PHOTO CREDIT: SHELLY WOLLMAN

Business Licences

Everything you need to know about obtaining a business licence in Elkford, including information about applications, fees, Inter-Community Business Licences, home-based businesses and inspections.

The District of Elkford requires all businesses within the municipal boundaries to hold a valid business licence for the current year. Business licences must be renewed annually. A valid licence indicates that you have met both District licensing and bylaw requirements and are permitted to operate. Check out our business licence brochure.

Check out our Business License Brochure

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact business@elkford.ca or 250.865.4000.

I Want to Apply for a Business Licence

  1. Discuss your business idea with District staff
  2. Submit a business licence application
  3. Arrange for any necessary inspections
  4. Arrange for any provincial approvals (i.e., Interior Health Authority)
  5. Pay your fee and pick up your licence!

Download a business licence application

Alternately, you may obtain a copy of the application form by emailing business@elkford.ca or visiting the District Office and requesting a hard copy.

How Much do Licences Cost?

The annual fee for a licence (in most cases) is $100 and half of that goes to the Elkford Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit that supports businesses in Elkford. The remaining fees are used to support the licensing program and the department responsible for economic development in the District of Elkford.

The District of Elkford, District of Sparwood, and City of Fernie have an Inter-Community Business Licence program for mobile businesses. This allows mobile businesses to work in all three communities without getting three separate licences. There is an additional $100 fee for Inter-Community Business Licences, which is applied toward regional economic development.

Licence renewal notices are sent out every January.

Where can my Business be Located?

The District’s zoning bylaw outlines where certain businesses can operate in Elkford and which rules home-based businesses need to follow. To determine which zone your property is in, visit the District of Elkford’s Webmap Services or contact business@elkford.ca for more information about zoning. 

Types of Businesses in Elkford

Elkford has a diverse set of businesses and a thriving culture of home-based entrepreneurs. Typical licences include:

  • Traditional bricks and mortar (i.e., industrial, grocery and retail stores, commercial)
  • Home-based (i.e., professionals, personal service establishments, crafters with online sales)
  • Service (i.e., contractors with no commercial location in Elkford)
  • Mobile (i.e., food trucks)

Home-based Businesses

Elkford is home to more than 40 home-based businesses! Your home can be the start of your new venture, but be sure to review our rules for home-based businesses, which are outlined in the District’s zoning bylaw. This includes things like not generating excessive traffic, creating excessive noise or exhaust. These rules make sure that home-based businesses operate in harmony with their residential neighbourhood.

Changing Business Location (or Ownership)

Unless we hear otherwise, we send out business renewal notices to the same person and location as the previous year. Contact us at business@elkford.ca if you are planning to change your business address, ownership or are no longer operating.

Business Utilities

The District of Elkford provides water and sewer utilities to most properties within our municipal boundary. Businesses pay utilities based on the type of use. Home-based businesses will also pay utilities if their businesses specifically involve using water and sewer (i.e., a home-based hair salon that involves hair washing).
Our utility rates are set by bylaw:

Questions about business-related utilities?
Contact us at info@elkford.ca or 250.865.4000. 

Business Inspections

Please note that home-based businesses DO REQUIRE inspections if:

  • You intend to have customers visit the home.
  • You are making physical changes that require a Building Permit.
  • You are going to operate a Personal Service Establishment, Childcare (e.g., Daycare or other programs for children) or other operation that requires Interior Health Approval.
  • You are going to prepare food for sale.

Fire Department
All businesses operating out of commercial premises (i.e., not home-based) are inspected by the Fire Department during the initial application and annually after that.
Building permits
If you need to conduct renovations or change the type of use of a building you will need a Building Permit and associated inspections. Contact building@elkford.ca about getting a building permit.
Provincial permits
The onus is on the business operator to obtain provincial approvals/permits. These often include approvals from the Interior Health Authority (i.e., daycares, personal service establishments or restaurants). You may also need a permit from Technical Safety BC (i.e., for any electrical work).
We recommend starting with Service BC if you don’t know which provincial permits you might need. 

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact business@elkford.ca or 250.865.4000.