Learn how to apply for different types of business licences
The Burnaby Licence Office issues licences to commercial businesses and home-based businesses operating in the city. If you're a construction and trades-related business based in Burnaby, you may even be eligible for an add-on inter-municipal business licence (IMBL).
Types of licences
All businesses in Burnaby require a valid business licence. A business is any commercial or industrial undertaking, including those who provide professional, personal or other services. Non-profits also need a licence to operate.
New or temporary businesses and those who have changed or opened a new location or changed ownership must apply for a new licence to operate in the City.
Property owners who rent out their single and two-family homes and don’t live on premises must apply for a House Rental Licence.
There are 3 types of business licences:
- Have a permanent location in Burnaby.
- Operate from offices, retail locations, warehouses, manufacturing facilities or homes. This also includes owners renting their single or two-family homes and not living on the property.
- Temporarily operating in Burnaby.
- Trades contractors or mobile companies with no fixed location in the city.
- Construction and trades related businesses interested in working in all 5 participating municipalities. Learn more.
Apply for a business license
If you want to operate a business in Burnaby, ensure the location you've chosen complies with the zoning regulations that specify what types of activities are allowed. Call the planning department at 604-294-7400 for more information.
Before you apply, also check with the building department at 604-294-7130 to ensure no active permits exist there. We can't process applications that have active/open permits on a location. Else, your application may be denied and you may also lose your $50.00 application fee.
Apply for a home-based business licence
Home businesses include all offices or studios of an individual engaged in business, art, health, crafts or instruction. You can operate a home-based business out of approved residential locations in Burnaby, except mobile home parks.
Home-based businesses must comply with the following bylaw requirements:
- Home occupation must not involve any internal or external structural alterations–structures, fences, enclosures–to the principal building. There should be no outward indication that the building is being used for any purpose other than a dwelling.
- The premises must not be used for manufacturing, welding or any other light industrial use. The site must not produce noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odour, litter or heat other than that generally associated with a dwelling unit. The site must also not create or cause any fire hazard, electrical interference, excessive pedestrian or vehicular traffic in the common areas or parking areas of a multi-family building or on the street.
- There shall be no external storage of materials, containers or finished products.
- No stock in trade should be kept or handled and no commodity sold on the premises.
- Home businesses must not involve mechanical equipment, except for private domestic and household or recreational hobbies.
- Only individuals residing at the address can be employed in the home-based business.
No commercial vehicle, truck, bus, contractors equipment, dismantled or wrecked automobile, trailer or any similar vehicle, conveyance, craft or equipment shall be parked or stored in the open in R1 to R12, or RM (residential) districts, except the following which may be parked or stored in the rear yard only:
- One truck or commercial vehicle not exceeding 4500 kg.
- Trucks, commercial vehicles or equipment required for the construction, repair, servicing or maintenance of the premises.
- Any dismantled or wrecked vehicle for not more than 30 successive days.
See the Burnaby Zoning Bylaw for information on the parking or storage of recreational vehicles and boats.
To get a licence, complete the forms below and send them to the Licence Office.
- Business licence application
- Supplementary declaration form: Submit this form if you're operating out of a fixed commercial location in Burnaby.
- House rental licence application
We'll contact you about your application once we receive and review it.
- All new applications must pay the first-year licence fee and a non-refundable fee of $50.00.
- You must renew your business licence annually. We'll send you a reminder 30 days before the due date.
How to pay
You can pay online via My Property Portal, the easiest way to check your account balance and make payments.
If you want to make a credit card payment without creating a My Property Portal profile, visit our direct payment page. Note that we will charge an additional non-refundable 1.75% convenience fee.
When paying via online banking, phone banking, ATMs or financial institutions, select Burnaby City Business Licence as a payee and enter your account # (starting with 7XXXXX) found on the front of your invoice.
The IMBL costs an additional $250 annually and matches the validity of your municipal business licence. It allows eligible businesses (including home-based businesses) to work in the participating municipalities, including Vancouver, New West, Delta, Surrey and Richmond with a single licence instead of a separate one for every city.
You will still need to apply for a municipal business licence from your home municipality and a licence for each fixed and permanent location you may have. Burnaby-based businesses with an existing approved licence can submit their application to the Licence Office.
If you want to operate in a non-participating municipality, contact the business licence office in that municipality for more information.
Advantages of an IMBL
- Save time and money while quickly expanding into new markets.
- Offer more options (contractors and service providers) for residents to choose from.
After getting an IMBL
- Keep a copy of the current IMBL at each work location.
- Present any required certification when requesting a permit at any of the participating municipalities.