Winter 2020-2021 supports for business

The City of Calgary is extending support to businesses helping them continue their operations through the fall and winter months.

On Monday, Council agreed to continue extending fee relief measures for an additional six months by waiving and deferring fees for business licences and Planning & Development applications. The fee relief was first introduced in May and planned to end on Oct. 31 but will now continue until April 30, as the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and has created unprecedented economic challenges for Calgary businesses.

“Extending fee relief measures will help us better support our local economy and lessen the financial burden for business owners,” said Sonya Sharp, Leader, Business and Local Economy. “It’s important that The City continues to support business through these tough economic times. When we reached out to stakeholders to understand the impact of the initial COVID fee relief measures, we learned there is a real concern around a second wave, and how that will impact businesses. There was interest in how extending the fee relief would help protect businesses.”

The fee relief measures will help businesses like restaurants extend the patio season into winter, providing them with additional revenue. The deferral of commercial and multi-family building permits is a benefit for builders and developers providing additional options with project costs and cash flows. The fee relief also provides a reduction in the cost of starting a business. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, various permit fees for development and building waived for customers have totaled over $1.65 million, with current deferred fees of $816,000 (Oct 1, 2020).

“The fee relief measures implemented this year have been a critical support for citizens, business owners, developers, builders and supporting professionals. The relief has allowed them to continue working on projects, keep their staff employed, and maintain their important contributions to Calgary’s economy," says Kieran Slattery, Approvals Coordinator. “Based on feedback from these groups, we have refined how we are providing fee relief measures to our citizens, so that we can keep this support going.”

Learn more about supports that are available:

Fee Relief Package

The following fees will be waived until April 2021 for:

  • Development Permit Fees
    • Outdoor cafes
    • Change of Use – Permitted & Discretionary
    • CPAG Pre-Applications
  • Building Permit Fees Related to Outdoor Cafes, Outdoor and Interior Partitions​
    • Installation of interior partitions that are intended to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19 among patrons​
    • Construction that is intended to extend the patio season 

Prioritized Applications:

  • Development permits required for Outdoor Cafés on private land will be prioritized (Apply for an outdoor cafés/patios), or call 403-268-5311 to speak to a subject matter expert.
  • Building permits related to Outdoor Cafes, Outdoor Waiting/Sales Areas and Interior Partitions, as described above, will be prioritized. For questions regarding these applications, please call 403-268-5311 to speak to a subject matter expert.

No Building Permit Required For:

Tents/structures covering new and existing patios

Permit exemption requirements:

  • A structure not more than 10 sq.m. in area (e.g. a 10’x10’ tent)
  • Tents that are:
    • more than 3 metres from another structure, AND
    • do not cover more than 60 square metres of ground (whether it is one tent or a group of tents), AND
    • do not contain commercial cooking equipment, barbecues or any heating elements. There are some cooking, heating and lighting exemptions listed in this advisory bulletin.

Special Functions:

A special function is a short-term, temporary event which may have temporary structures (e.g. tents, tables, stages, bleachers) set up. Permit exemptions may apply depending on size and duration. Details on the two classifications are available online. For questions regarding these applications, please call 403-268-5311 to speak to a subject matter expert.

Development Permit Required For:

Development Permits are required for new outdoor cafes/patios, new covered cafes/patios, covering or modifying existing cafés/patios and patio with temporary approval expiring October 31.

Business License:

A City business license is required for new outdoor patios and when serving food and/or alcohol.


New and existing patios that would like to cover, or modify their patio will require inspections for the fire occupancy load, building permit, development completion permit and Provincial Authorities with jurisdiction such as, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) and Alberta Health Services (AHS).

For more information, visit, or ask your questions online via our live chat or call 403-268-5311.