Applications, Licences and Permits

Business Licence

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, hawkers and peddlers, bed and breakfasts.

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.

Mobile Food Business

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

Home Based Businesses

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.

Signage for Businesses 

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. 

Master Business Licence

Applicants may also require a Masters Business Licence issued by the province of Ontario

Business Enterprise Centre 

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.


Anyone wishing to place a building or structure on their property from a deck or garden shed to a new shopping plaza or apartment building, should refer to our Development webpage.

Flag Flying

In order to respect all citizens and community groups, the City does not make proclamations or support public awareness campaigns. 


The City has a policy on making proclamations, supporting public awareness campaigns and flying flags. The City flies only those flags listed in the policy.


The Community Flag Pole (south of City Hall) is intended to fly flags in connection with a particular event by an organization. To request a flag flying, please fill out the Community Flag Flying and Raising Form

Lottery Licence

The City of Owen Sound issues lottery licences on behalf of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The AGCO requires groups to obtain a lottery licence where there is a chance to win a prize for a fee, including:

  • 50-50 draws;
  • Raffles;
  • Bingos; or
  • Sale of nevada tickets.

To apply for a lottery licence:

  1. Complete an application;
  2. To discuss your application, book an appointment by calling 519-376-4440 ext. 1268; or email
  3. You can also mail the application to the City of Owen Sound 808 2nd Ave East, Owen Sound, On N4K 2H4 to the attention of the Licensing & Marriage Coordinator; and
  4. Pay the licence fee.


To be eligible to receive a lottery licence, a group must be a:

  • Charitable organization; or
  • Non-profit organization with charitable purposes whose activities fall under one of the following four classifications:
  1. Relief of Poverty
  2. Advancement of Education
  3. Advancement of Religion
  4. Other charitable purposes beneficial to the community that do not fall under a) b) or c).

An overview of lottery requirements can be found on the AGCO website.


The fee for a lottery licence is 3% of the value of the prize. 

Processing Time

Processing a lottery licence takes five working days.

Lottery Licence Report 

Groups must complete a lottery licence report when the lottery is complete. 

Lottery Trust Bank Account 

Groups must deposit all monies earned into a lottery trust bank account.

For further information, please contact the Licensing & Marriage Coordinator at 519-376-4440 ext. 1268.

Marriage Licence

The Clerk's Office issues marriage licences for couples getting married in Ontario. To apply:

  1. Complete an application;
  2. Have it signed by both parties;
  3. Book an appointment by emailing or calling 519-376-4440 ext. 1268;
  4. Have one or both applicants bring the application to the appointment at the Clerk's Office at City Hall along with
  5. the following two pieces of identification for each applicant:
    1. Original proof of identity (a birth certificate or valid passport or residency card); and
    2. Any government issued photo identification; and
    3. Original proof of divorce, if applicable. See below for details. 
  6. Pay the licence fee of $150 by debit/cash/cheque payable to the City of Owen Sound.

For more information on civil marriages, visit our Civil Marriages webpage.


What Do I Do with the Licence?

The couple will give the marriage licence to the person (religious official/legal wedding officiant) who is performing the wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, the person who performed the marriage will send the completed licence to the province of Ontario to register the marriage. 

What if I Have Been Previously Divorced in Canada?

Applicants who have been divorced in Canada must provide an original or court-certified copy of the Final Decree, Final Judgment or Certificate of Divorce. Certified copies can be obtained from the court that granted the divorce. Photocopies will not be accepted.  

What if I Have Been Previously Divorced Outside of Canada?

Applicants who have been divorced outside of Canada must provide documentation to the province of Ontario prior to being issued an Ontario marriage licence. 

What if I am a Widow or Widower?

If either applicant is a widow or widower, they are not required to produce a death certificate to obtain a marriage licence. 

What if I am a Minor?

No person under 16 years of age may be married. Persons who are 16 or 17 years old require consent from both parents and/or guardians.  

Does the Licence Expire?

The marriage licence is valid for a period of 3 months from the date of issue.

How Do I Get a Legal Marriage Certificate?

After a marriage, the person who performed the wedding will mail the licence to the province to register the marriage. They will also provide you with a record of solemnization of marriage as a keepsake.

However, you will need to request a legal marriage certificate. Couples can complete an application and mail to the Registrar General's office or request online. It may take 6-12 weeks to receive the marriage certificate.
This is the legal document to prove you are married.

How Do I Change my Name After a Marriage?

If you choose to change your last name after your marriage, simply present the legal marriage certificate at the offices where you wish to change your name (e.g. Service Ontario for health card and driver's licence).

Can the City Perform my Marriage Ceremony?

The City of Owen Sound offers civil marriage ceremonies at city hall or at a location of your choice. Civil ceremonies are no longer performed at the court house.

For further information, please contact the Licensing & Marriage Coordinator at 519-376-4440 ext. 1268 or

Short-Term Rental Licence

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

Tag Day Permit

Groups who wish to fundraise by requesting donations from the public require a tag day permit. Groups stand at various locations throughout the City requesting donations. In exchange for a financial donation, a tag is given to show support for the group.

To apply:

  1. Complete a tag day permit application; and
  2. If you wish to hand-deliver or discuss the application in person, book an appointment by calling 519-376-4440 ext. 1268; or email
  3. Mail the permit to the City of Owen Sound 808 2nd Avenue East, Owen Sound, ON N4K 2H4 to the attention of the Licensing & Marriage Coordinator. 

Where to Tag

Groups can tag on City properties (e.g. sidewalks or at private businesses) provided they have permission. 

How Often May a Group Tag?

Groups may choose a maximum of two tag days per year. 

For further information, please contact the Licensing & Marriage Coordinator at 519-376-4440 ext. 1268.

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