Changes to Oakville Business Licenses

Are you a barber, arborist, driving instructor, or one of the 36 other businesses that require a city-issued license to operate in Oakville? If so, you should look at the proposed changes to the city’s licensing system and give your opinion.

City officials are currently reviewing licensing to reduce duplication, clarify rules, and simplify administration. An updated bylaw is in the works, but new rules will not come into effect until a revised license bylaw is approved by City Council at a later date.

The big news – One license, not many

The city plans to bundle licenses for some businesses that currently require a permit for multiple activities.

Under today’s regulations, a gas station that also sells groceries and cigarettes must complete (and pay for) three separate applications to obtain a motor vehicle licence, a grocery store licence, and a tobacconist’s license.

To avoid duplication, city officials suggest that secondary business purposes be added as endorsements to a company’s primary business license.

The modified system is for a company to apply for and pay for a single license for its core business. Papers for additional business classes would be submitted at the same time and added to the main license.

With a single renewal date, the modified system will make licensing easier and less expensive for business owners, reducing the time city employees spend reviewing applications.

The other big news in the business license world came last December when the city launched an online business license application process. In a 2020 survey, the city’s business owners overwhelmingly said they wanted an online licensing process.

New licenses required

  • Payday loan company – One per county will be the new rule for payday loan deals when the city introduces a new licensing ordinance. City officials are suggesting that the four businesses already in operation (three in Ward 2, one in Ward 5) get a grandfather to stay. In addition to being licensed under the provincial payday loan law, lenders must also apply for an Oakville license and provide a criminal record.
  • mobile services – Do you run a business from your car? The city plans to expand permitting requirements to include Mobile Motor Vehicle Services (for mobile businesses offering services such as tire changes, oil changes, or glass repairs) and Mobile Personal Service (for mobile businesses offering personal services such as haircuts or pedicures). Businesses that have a fixed location license do not need an additional license to provide mobile services.
  • Private parking enforcement contractors and officers
  • provider on time Selling items such as flowers, Christmas trees, market and liquidation items. Oakville farmers selling items they grew, produced and harvested would be exempt.

More changes in the works

Police controls:

For 26 of Oakville’s current 39 license categories, the city requires police records reviews to review criminal convictions and other court-related matters.

Despite numerous survey complaints from business owners arguing that the need for police record checks is arbitrary and that the documents are difficult to obtain in a timely manner, employees suggest expanding the need for them.

Currently, the requirement for business owners to provide a criminal record is met with a document for an individual owner or director. New rules propose that any partner, officer or director be asked to provide documents.

Rule Changes:

New or amended rules are proposed for a number of business class categories, including arborists, contractors and renovators, donation box operators, driving instructors, firework vendors, limousines, taxis and tow trucks. Full details are included in the staff report submitted to City Council on January 31.

City officials, in consultation with Oakville’s BIAs, industry and residents, are also planning a full review of food truck licensing.

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