Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I register a business name?
  2. How do I apply/register for an HST number?
  3. What businesses require a City of London licence?
  4. Can I run a business from my home or apartment?
  5. What inspections are necessary to get my business licence?
  6. What happens if I fail one or all of my inspections?
  7. Where can I locate my business?
  8. Can I put up a sign to advertise my business?
  9. Why should I choose London, Ontario, Canada to start my business?
 

1. How Do I Register A Business Name?

Business Name Registration is done by the Province through ServiceOntario; online or at their office.  A Master Business Licence is issued when your business name is registered.  In London, the Service Ontario office can be found at:

100 Dundas Street (enter of Talbot Street)

London, Ontario, N6A 5B6

Phone: 1-800-267-8097

Service Ontario has created an information sheet to help register your business.

 

2. How do I apply/register for an HST number?

The Harmonized Sales Tax, or HST, is the name used for the combined Provincial Sales Tax (PST) collected by the Province of Ontario and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collected by the Federal Government.  Vist the Revenue Canada webiste to determine if you need to register for the GST/HST account , or call 1-800-959-5525.

 

3. What businesses require a City of London Licence?

The City of London licenses over twenty different kinds of businesses including but not limited to food premises, automotive services, and donation bin operators.  For more information about licensing in the City of London, please visit the business licensing web page.  Remember, a City of London Municipal Licence is different from a Provincial "Master Business Licence".

 

4. Can I run a business from my home or apartment?

In some instances it is appropriate to run your business from your residence.  The general rule of thumb is to ensure you are not creating a nuisance for your neighbours.  For more specific information about which kinds of businesses can be operated from your home, visit the Home Based Business web page.

 

5. What inspections are required to get my business licence?

Different inspections are required depending on the license category of the new business.  For food premises, for example, the licence inspections include building, health, fire, and wastewater.   Remember, business licence inspections are separate from - and typically follow - the inspections you are required to get through a building permit.  For more information regarding required inspections, and what the inspectors typically look for, email businesshub [at] london.ca (subject: Business%20Licence%20Inspections)  or call 519-661-CITY, x.5680.

 

6. What happens if I fail one or all of my inspections?

Opening a new business can be overwhelming at times, so it's not unusual for an inspector to notice something that needs to be fixed or installed before they can grant you approval: The inspector shall inform you of deficiencies in writing.  The responsibility is yours to ensure you get compliance before calling the inspector for re-inspection.  If you're uncertain of something, please ask the inspector or follow up with the City of London licensing office.  You have 90 days from the time you apply for your business licence to the time your business licence inspections must be finishedNOTE: If you exceed the 90 day time limit the City may refuse your application and you will need to re-apply and pay the licence application fee again. 

To help ensure the inspection process goes smoothly make sure you are prepared for the initial inspections and willing to make the changes potentially identified by the inspector.  If you area working with an open building permit, complete construction and ensure all building permit inspections are signed off before reqeusting a business licence inspection.  For more information, email licensing [at] london.ca (subject: Business%20Licensing%20Inspections) or call 519-930-3515.

 

7. Where can I locate my business?

Where a business can be located is dictated by the Zoning By-law.  The Zoning By-law implements the policies of the City's Official Plan, regulating land use (size, setbacks, etc.) and permitting specific uses (Restaurants, Auto Garages, etc.).  Zoning should be the first thing you check before you sign a lease or start thinking about where you want to set up your business.  As well, we advise you to not rely on real estate or leasing agents, or the landlord, to tell you what uses are permitted or not.  The City of London can help you categorize your use and find a suitable zone/location for your business.  You can do it yourself by using our Zoning Resources, and online map, or you can contact the business hub at 519-661-CITY (x.5680) / businesshub [at] london.ca (subject: Business%20Zoning%20Inquiry)

 

8. Can I put up a sign to advertise my business?

The short answer is yes; signs are permitted and regulated by the Sign By-law.   Signs require permits, and the by-law regulates the location, quantity, type, and size of signs that are permitted: Even prohibiting some types of signs in certain locations.  Please refer to this web page, or contact the Business Hub to get more information about sign regulations and permit requirements.  519-661-CITY (x.5680) / businesshub [at] london.ca (subject: Sign%20regulations%20and%20permit%20requirements)

 

9. Why should I choose London, Ontario, Canada to start my business?

London is a city for entrepreneurs.  London boasts geographical advantages that provide easy access to markets worldwide, a diverse economy, a strong local support network including a wide variety of small business organizations.  For a sample of some of the local organizations available to assist you, see the BizGrid.  Also, see "Research and Inspiration for Locating in London under the "Plan" section of this site.