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Business licensing: Supporting Kingston’s business owners

The City wants great businesses to thrive in Kingston.  City staff works every day to ensure that economic development and growth opportunities are available to everyone interested – and to help support current and future business owners get set up for success.

The planning, building & licensing department works to help guide businesses through our system, which has been designed to help them thrive. In order to protect the public and ensure development meets the long-term growth objectives of the City, we have a number of processes that work together to ensure that businesses are located in areas appropriate for the type of businesses activities they are undertaking and are licensed to ensure they have been reviewed by all necessary departments from a health and safety perspective. Our three departments work together to facilitate this process.

1.    Planning manages development in a manner that meets the long term growth objectives of the City. We do this by creating policies in our Official Plan, and ensuring that development meets the policies. Zoning bylaws are a tool that we use to control how land or buildings are used, the type of buildings that can be constructed, the size and shape of buildings and other associated components such as the number of parking spaces. By controlling these items in zoning bylaws, we ensure that land uses are compatible with neighbouring properties and that there are no adverse impacts created by one property on another. Businesses are not able to obtain a licence unless they are compliant with the zoning bylaws.

2.    Building reviews and issues formal permissions for any new building, additions or renovations to begin construction or demolition. A building permit regulates the type of construction allowed in the community and helps to ensure building standards are met and everything complies with the Ontario Building Code and other applicable laws or regulations. The building permit process protects each property owner's interests, as well as those of the community by ensuring that any structural change is safe, legal and sound.

3.    Licensing & enforcement ensures that businesses are operating in accordance with zoning, building, fire, health and police regulations, acts and requirements to protect public health and safety in areas related to the business’ operation. Enforcement staff is tasked with upholding the City’s bylaws and ensuring that all residents, businesses and property owners in the City comply with applicable bylaws.  Additional services provided by licensing & enforcement can be found here. If staff becomes aware of a business that is operating without a licence, our enforcement team is obligated to investigate the matter and enforce the City’s bylaws. The City’s bylaws do not give staff discretion or flexibility in this regard. All enforcement actions are kept confidential for the business owner’s privacy.

If you are a current business owner or plan to open a business, we are here to help you navigate applicable regulations and permissions. We want to ensure you are able to start a successful business here in Kingston. Please reach out to us. We will help guide you through the process and answer any questions you have:

Licensing & enforcement

Planning, building & licensing services

1211 John Counter Blvd.,

Kingston, ON K7K 6C7


Phone: 613-546-4291, ext. 3150


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Paige Agnew
Paige Agnew
Director of planning, building and licensing services
613-546-4291, ext. 3252
Find out more about Paige.
Paige's planning blog is a moderated blog. All comments will be reviewed and posted within 2 business days.