Show/Hide

Maintenance Notice: As of 9:00 AM, Tuesday, October 22, the City of Medicine Hat website will not be updated until Friday, October 25 (estimated). For important updates and news, please visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Commercial-based businesses

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
Related info

Starting a business

Building a commercial space

Cannabis retail stores

Child care businesses

Home-based businesses

 Change of tenancy

Other business approvals

icon_beforeopening

Plan ahead for a great start

2-3 weeks before you intend to open your commercial or industrial based business, it is strongly recommended that you discuss your plans with staff at Planning & Development Services. 

Before making a long-term commitment to a business space, it is important to know if you will be allowed to operate at your desired location, the safety concerns that must be addressed, and the permits/approvals you will need. Skipping over steps or making assumptions could be costly and/or may delay the opening of your business.

Mobile businesses are still required to have a base location, whether it be commercial-based or home-based.

If you hold a Provincial License with the Province of Alberta you still must have a business license from the City of Medicine Hat in order to conduct your business legally inside the corporate limits of Medicine Hat.

Understanding the six steps below will help you to give your business have a superb start. Remember, we are here to help! Contact:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E6
Ph. 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca

 


What is a land use approval?

A land use approval is The City’s authorization for a particular activity to occur at a given location. Each property within the city of Medicine Hat has a land use district assigned to it, and this land use district controls the allowable uses.
To view the allowable uses within a particular land use district, visit Zoning and land use.

A development permit or change of tenancy is always required when opening a business. Details examined by City Planning staff are parking requirements, whether the business type (land use) is permitted or discretionary, whether circulation of the application to stakeholders is necessary.
For more information, visit Development permits.

A change of use is required if, for example, a business is moving into a new space or operates in a different way than the last business that occupied the space. It is also required if a proposed business is intensifying or expanding operations from the previous approval (e.g. a restaurant is expanding its public area).

The City's Planning staff will help you through these approvals. They will take into consideration the land use district, your proposed business activities and historical approvals for the address.

A permit fee is payable when the permit is approved and issued. Therefore, applicants will typically pay in person at the counter of Planning & Development Services. The City accepts payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). See Fee schedule.

Contact:
Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca



If you wish to have new signs installed, sign permits are required. If you are changing an existing sign to a different type of sign, a sign permit is required. Or, if you are changing the size of an existing sign, a sign permit is required. This is to ensure that the size, height, type of sign(s) and lighting is within appropriate guidelines and regulations, and does not have a negative impact on neighbours, motorists or the community.

For more information about commercial signs, visit Signs.

The City's Planning staff will help you through sign approvals. Prepare your ideas/plans for your proposed signs and contact:

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca



If any renovations are required on the location 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. For more information, visit Building permits.

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.

NOTE:  Alberta Building Code requirements in a commercial space are different than for residential spaces. A business license cannot be issued for a space that does not satisfy the requirements of the Alberta Building Code. For more information, visit Building a commercial space.

The City's Safety Codes staff will help with obtaining your building permit. Prepare your ideas/plans and contact:

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca



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, visit Trade permits.

The City's Safety Codes staff assist licensed contractors in obtaining required trades permits. Contact:

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca



Occupancy:
The use, or intended use of a space, as defined by the Alberta Building Code.

Occupant load: The number of people who may occupy a space, calculated as both Design Occupant Load and Operational Occupant Load, outlined in the Alberta Building Code and Alberta Fire Code, respectively.

Due to the safety regulations referenced above, before you open your business, an occupancy permit is an absolute requirement if:

  Renovations are a part of your plans (ie: a building permit is required), or

  There will be a change in the type of occupancy (a take-out restaurant is to be converted to include seating for diners.)

The City's Safety Codes staff will help with obtaining your occupancy permit. Prepare your ideas/plans and contact:

Planning & Development Services
2nd floor, Medicine Hat City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca

icon_PDFOccupancy Permit Application Form



Once all of the above five steps are complete, you will need 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.

icon_PDFBusiness license application

A City of Medicine Hat business license expires after one year, and renewal invoices are mailed to licensed businesses 30 days before the renewal is due.

Business license payment: Fees vary depending on the type of commercial-based business. See Fee schedule.

Once your business license has been approved, The City accepts in-person payments in cash, cheques and debit (not credit cards). If paying by mail, send a cheque and include a notification indicating what the payment is for (e.g. copy of your renewal notice or your customer number).

The staff at Planning & Development Services will help you obtain your business license. Contact:

Planning & Development Services
Second floor, City Hall
580 1st Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB  T1A 8E6
Phone 403.529.8374
pbe@medicinehat.ca

 

If you plan to change your business location, and you already have a business license, you must notify Planning & Development Services before the move occurs (no charge).

If you close or sell 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, and potentially, other approvals will also be required.  If your business closes, the business license fee is non-refundable.

NOTE: Changing your address for your utilities account does not automatically change the address associated with your business license.

Other licenses and approvals: Operating certain types of businesses means it is necessary to have other license types before applying for a City business license. Examples include food service, hair salon, day care facility, auto sales, security business or charitable organization, among many others. For more information, visit Other businesses or occupation approvals.