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The idea of starting a business is appealing, especially if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a brilliant idea.

How do you launch your small business and make your dream a reality? What government permits and licences will you need to start or grow your business legally?

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons permits and licences are necessary and tell you about BizPaL, your online source of information on permits and licences.

There’s more to starting and growing a company than choosing the type of ownership (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and cooperative) for your business, registering your business name and a GST business account number, and getting a business licence. You may also need a range of permits and licences from all three levels of government: municipal, provincial and federal.

Why are permits and licences necessary?

Permits and licences ensure that you’re following government regulations related to conducting and building a business in Canada. Failure to comply with permit and licence regulations could result in fines.

Which permits and licences will I need?

The permits and licences you’ll need depend on the Alberta city in which you choose to open and operate your business. Good information and advice are vital in helping you determine what’s required.

BizPaL: your online source of information on permits and licences

Let BizPaL help.

A joint partnership managed by all three levels of government, BizPaL is your online source of information on permits and licences needed to open or operate particular types of businesses.

When you visit the provincial BizPaL site, you’ll see a number of Alberta municipalities listed. Each participating jurisdiction decides which industry sectors to include in BizPaL and identifies various permits and licences needed for each industry sector.

As an entrepreneur, simply select the business activities you plan to undertake. BizPaL will automatically generate a list of all required permits and licences from all levels of government, along with basic information on each.

BizPaL also provides links to government sites, where you can learn more and, in some cases, apply online. Keep in mind that, although BizPal itself is a free service, there may be costs associated with getting the permits and licences you need.

Remember that the BizPaL database is not all inclusive: you’ll still have to conduct additional research to ensure that your business complies with applicable regulations. Consider the following as you do your research.

  • Federal regulations
    Depending on your type of business, there are a few things you may need from the federal government beyond GST registration. These could include import and export permits, trademarks or patents, and copyrights.
  • Provincial regulations
    You’ll also need to find out about provincial regulations such as alcohol licences, employment and accessibility standards, and environmental permits.
  • Municipal bylaws
    Don’t overlook the importance of complying with municipal bylaws and regulations that may apply to your business. These may include commercial zoning bylaws, food permits, signage bylaws and noise permits.

The team at Lift Legal can walk you through the process. We’ll focus your efforts on the rules that apply to your type of business and help you to secure the necessary permits and licences to start or grow your business legally.

The information on this blog and website is provided by Lift Legal for educational purposes only. It is intended to give readers a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Information contained in these pages should not be used in place of competent legal advice from a licensed, practising lawyer in Alberta. Furthermore, by using this blog and website, you understand that no lawyer-client relationship exists between you and Lift Legal.

Mel Garbe

Mel founded Lift Legal with the goal of delivering cost effective legal services without sacrificing capability by effectively using modern tools to access the types of resources that larger law firms have access to. The result being that Lift Legal provides high level professional services at a greater value.

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