Licensing Could be the Backbone to Building your Business

Looking to open a business or start-up in Ontario but don’t know where to begin? A solid place to start might be licensing. While not all companies need licenses, not having the proper licenses could risk fines, fees, and damage to your reputation. Worse yet, neglecting your licenses could lead to you being forced to close your business. The purpose of licenses is for municipalities to produce revenue and ensure that companies comply with zoning requirements. So, what kind of licenses do you need? Depending on the business you have or are looking to open, there are many different answers to this question. In addition, various fields require specialized licenses for unique companies.

The particulars of licensing


It’s important to note that licenses can intensely vary based on your municipality and business type. While many particulars are engaged in licensing, you must understand that opening and registering a business may not be enough. You should do your due diligence and find the licenses you need. Most likely, your city or town has published plenty of licensing information on its website. This information can include types of businesses that require licenses and where you could acquire a license, registrations, permits, and even advice on opening a business. There are also services and search engines online which allow you to find detailed and specific licensing information for your business.


Examples of licenses


Suppose the business you intend to open operates in your own home. In that case, you likely will not worry about too many licensing concerns. However, it is also possible that you own property solely for conducting your business, such as an office, or conduct business in a way that might disrupt residential neighborhoods. In that case, you will likely need to do so in a specific area requiring a local business license. Another instance where a business could require a license or permit is when the work done affects the physical environment or if hazardous materials are used. As a business owner, you must understand your business well enough to know the licenses and permits that you might require.

 Filling out forms on a table

Some examples of licenses include but are not limited to an occupational license if you run a specialized service that requires you to have certifications, a vendor’s license if you are selling taxable products, or a food license if you are packaging or selling food. The risks of not having your licenses are not something to overlook either. 


Consequences of Overlooking Licenses


The Simmering Kettle, a restaurant in Barrie, Ontario, was found operating with an expired business license. The restaurant owner refused to renew the license, so the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario was forced to act. This action began as a simple fine in the form of a ticket charging $485. The AGCO told the restaurant owner that continuous refusal to comply and renew their license would cause an escalation, including increasing the charges and potentially closing. The city of Barrie also revoked the restaurant’s liquor license. After some short time, the owner had a change of heart and renewed her license to avoid further consequences. The Simmering Kettle is an illustration of the consequences of neglecting your license. The situation could have gotten much worse for the business if they had continued to refuse renewal. Licenses are more complicated than they may appear, and it’s crucial to ensure you know what you are doing when opening a business.

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Contact Information:

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For more questions regarding licenses or information about what you need when opening a new business, email us at  or call (905) 370-0484.

Licensing – in Ukrainian – Ліцензування як основа для ведення бізнесу в Канаді

Licensing – in Russian – Лицензия – основа бизнеса



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Buzaker Law Firm strives to provide high-quality legal services with integrity, professionalism, and respect for our clients and the community. Our law firm focuses on ethics while solving and negotiating any situation with significant knowledge and skills gained through years of practicing law in Toronto, Ontario.

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