Home Business

Before making a commitment to opening your home-based business, it is important to know if you will be allowed to operate your type of business in a home.

Also, safety concerns must be addressed, and you must have a City business license.

Be sure to apply for City approvals at least two weeks before you want to open for business.

A guide to getting started
 
Home occupation permit

All home-based businesses require land use approval, which is obtained through a home occupation Development Permit. It's needed because home occupations may cause disturbances to neighbours and/or negatively impact the neighbourhood.

A Planning and Development Officer will talk to you about the type of home-base business you intend to open. Things like parking, having customers on site and material storage will be checked, to make sure there are no issues with safety or disruption.

They will also determine if your home business is considered Major or Minor:

  • Minor Home Occupation: Floor area for the business is 10m2 (107.6 sq.ft.) or less. Examples under this classification are desk and telephone occupations, web-based business or a consultant's office, with no customer visits
  • Major Home Occupation: Floor area for the business is over 10m2 but under 30m2. (107.6 sq. ft. to 322.9 sq.ft.) Examples under this classification are hairdressers, music teachers, with some customer visits

Not allowed as home businesses

Certain types of businesses are not allowed to operate as home-based businesses in Medicine Hat:

  • Businesses using a floor area more than 30m2 (322.9 sq.ft.)
  • Having both customers and associates (partner or employee) on the site of the home-based business
  • Any vehicle associated with the business which has a gross vehicle weight in excess of 6500 kg., parked at or near the home
  • Adult establishments
  • Animal kennels or breeding
  • Automotive uses (including automotive repairs or sales, auto body work, vehicle painting, or equipment storage or cleaning)
  • Cannabis operations (including cannabis production or distribution, cannabis store or lounge)
  • Escort services
  • Industrial uses (including sheet metal work, welding, upholstery work, carpentry or cabinet making)
  • Liquor-related operations
  • Retail uses
  • Supervised consumption sites

How to apply

Home occupation permit application is included in the general business license application.

Business License Application


Apply in person

Complete the form below and visit City Planning at City Hall. After your application is received and processed, you will be notified of the application fee.

Home Occupation Permit Application  Fees and Charges


Payment methods

Online or phone

Visa or Mastercard

In-person

  • Debit

  • Cash

  • Cheque

  • Visa or Mastercard

Mail

Cheque

Renovations

If any renovations are required in your home in which the business will open, a Building Permit is needed before the work is done. Building Permit applications are reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code by a Safety Codes Officer to ensure that our built environment is safe.

Any construction, repair, demolition or alterations to a building or structure requires a Building Permit. If the only changes are cosmetic (e.g. painting, flooring, cabinetry), then a Building Permit is not required.

Building Permits


Trades work

If any intended renovations include changes to gas, electrical, plumbing, heating or cooling systems in your proposed location, you will require trades permits. To ensure compliance with all regulatory safety policies, these permits are issued only to qualified professionals who are licensed by the City of Medicine Hat.

Trade Permits


Inspections

Having your plans reviewed, and work inspected by a Safety Codes Officer will ensure that minimum standards of safety are met. This will help protect you, your customers and staff, and the value of your property.

Inspections

Business License

Once all of the above steps are complete, you can apply for a Business License. Anyone involved in business activities within the City of Medicine Hat requires a Business License. Once you receive your Business License, it must be prominently displayed in your place of business.

Business License Application

After your application is received and processed, you will be notified of the application fee.

Fees and Charges


Payment methods

Online or phone

Visa or Mastercard

In-person

  • Debit

  • Cash

  • Cheque

  • Visa or Mastercard

Mail

Cheque

Signs which advertise businesses visible from outside your home are not allowed in residential areas. Please see the Land Use Bylaw for details.

Operating a day home

The rules for a Day Home (child care within a home) are different than those for a Day Care Facility.

  • A Day Home must be located in a home within Medicine Hat.
  • "Day home" is only applicable for care of six or less children, including operator's own children who reside in the home.
  • All children must be under 13 years old, or under 15 years old if the child has special needs.
  • Police information check is required. 
  • An inspection by Alberta Health Services is required. 
  • Provincial licensing is not required.
  • City of Medicine Hat Business License is not required.
  • Development Permit is not required in Medicine Hat.
  • If the dwelling is rented or in a condominium, the operator is likely obligated to ask permission of the landlord or condominium association before opening a day home. Check your tenancy agreement and/or condo bylaws.

Operating a home-based food business

Home-based food businesses may include catering, preserves, specialty cakes and other desserts, personal chef, etc. As well as following the steps above, it is necessary to obtain approval from Alberta Health Services to ensure that food-safe measures are established.

Landlord permission

If you rent your home, you must provide written authorization from the land owner in order to apply for a Home Occupation Permit to open a home-based business.

Land Owner Consent Form


Condo permission

If you live in a condominium, you must provide a letter of authorization from an authorized agent of your condominium association in order to apply for a Home Occupation to open a home-based business.

The letter must include:
  •  Your name (tenant or condo owner)
  • Date
  • Address of property
  • Business name
  • Description of business activity
  • Name of: Landlord, Landlord's authorized agent OR authorized agent of the condominium association, whichever is relevant.

Moving

If you are moving your home-based business to another home, you must apply for another home occupation Development Permit. Your first approval does not "follow" you, since there may be new or additional concerns regarding safety, parking or disruptions to neighbours.

For City records, it is important that your home-based business show your new address. When you submit your application for a new home occupation development permit, you will be asked to complete a business license form indicating the new address, at no additional fee.


Closing

Notify Planning & Development Services so your license file can be closed. If you sell your business, the new owner(s) must apply for a new Business License and home occupation Development Permit. If your business closes, the Business License fee is non-refundable.