Home Business

Before committing to opening a home-based business, find out what is allowed.

The steps below will guide through the process of starting a business out of your home.

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

A guide to getting started
 
Conditions for Home Businesses
Land use approval

All Home Businesses require a Development Permit, which is automatically a part of your Business License application. The purpose is to avoid home business activities that may have negative impacts on the neighbourhood.

 

You will be asked about the type of Home Business you intend to open.

To make sure there are no issues with safety or disruption, details such as these will be checked:

  • Parking availability
  • Materials storage
  • Outdoor activities
  • Gross floor area
  • Off-site employees who will work there
  • Number of vehicle visits per week
For more information about Home Business regulations, see the Land Use Bylaw - sections 4.5 (Use Definitions) and 5.28 (Home Businesses):

Land Use Bylaw

 

Home Business, Major

What is a Home Business, Major?

Home Business, Major means the use of a Dwelling, Garage, residential accessory Building or associated Site by one or more occupants thereof for the purpose of conducting a Business, in accordance with the following:

  1. The Home Business, Major is owned by one or more of the occupants carrying on the Home Business, Major;
  2. The Home Business, Major is situated in a District that allows residential uses;
  3. No more than thirty-five (35) Vehicle Visits occur per Week on, about, or in the vicinity of the Site where the Home Business, Major is located;
  4. No signage that is visible from the public realm or an adjacent Site is displayed in relation to the Home Business, Major on the Site where the Home Business, Major is located;
  5. No goods are offered for sale or sold to any person attending on or about the Site where the Home Business, Major is located, unless such goods are incidental and related to the service(s) provided by the Home Business, Major; and
  6. Each Vehicle Visit is by appointment only, which appointment shall be made in advance of such Vehicle Visit.

What is a Vehicle Visit?

Vehicle Visit means a visit by any person, by vehicle, to the location or approximate location of a Home Business or Remote Work use, where such visit is for any purpose connected with that use, but does not include:

  1. A visit by a person employed by the City of Medicine Hat or any other government agency for the purpose of carrying out an inspection in the course of that person's assigned duties; and
  2. A visit, related to the Home Business or Remote Work, by the owner, agent, business supplies courier, or an employee thereof, provided that the frequency and nature of such visits do not, in the opinion of the Development Authority, conflict with or alter the residential character of the area of the District in which the use is located.

Home Business, Minor

What is a Home Business, Minor?

Home Business, Minor means the use of a Dwelling, Garage, residential accessory Building or associated Site by one or more occupants thereof for the purpose of conducting a Business, in accordance with the following:

  1. The Home Business, Minor is owned by one or more of the occupants carrying on the Home Business, Minor;
  2. The Home Business, Minor is situated in a District that allows residential uses;
  3. No more than five (5) Vehicle Visits occur per Week on, about, or in the vicinity of the Site where the Home Business, Minor is located;
  4. No signage that is visible from the public realm or an adjacent Site is displayed in relation to the Home Business, Minor on the Site where the Home Business, Minor is located;
  5. No goods are offered for sale or sold to any person attending on or about the Site where the Home Business, Minor is located, unless such goods are incidental and related to the service(s) provided by the Home Business, Minor; and
  6. Each Vehicle Visit is by appointment only, which appointment shall be made in advance of such Vehicle Visit.

What is a Vehicle Visit?

Vehicle Visit means a visit by any person, by vehicle, to the location or approximate location of a Home Business or Remote Work use, where such visit is for any purpose connected with that use, but does not include:

  1. A visit by a person employed by the City of Medicine Hat or any other government agency for the purpose of carrying out an inspection in the course of that person's assigned duties; and
  2. A visit, related to the Home Business or Remote Work, by the owner, agent, business supplies courier, or an employee thereof, provided that the frequency and nature of such visits do not, in the opinion of the Development Authority, conflict with or alter the residential character of the area of the District in which the use is located.

Not allowed as home businesses

Certain types of businesses are not allowed to operate as home-based businesses:
  • Adult establishments
  • Businesses that are or should be licensed under the Escort Service Bylaw
  • Veterinary services, animal breeding, kennels, boarding, shelters, impoundment or similar services and activities
  • Hospital or similar services and activities
  • Vehicle modification, restoration, repair, servicing, painting, storage or similar services and activities
  • Industrial operations (such as on-site recycling, metal work, welding or similar)
  • Retail and Consumer Services
  • Cannabis Production and Distribution Facility, Cannabis Retail Store, or Cannabis Lounge
  • Supervised Consumption Site
  • Any other use deemed by the Development Authority to be incompatible in a residential district
For more information about Home Business regulations, see section 5.28 in the Land Use Bylaw:

Land Use Bylaw

Renovations and safety
Building Permit

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 City 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.

For more information or to apply, visit:

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.

For more information or to apply, visit:

Trade Permits


Inspection

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.

For more information or to apply, visit:

Inspections

Business License

Once the above steps are complete, you may apply for a business license. Anyone involved in business activities in Medicine Hat, including Home Businesses, requires a business license. Once you receive your business license, it must be prominently displayed in your place of business.

For answers to common questions about business licenses, visit:

Business License

How to apply
Apply online for a business license

Apply online

or:

Apply in person for a business license

Complete both forms below and visit Planning & Development Services in City Hall. After your application is received and processed, you will be notified of the application fee.

Home occupation application Business license application


Payment methods
  • Online or phone
    • Visa or Mastercard
  • In-person
    • Debit
    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • Visa or Mastercard
  • Mail
    • Cheque

To view fees for various types of business licenses, see:

Fees and charges

Signs which advertise businesses visible from outside your home are not allowed in residential areas. Please see the Land Use Bylaw (Section 4.5 - Use Definitions, and Schedule D) for details.

Landlord or condo permission

If you rent your home

You must provide written authorization from the land owner in order to apply to operate a home-based business. This is automatically included in your Business License online application.

Land Owner Consent form

If you live in a condominium

You must provide a letter of authorization from an authorized agent of your condominium association to apply to operate a home-based business. This is automatically included in your Business License online application.

This 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.

Operating a day home

The rules for a Day 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.

Home-based food rules

Moving or closing your business

Relocating your business

If you are moving your Home Business to another home (change of address), there may be new or additional concerns regarding safety, parking or disruptions to new neighbours. A new Development Permit is therefore a part of the process. Your Business License should also show your new address.

Apply for change of address

Closing your business

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. If your business closes, the Business License fee is non-refundable.

Remote work

Working remotely in Medicine Hat is not considered a Home Business, therefore neither a Business License nor a Development Permit are required.

Regulations for remote work

(Summarized from Land Use Bylaw #4168)

  • The remote work must be situated in a District that allows residential uses.
  • The individual doing the remote work must be an occupant of the dwelling.
  • The individual doing the remote work must be working for an off-site employer.
  • No vehicle visits (as defined in the Land Use Bylaw) are allowed to the site.
  • No signage which is visible from the public realm is allowed on the site.
  • No goods or services may be offered for sale, nor sold on the site.

For more information about remote work, contact Planning & Development Services.