A guide to municipal business licences in London
The main goal of any municipal business licence is to protect the health and safety of the public who use the service. It also helps ensure consistency for business owners and customers. The business licensing by-law and other by-laws provide the rules and regulations for each licensed business.
Starting a business
Information about starting a business in London, Ontario, is available from the Service London Business website. There you will be given helpful tips for Planning, Launching, or Growing a Business in London, and get links to some of local partner organizations who can help.
Master Business Licence (Provincial):
If you are looking for information about registering your business in Ontario and getting your "Master Business Licence", visit the Service Ontario website. A Master Business Licence, or Articles of Incorporation, are required before you apply for your Municipal Business Licence.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of business require a licence?
The following are the categories of businesses that require an annual municipal business licence issued by the City of London. For definitions, please see business licensing by-law L.131-16.
- (Adult) Body-rub parlour owners & operators
- (Adult) Live entertainment parlour owners & operators
- Automotive service businesses (body shops, repair, sales)
- Commercial parking lot operators
- Contractors (Drainage, driveway, plumbing, and sign contractors, and pool installers)
- Donation bin business operators
- Door-to-door sales
- Electronic cigarette & tobacco retailers
- Food premises (Restaurants, bars & nightclubs, bakeries, catering, etc.)
- Informal residential care facilities
- Lodging houses
- Payday loan businesses
- Personal service businesses (tattoo, hair, nails, etc.)
- Pet shops
- Public halls (buildings, including tents, which seat over 100 persons)
- Refreshment vehicles (food trucks, carts, etc.)
- Residential rental units
- Seasonal sales businesses (garden centres, produce, fireworks, etc.)
- Second-hand goods businesses and salvage yards (scrap metal, electronics, etc.)
- Tow Truck Business and Impound Yard Storage
- Vehicle for hire (including taxis, limousines, accessible and private vehicles, etc.)
- Vehicle towing & storage businesses (Unsolicited means not called by vehicle owner)
What should I do before I apply for my business licence?
Before signing a lease or purchasing a property, contact a zoning business coordinator in the Business Hub at City Hall.
Business Hub staff can help you determine if your business is a permitted use, as per the zoning by-law Z.-1, and provide you with information about other zoning and licensing concerns, based on your proposed address. Call 519-661-2489 x 5680 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also strongly recommended you contact the following service areas and organizations to get more information:
Building A commercial plans examiner can help you determine if you require a building permit or a change of use permit, based on your proposed address and the changes you plan to make. Call 519-661-4555 or email email@example.com
City of London Fire Department Fire prevention staff will help you understand your fire prevention requirements and let you know about fire inspections. Call 519-661-4565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) For any food-related business inquiries, MLHU staff will help you plan and prepare you for your health inspection. 50 King Street 519-663-5317 email@example.com
Waste water For information about best practices for business, business licence inspections, disposing of fats, oils, greases, etc. call 519-661-2489 x 6306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I apply for or renew a municipal business licence?
New licence application
1. Complete the business licence application form
Different business licences have different application requirements. If you are unsure of any of the requirements, contact Business Hub staff to discuss.
- A business licence application is only valid for 90 days. Do not make your new application more than 90 days prior to the scheduled opening of your business.
- All business licenses expire on January 31 the year after issuance, regardless of when they were granted and Business licence fees are not prorated. That means, in the worst case scenario, if you apply for your business licence in October you will have to renew (pay again) the following January - only 3 months after your initial payment.
Payment options to renew your business licence:
- Mail in your renewal notice with a cheque payable to the City of London
- Mail in your renewal notice with your credit card details
- Phone the licensing office during regular business hours with your credit card details
- Email email@example.com with your address, existing licence number, renewal notice and credit card details.
- You are responsible to renew your business licence annually, prior to the January 1 expiration, whether you receive a renewal notice or not.
- We securely handle your credit card details.
How do I know if a business has a municipal licence?
To find active business licence information and files. They will be labelled BL. This can be used by the owner of a business, a potential purchaser, or the general public to see if a business has a municipal business licence.
What by-laws govern business licensing?
The business licensing by-law (L.131-16) sets out the rules that govern municipal business licensing in London.
Some business licence categories also have separate by-laws, such as:
- Fireworks (PW-11)
- Informal Residential Care Facilities
- Lottery Licensing
- Residential Rental Units (CP-19)
- Vehicle for Hire (L.130-17)
Please contact the Manager of Records and Information Services by calling 519-661-2489 x 5590 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of a by-law.