Apply for a Business Licence

How to apply for a Business Licence

Step 1: Determine category (see category descriptions below for more information).

Step 2: Complete and sign the application form.

Step 3: Complete and sign all required schedules.

Step 4: Send all completed and signed application form and schedules to businesslicence@bimbc.ca or drop them off at Municipal Hall.

Business Licence Review Process

January 2024 – Currently the business licence review process is taking longer than 3 weeks. Please be patient as we work through reduced hours, staff training and renewals.

The licence review will generally take a minimum of 3 weeks. Some reviews may require additional information and will take longer to process. Licence reviews include zoning, building, driveway access, fire safety requirements and may require Vancouver Coastal Health approval.

Timeline Final

General Information

All business licences expire on December 31, regardless of the date that the licence was issued. The business licence application includes an option to automatically renew for subsequent years.

The licence fee is reduced by 50% for applicants that start all business activity after July 31.

There is no refund for a business that stops operating at any point during the year.

Your business licence must be issued before you begin operating or advertising on Bowen Island.

Categories

What is a Non-Resident Business?

A Non-Resident business is any business that is based in another jurisdiction and comes to Bowen Island to perform work. A licence is required to work on Bowen Island whether it is for one day or for a full year*. This will include but is not limited to:

  • all building contractors (carpenter, plumber, drywall, tiler, painter, etc.)
  • house, car or carpet cleaners
  • tow trucks
  • appliance repair, maintenance or installation
  • moving companies

*Some professionals are exempt if they work on Bowen Island less than 30 days in a year. Exemptions apply to: architects, engineers, electricians and others. If you think this applies to you please send a link to the act that governs your profession with your application.

Licence fee: $100 per year.

Apply Now:

Provide the following document:

Definitions

“Non-Resident Business” means a business, other than a resident business, carried on within
Bowen Island Municipality or any work or service performed within Bowen Island Municipality.

Exemptions for Non-Resident Business: See the complete bylaw for more.

What is a Contractor?

A contractor is any business that works on Bowen Island at various locations. A contractor business can include but is not limited to:

  • all building contractors (carpenter, plumber, drywall, tiler, painter, etc.)
  • house cleaners
  • real estate agents
  • health practitioners that work outside of a home or commercial office
  • any on-site or mobile businesses

A Contractor licence can include a home office or other at home component.

Licence Fee: $100 per year.

Apply Now:

You will be required to provide the following documents:

Definitions

“Contractor” includes any person who undertakes to do or perform any work or service at a
certain price or rate or for a fixed sum, except where such work or service is specifically defined
in this Bylaw;

What is a Residential Guest Accommodations?

Residential Guest Accommodations (RGA) is a rental of a dwelling for less than 30 days. RGA can be located in a primary residence, a recreational property or a secondary suite*.

Some examples of when RGA is permitted:

  • Your primary dwelling while you are away for vacation or business.
  • A secondary suite that you usually use for friends or family to stay in when they visit you.
  • A seasonal home that you only use part of the year.

Licence Fee: $300 per year.

Questions?

Is your business an RGA?

Read more about the requirements and regulations.

Apply Now:

Provide the all of following documents:

You may be requested to submit a site sketch of your property or other documents if more information is required.

Neighbour Notification is to be sent to all adjacent properties and across the street. BowMap is a great tool to determine which neighbours you need to send a notice to.
You do not need to use the form provided above, but your notification must include the same information. Please provide us with a copy of the notice you sent along with a list of the neighbour addresses. Please note you do not need to obtain your neighbours signatures or approval.

Proof of Insurance: Some host sites provide a policy that is adequate to satisfy this licence requirement. Include a link to your hosts policy if you think this applies you your application.

IMPORTANT: Do not advertise your RGA business before your licence has been issued. Advertising is a business activity that requires a licence. Advertising your business without a licence is subject to enforcement action including fines. The blocking out of dates is not adequate to avoid enforcement action.

*Please note that any secondary suite (attached or detached) used for RGA purposes must be located in a permitted suite and an Occupancy Certificate must have been issued. If your suite is unpermitted, a retroactive Building Permit will need to be obtained. Occupancy for these suites will require a Code Compliance Report from a qualified professional (architect or engineer). If a business licence application is submitted for a non-permitted suite and you subsequently withdraw the RGA application, you will still be required to either obtain Occupancy Certificate or decommission that suite.

*One parking space per guest room is required in addition to any other uses (such as primary dwelling, secondary suite, home occupation employee parking). Please note that tandem parking is not permitted in residential zones.


Definitions

“DWELLING or DWELLING UNIT” means a building or part of a building containing sleeping area, living area and kitchen designed, used or intended for use as one (1) residence.

“RESIDENTIAL GUEST ACCOMMODATION” means an accessory use of a dwelling unit, or a portion of one, that is ordinarily occupied as a residence, as temporary accommodation for a paying guest for a period of less than 30 consecutive days, and for clarity does not include a bed and breakfast, commercial guest accommodation, guest house, inn, or retreat centre.

“COMMERCIAL GUEST ACCOMMODATION” means overnight guest sleeping accommodation for
transient paying guests, which is not a bed and breakfast and may include a washroom and kitchen
within the individual unit.

“GUEST HOUSE” means a use that provides for overnight guest accommodation for transient paying
guests, and may include a communal dining room, kitchen facility, the provision of accessory group
meetings/courses/workshops, recreational facilities, and a dwelling unit for the owner-operator or staff and their family.

“RETREAT CENTRE” means a use that provides for the operation of spiritual, cultural or educational
indoor or outdoor programs for single-day or in-residence guest use, and may include sleeping
accommodation for a maximum of 40 in-residence guests in a single building or cabins; one shared
kitchen and eating area; meeting areas; bathrooms; staff accommodation; one residence for the
manager or owner of the retreat centre; and accessory buildings.

What is a Bed and Breakfast?

Bed and Breakfast (B&B) is a home occupation and can only be operated by a person living on the property. A B&B can contain limited kitchen facilities which may include:

  • plug-in, countertop appliances
  • a mini fridge
  • a small sink.

B&B can be rooms in your home, with or without a private access or can be located in accessory buildings.

The number of rooms you can offer is limited to 4 or 5 dependent on the size of your property.

Licence Fee: $150 per year.

Questions?

Is your business an B&B?

Read more about the requirements and regulations.

Apply Now

Provide all of the following documents:

You may be requested to submit a site sketch of your property or other documents if more information is required.

IMPORTANT: Do not advertise your B&B business before your licence has been issued. Advertising is a business activity that requires a licence. Advertising your business without a licence is subject to enforcement action including fines. The blocking out of dates is not adequate to avoid enforcement action.

*One parking space per guest room is required in addition to any other uses (such as primary dwelling, secondary suite, home occupation employee parking). Please note that tandem parking is not permitted in residential zones.

Definitions

“BED AND BREAKFAST” means the provision of sleeping accommodation, toilet facilities and a breakfast meal to transient paying guests as a home occupation.

“HOME OCCUPATION” means an occupation carried on for remuneration that is accessory to the
residential use of a dwelling unit.

“LIMITED KITCHEN FACILITIES” means an area that is equipped or capable of being equipped with plugin countertop cooking appliances, a mini fridge, and a small sink for activities related to the preparation and cooking of food.

What is a Home-Based Business – Non-Public Access?

A Home-Based Business – Non-Public Access includes all business that takes place entirely within the home of the operator. This includes businesses such as:

  • editors
  • accountants
  • health services
  • any businesses that takes place entirely online or by phone
  • consultants or other business people that provide their services or conduct workshops for clients that access the home by appointment only.

If you meet clients elsewhere or do other work outside the home, you will be classified as a Contractor with an at home component.

A Home-Based Business can only be operated by a resident of the property.

Licence Fee: $25 per year.

Apply Now

Provide the following documents:

Definitions

“Home-Based Business – Non-Public Access” means a business carried on in a residential
property by a resident of that property, which business is accessory and subordinate to the
residential use and does not have regular business hours open to the public.

What is a Commercial business?

A Commercial business licence covers all types of commercial activity. This could include retail stores, offices of health practitioners, kennels, or real estate agents or other service providers with an office outside of their home.

A property must be zoned to support the type of business you wish to operate.

Licence Fee: $125 per year.

Apply Now

Provide the following documents:

Definitions

“Commercial” means any business other than “Bed and Breakfast”, “Commercial Guest
Accommodation”, “Guest House”, “Home-Based Business – Public Access” or “Home-Based
Business – Non-Public Access”;

What is a Non-Profit Organization?

A Non-Profit Organization must be registered as a not-for profit or charity in BC or Canada. This type of operation can carry out a wide variety of work under this business licence.

Licence Fee: Free

Apply Now

Provide the following documents:

Definitions

“Non-Profit Organization” includes a society registered in British Columbia or Federally and a
registered charity;

What is a Home-Based Business – Public Access ?

A Home-Based Business – Public Access includes all business that takes place entirely within the home and has hours that the business are open for the public to drop in without an appointment. This could include a yoga studio where pre-registration is not required, or an artist that opens a home studio gallery for public sales.

A Home-Based Business – Public Access can only be operated by a resident of the property.

Licence Fee: $100 per year.

Apply Now

Provide the following documents:

Definitions

“Home-Based Business – Public Access” means a business carried on in a residential property by
a resident, which business is accessory and subordinate to the residential use and has regular
business hours open to the public;

What is Commercial Guest Accommodations?

Commercial Guest Accommodations are for all overnight accommodations that take place on a property that is not zoned for residential use. This category includes inns or any hotel like operation.

Commercial Guest Accommodations cannot be operated on residential property. A property must be zoned to include Commercial Guest Accommodations.

Licence Fee: $150 per year.

Questions?

Is your business an Commercial Guest Accommodations?

Read more about the requirements and regulations.

Apply Now

Provide the following documents:

Definitions

“COMMERCIAL GUEST ACCOMMODATION” means overnight guest sleeping accommodation for transient paying guests, which is not a bed and breakfast and may include a washroom and kitchen within the individual unit.

What is a Guest House?

A Guest House provides overnight accommodations that can include a common kitchen and dining room, meeting rooms, workshops etc. and a home for the owner or staff.

A Guest House cannot be operated on residential property. A property must be zoned to include Guest House.

Licence Fee: $150 per year.

Questions?

Is your business an Guest House?

Read more about the requirements and regulations.

Apply Now

Provide the following documents:

Definitions

“GUEST HOUSE” means a use that provides for overnight guest accommodation for transient paying
guests, and may include a communal dining room, kitchen facility, the provision of accessory group
meetings/courses/workshops, recreational facilities, and a dwelling unit for the owner-operator or staff and their family.

What do you need to know once you have a licence?

Changes to your Business

Please contact Bowen Island Municipality with any changes to your business operation.

Changes to your business that we need to know about include but are not limited to:

  • a change to contact information
  • an address change
  • a change to the Designated Individual for an RGA,
  • adding rooms to a B&B,
  • a change of category such as from a contractor to commercial or home-based without public access to one with public access.
  • If you close your on Island business or if your non-resident business will no longer be operating on Bowen Island.

Business licences are not transferable. If you sell your business, your business licence is cancelled and the new owner must apply for a business licence.

What Communications You Can Expect

  • Annual renewal information emails and notices. Once the licence fee has been processed you will no longer receive these emails.
  • You may recieve emails about changes to regulations for your licence category.
  • You could also receive emails from the Community Economic Development Committee. (CDEC) Let us know if you do not want to recieve CDEC communications.

Most communications are by email, Questions? Please call or make an appointment to talk to a staff member in person.

Business Search

Business Search is an online search tool for all businesses that are licenced to operate on Bowen Island. Your listing will be based on the information provided on your licence application.

Personal email address such as “yourname@hotmail.com” and home addresses will not be included in the Business Search.

If you would like to make changes to your listing or add additional “tags” just contact us at the email address below.

If youd don’t want to be included in the Business Search, just let us know

Renewal Process

  • In December you will recieve an email reminding you if you have chosen to renew or let your licence expire. This email gives you an opportunity to change your renewal status.
  • In the first week of January renewal notices will be emailed to all licence holders that indicated they want to renew their licence. This notice includes the licence fee amount and the ways it can be paid.
  • Licence fees must be paid before January 31st.
  • After January 31st one overdue notice will be sent to all unpaid accounts before the account is forwarded to Bylaw Services for enforcement action including fines.

Questions? Please contact the Business Licence Inspector at: businesslicence@bimbc.ca or 604-947-4255.