Steps to Starting a Business in Port Alberni
Steps to Starting a Business in Port Alberni
A Business Licence is required by every business operating in the City of Port Alberni. For new businesses, here is a step-by-step guide to applying for a Business Licence:
Step 1 - Pre-Planning
If you are starting a new business, you must comply with a number of Municipal, Provincial and Federal regulations. The regulations that will apply depend on the type of business you intend to operate. Navigating the regulatory jungle is easier today than in years past thanks to some very helpful organizations.
Visit the following websites and resources to learn more:
- Community Futures maintains an office in Port Alberni at 4757 Tebo Avenue (map) and is dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs. Community Futures is sponsored by Western Economic Diversification Canada and can be reached by telephone at 250.724.1241 or toll free 1.877.724.1241.
If you have an established business and are interested in conducting business in Port Alberni, simply follow the application procedure. If you have doubts about whether your company or organization requires a Business Licence please contact the Economic Development Assistant (see bottom of page). The fine for operating an unlicensed business is $150 per day.
Step 2 - Location and Zoning:
Select a Location - Zoning and Land Use
It is not unusual to discover that a number on the doorway is incorrect or has never been approved by the City. Always consult Development Services to obtain confirmation of the correct civic address for the property prior to communicating a business address to provincial or federal regulators, suppliers, customers, or ordering business stationary or calling cards.
Step 3 - Supporting Documentation:
Depending on the type of business, there are a number of supporting documents that are required when submitting a Business Licence application, including:
- Business Licence Application
- Health Inspection certificate (if applicable - for more information contact Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority) at 250.519.3401 or visit:http://www.islandhealth.ca/)
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) (if applicable)
Step 4 - Application:
Complete a Business License Application Form
Application forms are available at City Hall, downloadable below, or through electronic email submission below:
- Business Licence Application - The owner or operator of every business shall make an application to the City of Port Alberni.
- Inter-Community Business Licence Application Form - This licence which is purchased in addition to the regular Port Alberni Business Licence allows businesses to perform business in any of the 12 participating municipalities listed here.
- Sign Permit Application Form - Prior to erecting or installing signage you must obtain a Sign Permit.
- Business Licence Application Submission Form
- Inter-Community Business Licence Application Submission Form
Submit your completed application form and any supporting documentation:
- In Person: at City Hall, 4850 Argyle St., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1V8 (Map)
- By Mail: City Hall, 4850 Argyle St., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1V8
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By electronic submission: Business Licence Application Submission Form
- Online: Through ONESTOP Business Registry ( www.bcbusinessregistry.ca )
Step 5 - Approvals, Renewals, Changes, Payments:
- Most Business Licence applications take approximately 30-45 business days to process, as a number of City departments must review and approve an application before a Business Licence can be issued. Some may not need inspection and can be processed quicker, while some may take much longer.
- Approval is also required when the use of a business premise is changed, a property is developed, or building additions are undertaken, in order to ensure compliance with bylaws and regulations. A change of address application form must be filled out and brought to City Hall.
- The Provincial and Federal governments may also have additional requirements that must be met before a business can legally operate.
- You will be contacted by telephone or email upon completion to come in and pay for the business licence. The licence will be available downstairs at City Hall once the Business Licence/Development Services department finalizes your application. Acceptable methods of payment are cash, cheque, or debit card. If your licence has been prepaid you may choose to have it mailed to you.
- Business Licences are effective from January 1st to December 31st of the year, are non-transferable and the licence fees paid are non-refundable.
Business Licence Renewal
If you operate a business in Port Alberni, you are required to have a valid Business Licence, which is automatically renewed annually. Each December, you will receive a Business Licence Renewal Invoice in the mail which is payable by January 1 of the following year. Click Here to see relevant fines. No business shall carry on business without renewing the licence and paying the annual fee. Please contact Economic Development Assistant to cancel your business licence.
Changes to Your Business Licence
If you have a change of address, change of name, or change of ownership, please fill out our Business Licence application form with the new changes.
Note: If you propose to relocate a licensed business from the premises authorized by the business licence to a new premises, you may not commence operation of the business at the new premise until you have obtained the approval of the Economic Development Assistant for a transfer of the licence to the new premises. A new application form must be filled out and all steps to approval must be taken.
If your business has ceased to operate please inform the the Economic Development Assistant.
Other Business Requirements
Helpful information is also available by selecting from the links below:
If you need to renovate or alter your business space, visit our building services pages to find out what permits and regulations apply for your situation.
The City's Mobile Vending Policy will apply if you are planning to operate as a mobile business/food truck. For more information check out the Fire Prevention Mobile Vending Requirements.
The City of Port Alberni regulates the number, size, type, form, appearance and location of signs, with a sign bylaw tailored to various zones in the community.
Obtaining a Business License will require having your business inspected by the Fire Department to ensure that it is code compliant and meets safety standards.
If your business will be discharging sewage into the sewer system, you are required to obtain a Waste Discharge Permit. For more information, contact the Engineering Department at 250.720.2830.
All Home Occupations must obtain a City of Port Alberni business licence. Your Home Occupation must be licensed to, and conducted by, a permanent resident of your home.
BC Cannabis Regulations & How It Affects Port Alberni
Bed and Breakfasts (B&B)
If you are considering operating a B&B or making an application for a B&B, please read over the following building requirements.
Have a question?
Check out our section here.