City of Calgary celebrating red tape reduction week

New improvements to business licencing making it easier, more affordable for businesses

The City continues showing its commitment to reducing red tape by implementing initiatives that streamline government services and support economic recovery.

“The City of Calgary has had tremendous success in cutting red tape since 2010. We’re looking forward to continuing this process and aiding the Government of Alberta in its efforts,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi during Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week in Alberta Jan. 20-24.

This month, we’re introducing new improvements to business licencing that are making it easier and more affordable for businesses. Council approved the amendments to the Business Licence Bylaw (32M98) in November 2019, including:

  • Reduced fees for new and renewed business licences by 10%.
  • Removed the licence fee associated with moving a business or adding new licence categories.
  • Eliminated police checks on low-risk categories, or those that require a police check through a provincial requirement.
  • Streamlined the process for fire approval for low-risk categories by issuing business licences before fire approval.
  • Eliminated the requirement for a Home Occupation Class 1 business licence for home based businesses that have a minimal impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood.
  • Streamlined the business licence process for food trucks.
  • Eliminated the need for licensing specific business activities such as office building operators, Christmas tree vendors, and electronic repair shops.

The City’s Business & Local Economy team is taking a corporate approach to improve City services to support Calgary’s business environment, innovation ecosystem and help build the foundation for business success. “It means working with units across the corporation and our partners to find ways to save businesses time and money when they work with The City, while supporting Calgary’s economic recovery,” said Sonya Sharp, Leader of the Business and Local Economy team.

Other initiatives that have had a direct and positive result on businesses and the local economy include:

  • Frozen construction permit fees at 2016 rates until the end of 2020, creating greater cost certainty for builders.
  • Created a Living Labs program to open City of Calgary assets to companies and researchers to test and try their ideas and products.
  • Created a #BuyLocalYYC campaign to encourage Calgarians to support local businesses and Calgary’s comeback.
  • Implemented Canada's first virtual one-window approach to permitting online including live chat to save business applicants time and money.
  • Approved pop-up and interim businesses in all commercial areas, eliminating lengthy approval processes and licencing restrictions (another Canada first).
  • Created a Business Advisory Committee made up of members of the local business community. This Council-led committee gives us insight and feedback into how we can improve City processes.

For more information and to learn about additional work underway to support business visit