Starting a Business

All businesses operating in Medicine Hat are required to have a valid City of Medicine Hat Business License, renewed each year. This also applies to businesses based outside City limits.

The required approvals vary for each business license type, as defined by City bylaws. For more information on specific business types, contact us and we will let you know about your required approvals.

Business License Application

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

Guide to getting started
Consider your location 

When you apply for your Business License, a Planning or Development Officer will take into consideration the land use district, proposed business activities and historical approvals for the address you provide.

Commercial based location

Your business will be run from a commercial or industrial location in Medicine Hat.

Home based location

Your business will be run from your home in Medicine Hat.

Based outside the city

Your business is based outside Medicine Hat, but you will be conducting business within the city.


Your business will operate on a mobile basis, such as a food truck. Mobile businesses are still required to have a base location, whether it be home-based or commercial-based.


Your business location is required for land use approval in order to operate. The permits required will depend on the space you are proposing to operate from, as well as the type of business activity. You may require a combination of permits for the for your license approval.

The City reviews a number of variables to determine which application type you require for land use approval:

  • Whether the use is listed as permitted or discretionary within the land use district
  • If the parking requirements are changing
  • If the business is proposing alterations or renovations to the space
  • If the activity change requires a Safety Codes review
Determine ownership type
Regarding the ownership of your business, is it a:
  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
Consider details

Conveying the details of how you want to run your business is an important step in to determine license and permit requirements.

Part of your Business License fee is determined by the type of business. When you apply, the Business License application will explore these relevant details. Some examples would be:

  • What type of equipment, vehicles and/or supplies will be stored on site?
  • Are you taking over an existing business space and plan to renovate and/or change the type of business?
  • As a restaurant, do you intend to prohibit minors at any time?
  • As a home-based business, how many client visits to the home per week do you anticipate?
Choose your start date

Apply for City approvals at least two weeks before you want to open for business.

The timeline to obtain approvals can vary significantly depending on the permits and approvals that are required for your business type and location. It may take only a few days, or it may take several weeks.

Business License Application