The process for obtaining a business licence for a commercial location involves several municipal departments and can also involve external agencies such as the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Applications for commercial based businesses and any business that may use one of Whistler's parks can vary from 10 days to eight weeks.
Please allow adequate time to meet business licence requirements prior to your business’s anticipated opening date.
A commercial business is responsible for ensuring the location meets BC Building Code and BC Fire Code standards.
You will need a building permit if:
- you plan to undertake any renovations when taking occupancy of a commercial unit;
- the previous tenant made changes to the space and did not get the required permits and inspections; or
- your commercial unit does not match the "as built" drawings on file at Municipal Hall.
If the unit does not match the "as built" drawings, an application for a building permit is required to bring the unit into BC Building and Fire Code compliance.
If your business will be occupying a commercial space in Whistler, please provide:
- a copy of the lease that states the civic and legal address of the building,
- the date of the lease, and
- all parties signatures.
All commercial businesses are required to apply for a sign permit prior to creating or installing any signs. Sign permit applications are reviewed by the Planning Department.
Commercial business licence applications get reviewed by:
- Planning Department – Zoning
- Building Department – BC Building Code regulations
- Fire Department – BC Fire Code regulations
- Bylaw Department – Bylaw regulations
Additional Approvals or Licences
The following additional external approvals, permits and licences may be required:
- Parks Planning / Parks Facility Rentals - Any business that proposes use of any municipal parks, trails or fields.
- Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) – issues health permits for the following:
- Food and/or beverage production or distribution (Includes temporary operations and those providing food for free)
- Businesses with swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, whirlpools, or water slides
- Businesses with on-site sewage disposal
- Personal service businesses such as hair salons, barbershops, sun tanning salons, massage studios, estheticians, acupuncturists, etc.
- Any business that sells tobacco and tobacco products, including vending machines
For these types of business licence applications, a health permit from VCHA is required. Written confirmation from VCHA stating that they do not inspect the type of business applied for may be required by the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
- BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch – issues liquor licences. A copy of the liquor licence is required for all business licence applications involving the sale of liquor.
- Provincial Motor Dealing - Buying, selling or wrecking automobiles.
- Provincial Motor Carrier Licencing - Taxi companies or Limousine services
- Provincial and/or municipal waste management review - Businesses that produce solid or liquid wastes.
All annual business licence fees have a minimum fee of $165 with the following additions:
- $28 per vending machine to a maximum of $420
- $10 per room of a hotel, inn, lodge, pension, chalet, villa, resort club or property management company
- $2 per person of occupant load for a restaurant
- $5 per person of occupant load for a bar, pub, lounge or cabaret
- $70 per ski lift for a ski operator
- $308 per bank or credit union
If for any reason, the business, lands and/or premises do not conform to the applicable statutes, regulations, codes, bylaws and standards, the applicant will be advised promptly of the deficiencies and will be required to correct the deficiencies before the business licence is issued.
A business licence cannot be issued until the business complies with the bylaws of the RMOW and other regulatory agencies.
If a business licence is denied, staff will assist the applicant to assess options to start their business operation in accordance with the applicable regulations, whenever possible.