Business Licences

A business licence is required if you are doing business for profit in or from Nanaimo.

Types of business licences

Commercial A business operating within a building or on a property that is commercially zoned and is located in the city of Nanaimo, as defined by the Zoning Bylaw.

Home-based - A business that operates within a dwelling unit or within an accessory building  located on the same property as where the operator resides, as defined by the Zoning Bylaw.

Please note - if you are not the property owner, please include a declaration from the owner providing permission to operate the home-based business.  A statement signed by the owner is acceptable, or contact Business Licensing to request the Home-Based Business Owner Authorization form.  Once completed, it can be included with your application for a business licence.

Special Event - An event held in the city of Nanaimo for five or less consecutive days.

Temporary Business - A business that operates within the city of Nanaimo for 30 days or less in a calendar year.

Non-resident - A business that is located outside of Nanaimo's city limits, but provides a service or an activity in Nanaimo.

Inter-community - A mobile business that provides a service or an activity within the boundaries of two or more participating municipalities.

How to apply for a business licence

To apply for a business licence, see Get a Business Licence.

Update your information

If you already have a business licence and need to update your information, you can do so online with your  MyCity account or via the on-line form Update Existing Business Licence.

Search Business Licences

Business Licence Search - Search businesses by keyword

or try the Advanced Business Licence Search


Not sure what licences or permits you need? Check out BizPaL for a checklist of permits available from all three levels of government. This is not required for a business licence in Nanaimo, but it may help you organize your permits.

OneStop and Service BC

The provincial government offers OneStop, a service to simplify and consolidate some provincial and federal business registration requirements. To register your business on-line, go to

Service BC also provides a one-stop registration service for the following:

  • Business Name (name search and registration)
  • Goods & Services Tax (GST)
  • Corporate Income Tax
  • Payroll Deductions
  • Import / Export
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST)
  • Workers' Compensation Board (WCB)

Service BC is located at: 460 Selby Street, Nanaimo, BC.  Call 250-741-3636 for more information.

Contact Us

Business Licensing 250-755-4482

Last updated: October 22, 2018

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