varies based on the type of licence and approvals required. Typically, a standard Business Licence is issued within seven to ten working days, but may take longer depending on the nature of the business activity. Business Licences with commercial locations should expect a two to three week processing time. Business Licence Staff will review your application, ensure it is complete, forward it to the appropriate agencies for the necessary approvals, and can advise you of the status of your application at any time during the process.  Upon receipt of the required approvals, Business Licence Staff will approve and issue the Business Licence, sending it to you by mail.

  8. How long is a Business Licence valid?

    Business Licences are issued for a calendar year - January 1 to December 31.

  9. How do I renew my Business Licence?

    If you have an active business licence, a renewal notice will automatically be mailed out mid-late January to all businesses that possess a current City of Courtenay business licence. If a licence is not obtained by the renewal due date of February 29, a late payment fee calculated at 25%, for those licences paid on or after March 1, or 50%, for those licences paid on or after June 1, of the annual licence fee will be charged. For detailed payment instructions please see our Business Licence - Payment Guide.pdf [PDF - 283 KB]. Once payment has been processed your business licence will be mailed to you. PLEASE NOTE: The City of Courtenay does not accept credit cards at City Hall or over the phone. 

  10. If my business is no longer operating, what do I do?

    You must inform the Business Licence Department in writing by mail or email to to advise that you are no longer operating; otherwise, you will continue to receive renewal notices and show outstanding fees. Please note that any changes to accounts or account closures cannot be completed over the phone.

  11. If I change my business location, what do I need to do?

    You must first apply for a change of location with the Business Licence Department. This process ensures that the new location meets building and zoning requirements. To do so, please submit the standard application form with 'Change of Location' selected, along with the required submissions.

  12. Does my commercial vehicle require an additional permit?

    The Commercial Vehicle Licensing program, administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, is discontinued as of December 31, 2019. If you have questions about the cancellation of this program, please contact Financial Services at 250-334-4441 or email

  13. What are the regulations and guidelines for Retail Cannabis?

    The first step is to apply to the Provincial Government. They will review your application for a store and then forward it to the City of Courtenay to respond once they have determined whether your application submissions meets their criteria. Please visit the Province of British Columbia Cannabis Regulation webpage.

    Once the application from the province is received by the City, then you would be required to rezone any property where the retail store would be located. Please visit the City of Courtenay Recreational Cannabis webpage.

    Stores should only be considered if they meet the School and Playground Buffers [PDF - 6 MB].

  14. Do I require a Shared Occupancy Agreement?

    If you intend to sublease a portion of your building or unit, a shared occupancy agreement may be required. Shared Occupancy Bulletin.pdf [PDF - 183 KB] Shared Occupancy Agreement.pdf [PDF - 140 KB]