Changes to the Business Licence Bylaw

On December 13, 2021, Council adopted a New Business Licence Bylaw that will replace the existing Business Licence Bylaw on January 1, 2023. 

In an effort to help businesses with an easy transition to the new regulations, Council has also amended the existing Business Licence Bylaw to include pro-rated fee provisions to align all businesses on the same licencing term.

Key Changes Effective January 1, 2023

Licencing Term - The licencing term in the new bylaw has been adjusted to a January 1 - December 31 term to align all business licences on the same renewal schedule.

Renewal Process - All business licences that have not been renewed by January 31 of the renewal year will be terminated as of March 31 of the same year and require a new licence application.

Pro-Rated Fee - A pro-rated fee model with a quarterly percent reduction has been implemented to provide businesses that are approved at various points of the year the ability to align with the new licencing term.

New Fee - A new $25.00 fee will be added for business name changes and business licence reprints. Changes to ownership or changes to location will continue to require a new application be submitted along with payments.

Three-Tiered Fee Structure - Business licence fees have been reviewed and reorganized into a three-tiered structure according to licence types.

Home Occupations - The bylaw refers to the City's Zoning Bylaw for regulations regarding Home Occupations. A future amendment to the Zoning Bylaw will encompass the new Home Occupations section and will provide an enhanced level of regulation to ensure that residential neighbourhoods maintain their form and character.

Fines - There has been an increase in the value of fines charged to businesses that commit an offence outlined in the bylaw. All offences that receive a fine are given a reduced rate if there is early payment. Fines range from $100.00 to $400.00, depending on the offence.

Owner Consent - An ownership consent section has been added to the application form to ensure that if a home occupation is operating in a rental dwelling unit, that the owner of the unit is aware.

View the New Business Licence Bylaw - Frequently Asked Questions document for additional details. [PDF - 196 KB] 

Home Occupation Changes

As previously mentioned, there will be changes to the Home Occupation regulations through a Zoning Amendment Bylaw (view the report here).

Previously, regulations around Home Occupations (Home-based Businesses) were partially in the Business Licence Bylaw and the Zoning Bylaw. These changes remove the regulations from the Business Licence Bylaw and place them together in the Zoning Bylaw.

These changes ensure that home-based businesses can thrive in our community while ensuring residential areas retain their form and character. As a business grows, it should look to find a commercial space to meet the needs of its customers. 

There are four areas where key changes and updates were made through the Zoning Amendment Bylaw 2573, 2022:

  1. Definitions: New definitions that explain the types of Home Occupations as either a “Business” or “Office” entity. Currently, these are referred to as “Home Occupations - Standard and Minor” in the Zoning Bylaw.
    “Business” entities are defined as those home-based businesses that take place within a dwelling, such as, personal services, personal training or artisan studios.
    “Office” entities are defined as those home-based businesses that are administrative in nature, such as bookkeeping or tax preparation services.

  2. Number of Home Occupations: Regulations that set the allowable number of combinations of “Business” or “Office” Home Occupations for each dwelling unit. 
    Each dwelling unit may not have more than two Home Occupations and no more than one “Business” entity.

  3. Home Occupation – Business Entities: Including Secondary Suites and Bed and Breakfast Operations as “Business” entities to ensure adequate parking in residential neighbourhoods.

  4. Business Vehicles: “Office” entities are not permitted to be serviced by a business vehicle - this does not include a personal vehicle.

It was proposed to reduce the number of customer visits from 20 per day to 10 per day; however, through the Zoning Bylaw amendment process and based on public input, that proposed change was not made. Instead, Council decided to keep the customer visits for “Business” entities at 20 per day. Signage and off-street parking requirements for “Business” entities also remain the same.

View the Home Occupations - Frequently Asked Questions document for additional details. [PDF - 210 KB]

2023 Business License Renewal FAQs

  1. I have not received my invoice or renewal yet.
    The finance department is working on the invoices now and will be mailing them out to you soon. Keep an eye on your mailbox!
  2. My licence has already expired or is about to expire.
    All business licences issued by The City of Fort St John will be valid until Dec 31, 2022. You have until January 31, 2023, to contact us about your renewal.
  3. When should we contact you?
    Once you receive your invoice and renewal letter in the mail, you should contact us to make payment and pick up your license or arrange for it to be mailed to you.
  4. How do I pay for my business licence?

Planning & Engineering | Beaton Building - First Floor (10003 – 110 Avenue) (Note: cash is not accepted at this location)
City Hall (10631 – 100 Street)


Complete and submit the Credit Card Authorization Form [PDF - 178 KB]

Online banking

Add the City of Fort St. John as a payee, search the word 'Fort' in the payee field and look for "Fort St. John Acct. Receivables"
Add your account number (The account number is your business licence customer ID - for example, ABCDE001)