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Business Licences

To start a business in Owen Sound, you will require a business licence. This includes, but is not limited to:  general businesses, home based businesses, street food vending carts, and hawkers and peddlers.

The City's Business Licensing By-law is available for reference prior to applying for a business licence. You can also find further information in the Business Licence Information Package.

To apply for a business licence:

  1. Contact the Planning Division with the municipal address, current use and a detailed description of the proposed use, to obtain approval with the Zoning By-law. The Planning Division approval must be submitted with the business licence application.
  2. Complete an application for a business licence.
  3. To discuss your application, book an appointment by calling 519-376-4440 ext. 1268; or email
  4. You can also mail the application to the City of Owen Sound, 808 2nd Avenue East, Owen Sound, ON N4K 2H4 to the attention of the Licensing & Marriage Coordinator.
  5. Pay the non-refundable licence fee by debit/credit/cash/cheque payable to the City of Owen Sound.

Business owners that operate a business out of their home require a business licence. Applicants need to be aware of the zoning regulations that apply to home based businesses.

Mobile Food Businesses such as food/drink trucks or food/drink carts are welcomed within the City of Owen Sound. 

The City's "Treats on the Street" program information below outlines the opportunities available to Mobile Food Businesses. 

Any questions regarding Mobile Food Businesses should be directed to Paul McGrath, Manager of Community and Business Development by email at

Mobile Food Business

Applicants may need to apply for sign permits for any signage for their business. Check the regulations for clarification.
If a sign permit is required, applicants can complete an application and return to City Hall with the applicable fee.

More information about signage is available in the Sign By-law on our By-laws and Policies webpage.

Business licences issued by the City of Owen Sound do not need to be renewed. 

Please let us know if you relocate your business or have a change in ownership. Each municipality operates under a separate licensing bylaw. Other municipalities may have different licensing requirements. 

The Business Enterprise Centre offers free services to help new business owners start a business and provides ongoing support for existing businesses.

For further information, please contact the Business Enterprise Centre at 519-374-9089.

If your business includes development, which may be anything from a storage shed to a new shopping plaza, please refer to our Development webpage.

Information on Short-Term Rental licensing within the City of Owen Sound can be found on the Short-Term Rentals webpage.

Information about other applications, licences and permits can be found on the Applications, Licences and Permits page.

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