Home-based businesses

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icon_beforeopeningPlan ahead for a great start

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

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. Skipping over steps or making assumptions could be costly and/or may delay the opening of your business.

 

IMPORTANT TERMS:

Home Occupation: The use of a dwelling, garage or shed within Medicine Hat by the occupant of that dwelling for a business, trade or profession.

Mobile businesses (such as food trucks or food carts) are still required to have a base location, whether it be home-based or commercial-based.

Provincial License indicates a license issued by the Province of Alberta for a specific profession or occupation. In most cases, you must still 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 steps below will help you get your business off to a great start; and 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

 


WHY DO I NEED THIS?

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.

FACTS WE WILL LOOK AT:

A 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 looked at, to make sure there are no issues with safety or disruption.

The Development Officer will also determine if your home business is considered Major or Minor. There are several regulatory guidelines, including:

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.

 

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

NOT ALLOWED AS HOME-BASED:

  Floor area usage over 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.

Why does it take a few weeks to get approval?

All home occupations are considered a discretionary use in the Land Use Bylaw (PDF). Therefore, the City must post approved development permits in the local newspaper (notice published once). This allows the opportunity for nearby property owners, or others who feel they are affected by the decision, to file an appeal. Appeals must be filed within 21 days of the publication date. Approved development permits are also posted on the City's website.

Anyone can view recently approved development permits in the Public Notices advertisement in any Saturday edition of the Medicine Hat News or by visiting Public Notices on the City's website.

HOW TO APPLY for a home occupation development permit

You can print the application form, complete it and visit Planning & Development Services. Or just drop by and we will assist you.

icon_PDFHome occupation application form

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

For more information, visit Development permits.



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

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 Trades 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 the value of your property.

The City's Safety Codes staff will help with obtaining your building permit and trades permits. 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



Once the above steps are complete, you will need a business license. Anyone involved in business activities within the City of Medicine Hat requires a business license.

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.

NOTE: If your home-based business license expires, you must re-apply for a home occupation development permit. If you renew your business license by the due date, there is no need to re-apply for a home occupation development permit.

Business license payment: Fees vary depending on the type of home-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 close or sell your home-based 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 home occupation development permit.  If your business closes, the business license fee is non-refundable.

For more information, visit Business license answers.

 



If you rent your home,
you must provide a letter of authorization  from the Landlord or Landlord's agent in order to apply for a Home Occupation Permit (see above) to open a home-based business in a rented residential space.

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 Permit (see above) to open a home based business in a condominium residence.

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.



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 dwelling 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 (i.e. disability)

  Police information check is required. See Other business approvals.

  An inspection by Alberta Health Services is required. See Other business approvals.

  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.



No signs which are visible from outside the dwelling are allowed for home-based businesses in Medicine Hat.



New approval permit

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. See Home occupation permit, above.

 

Change the address on your business license (no charge)

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 (no fee).

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

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

 

Renovation work

If any renovations are required on your new home in which the business will be based, a building permit and trades permits will likely be needed before the work is done. These permit applications are reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code by Safety Codes Officers to ensure that our built environment is safe.  See Building renovations, above.



If the nature of your home business intensifies (for example: there will be more customers or increased parking requirements, you wish to add services, etc.) then you must re-apply for a home occupation development permit. See Home occupation permit, above.