Frequently Asked Questions

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Business Licenses
We hope the information below helps to answer your business licensing questions. If you don't find the answer here, or you need further information, please call 403.529.8374 or 403.529.8135

Q: Do I require a Business License?
A: If you do business within the Corporate Limits of the City of Medicine Hat and make a profit, YES, you require a business License. Please note: Without a valid business license, contractors are NOT able to obtain construction permits.

Q: How do I apply for a Business License?

A: Our Business License application form is available at City Hall on the second floor or for download here: Business License Application or Home Occupation Development Permit.

Q: What happens if a business moves or changes location?

A: If your business moves, changes locations or goes out of business, you are required to notify the City of any changes at the time of the change, in writing. Before you commit to a location for your business, check with The City of Medicine Hat Planning and Development Services Department to determine if your type of business activity is permitted in a specific location.

Q: I just purchased this business. Can I use the business license from the previous owner?

A: No. A business license must be transferred or assigned. As a new owner, you need to apply for a new business license in your name. We require proof of transfer of ownership, a bill of sale is the most common form. The bill of sale should include the names of buyers and sellers and the business description.

Q: Do I require an authorization letter from my Landlord?

A: Yes, An authorization letter from the Landlord or Landlords Agent is required for a tenant to run a home occupation. The letter should state; description of the business activity, rental address, contact information for the Landlord, owner or agent, the tenants name, and the business name at a minimum. Sign and date the letter.

Q: What bylaws apply to licensing?

A: There are five bylaws pertaining to the licensing of businesses in Medicine Hat: 

Q: What must I do in order to obtain a License?

A: Every type of License requires certain inspections and/or approvals to be completed. All businesses occupying a premises require Use Approval from Development & Building Approvals under the Land Use Bylaw; inspections by the Fire Department; and possibly inspections by Alberta Health Services.

Home-based businesses are not subject to a fire inspection, but need approval from Development & Building Approvals. 

Many types of Licenses require the owners of the business (and in some cases, the directors of a corporation), to submit a Medicine Hat Police Services background check, while others may need provincial approval from such agencies as the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission, and the Alberta Government Services - Consumer Services Division.

Q: How long does it take to get a License?

A: The average time for a Business License to be approved is approximately 2-3 business days. But you will require Land Use Approval and a possible Occupancy Approval which can take 2 -3 weeks to process prior to applying for your business license. Exceptions do occur, for example if the development permit application is required to go through the Municipal Planning Committee first before it is approved.

Q: How or when do I renew my License?

A: The City of Medicine Hat Business License renews each year by the anniversary date of the original application. Renewal invoices are automatically generated for your business and are mailed out to the address on file. The License renewal is mailed out 30 days before the fee is due.. If you fail to pay by this date a ticket may be issued.

Q: How much is a Medicine Hat Business License?

A: Please see our schedules of Fees

Q: How do I pay for my License?
A: Business Licenses can be paid through your bank or by cash, Cheque or debit at City Hall located at 580 First Street S.E. Or you may mail your payment to the City of Medicine Hat at:

Planning & Development Services
City of Medicine Hat
580 First Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8E6

Please quote your customer number in the memo field of your cheque or include a copy of your renewal invoice. Do not send cash in the mail.

Q: Do I need a permit for a sign? 
A: Yes, permits for signs are issued by Development & Building Approvals. Information can be obtained by phoning 403-529-8374.

Q: What if I have a provincial License? Do I still require a City License?

A: Even if you hold a Provincial License with the Province of Alberta you still require to hold a local license from the City of Medicine Hat in order to conduct your business legally inside the corporate limits of Medicine Hat.

Q: I am a sub contractor doing work for another contractor does their license cover me?

A: No, their license does not cover your activity in the City, you are required to take out your own license in your name.

Q: What happens if I close or sell the business? 

A: If you sell your business, the new owners must apply for a business License and new approvals may have to be obtained. If you close or sell your business, please notify the Business License Assistant in Planning & Development Services (403-529-8374) promptly so your License file can be closed.

Q: Should I register my trade name?

A: You are not required to register your trade name to obtain a business License. For information on trade name registration contact a private registry office or consult a lawyer.

Q: Am I required to incorporate?

A: You are not required to incorporate to obtain a business License. For more information about incorporation procedures, contact a private registry office or consult a lawyer.

Q: Do I need a business License to undertake charitable fundraising activity?

A: A charitable organization is not required to obtain a City of Medicine Hat business License in order to undertake fundraising activities in Medicine Hat. There are provincial government regulations covering charitable fundraising. For more information contact Service Alberta – Consumer Contact Centre at 1-780-427-4088 or 1-877-427-4088 toll free in Alberta only.

Q: Can a License fee be refunded?
A: No, since the fees are based on the costs of reviewing a License application and issuing a License, once the costs have been incurred there is no basis on which to provide a refund.

Q: If I am a business owner and my business is located within the downtown City Centre Development Area, will my business be subject to a Business Revitalization assessment and tax? 
A: Yes. For more information click on City Centre Development Agency (CCDA)

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