Steps to Starting a Business in Port Alberni
Steps to Starting a Business in Port Alberni
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 City of Port Alberni (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 the Building Inspector 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:
- Health Inspection certificate (if applicable - for more information contact Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority) at 250.519.3401 or visit:http://www.viha.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, or download the forms below:
- Business Licence Application - Attached to your Business License Application is a handy reference detailing some of the checks you need consider before applying for your Business Licence.
- Inter-Community Business Licence Application Form - The Inter-Community Business Licence Bylaw is now available in Port Alberni.
- Sign Permit Application 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, Attn: Finance Department, 4850 Argyle St., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1V8
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org (enquiries only)
- Online: Through BIZPAL ( www.bcbizpal.ca ) or at ONESTOP Business Registry ( www.bcbusinessregistry.ca )
Step 5 - Approvals, Renewals, Changes:
- A Business Licence application takes approximately 10 to 15 working days to process, as a number of City departments must review and approve an application before a Business Licence can be issued.
- 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.
- 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 when your application has been processed. The licence will be available at the Reception Counter in City Hall. 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 must be 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.
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 (above) 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 Business Licence Inspector for a transfer of the licence to the new premises.
If your business has ceased to operate please inform the the Business Licence contact.
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.