Business Licensing

Businesses selling products and services within the City of Cornwall may be required to obtain a Business License. Each municipality operates under a separate Business License By-Law. The information below will assist you in choosing the Business License that best defines your business.

Your Business License application will require inspection(s) and approval(s) by staff of Zoning, Building, By-Law, Health and Fire. The Business Licensing Agent will coordinate this process with you.

 The review process varies based on the approvals that are required. In most cases, licenses can be issued within six weeks of receiving a fully completed application. However, you may experience a delay if you do not submit a fully completed application or if you fail to meet some of the licensing requirements.


A few items to keep in mind:

  1. Determine where your business will be located. Zoning will be part of the approval process to ensure your new location is zoned for your type of business.
  2. Check for open building permits at your new location because it could impact your license.
  3. If you plan to make modifications to your space, you may need a building permit. If you need a building permit it must be issued, and the building inspections must be passed before your Business License can be issued. A business license cannot be issued with an open building permit.
  4. Check with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to understand the Public Health requirements for your business.
  5. Search for the type of business you plan to open in the Business License By-Law to learn about rules that apply to your business, and other key licensing information.
  6. If you as an applicant, are not the business owner, you will require an authorization letter from the business owner.
  7. A fully completed application including the necessary documentation must be provided before the process starts.



  1. A fully completed Business License Application
  2. Proof of age
  3. Proof of Liability Insurance
  4. Ownership:
  • Business Name: a current Business Names Report certified by the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services;
  • Partnership: a copy of the registered declaration of partnership; and
  • Corporation: a current Corporation Profile Report certified by the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services.

5. A floor plan (sample) including:

  • Gross floor area and/or gross leasable area;
  • Proposed seating;
  • Public washrooms;
  • Garbage receptacles; and
  • Fire exits.  

6. A site plan (sample) indicating the following:

  • Property boundaries;
  • Roadways abutting the property;
  • All access to property from the roadway;
  • Existing and proposed building(s) and/or structure(s) on the property;
  • Setbacks of building(s)/structure(s) from all property lines;
    • Existing and proposed parking spaces (i.e., technical parking stalls, barrier-free parking stalls, loading spaces, and bicycle parking amenities, as applicable);
  • Parking calculation for all land uses on the property; and
  • Zoning matrix identifying the required and provided zoning standards including but not limited to zoning of the subject property, lot area, lot frontage, lot occupancy, existing and proposed land use(s), etc.

7. Authorization letter from the business owner.

8. License Fees



  • Building Services
  • By-Law Services
  • Fire Services
  • Planning Services
  • Health Unit


  • Display of License; prominent place
    • Vehicle: on vehicle, or
    • If no permanent place: on person
  • Standards
    • Clean & sanitary, 
    • Appropriate waste disposal, and
    • Appropriate illumination
  • No signs of Discrimination.
  • Location of Business matches the license.
  • Site (sample) & Floor (sample) Plan match what was provided in the Application.


a)    Email:

b)    Fax: (613) 930-7426;

c)    In Person: Cornwall Civic Complex, 100 Water Street East, 2nd Floor; or

d)    Speak directly with the Parking and Licensing Agent: (613) 930-2787, Ext #2225.



  • Business Licenses must be renewed annually by December 31. Registered businesses will receive a notice via email. Upon notification, you should promptly renew your license to avoid a late fee.


  • Processing time depends on the type of license you need and how many departments or organizations need to review your application. The Parking and Licensing Agent can give you an idea of how long it might take, but if there are any problems found during the review it could slow things down. We will let you know if there are any issues with your application. 


  • Business License fees will depend on the type of business. 

Class of business

Special events


  • The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre (CBEC) provides support and guidance to existing business owners and entrepreneurs across The City of Cornwall, The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry and Akwesasne. The Centre is designed to help you start and/or grow a business. CBEC offers a variety of services that assist new and existing entrepreneurs find success.
  • For assistance from the Business Enterprise Centre, call 613-930-2787 ext. 2277 or 2276, or click here to visit their website.  


  • In most cases, licenses can be issued within 3-4 weeks of receiving the application. However, you may experience a delay if you did not submit enough information or if you failed to meet some of the licensing requirements or failed the inspections. 


  • Your license application may require an inspection and approval by staff of Zoning, Building, Health or Fire.  You along with the department will coordinate this process. 


  • Parking and Licensing Agent: 

  • Phone: 613-930-2787, Ext: 2225

  • In-person at Cornwall Civic Complex, 100 Water Street East, 2nd Floor


1. Accommodations

accommodationMeans any premise designated to be used in whole or in part, for the accommodation of persons, other than those permanently residing at that location.

Including but not limited to:

  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Boarding
  • Lodging
  • Rooming House



 2. Adult Entertainment

Means any place of business including an adult video store or body rub parlour in which entertainment or services designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations are provided. It also includes attendants, meaning every person employed in or performs at an establishment that provides services designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations at an Adult Entertainment Establishment.


 3. Amusement Place

Means any place, designed for and equipped to provide amusement activities such as a pleasant diversion or distraction.

Including but not limited to:

  • Batting Cages
  • Driving Ranges
  • Golf Courses
  • Internet Gaming Facilities and Internet Cafes
  • Theatres
  • Rock Climbing Facilities
  • Go-Carts, Laser Tag, Mini-Golf, Paint Ball
  • Roller Skate, In-line Skate, Skateboard facilities
  • Arcades, Arenas, Billiards, Bowling Alleys, and Waterslides


 4. Automotive Centre

Means a place where a person can obtain detailing, washing, repairs or maintenance on their vehicles or where the public can obtain fuels or oils for their vehicles.

Including but not limited to:

  • Garage
  • Mobile Auto Repair
  • Shop
  • Gas Pumps
  • Car Wash


 5. Food Services
Means any premise or vehicle, including those that can be towed or propelled by mechanical or muscular power, or other itinerant food preparation premises from which food prepared on site or off site is offered for sale to the public. Also includes any place where fresh, frozen or previously frozen meat, including poultry, game, delicatessen and other meat products and fish including freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and every type of seafood and shellfish, is sold.

Including but not limited to:

  • Eating Establishment, Food Premises, Brewery
  • Cannabis Edibles
  • Corner Store, Grocery Store
  • Food Manufacturer, Mobile Food Premise, and Ice Cream


 6. Personal Services
Means any premises or part thereof where substances, instruments, tools or other equipment are applied to any part of the human body for purposes of aesthetic and cosmetic treatment.

Including but not limited to:

  • Manicuring, Nail Treatment,
  • Tanning
  • Electrolysis
  • Laser Hair Removal
  • Tattooing, Body-Piercing, Ear-Piercing and Micro-Pigmentation Services
  • Washing, Cutting, Trimming, Shaving of Hair or other similar types of Holistic Services.


 7. Salesperson

Means any person who goes from place to place on foot or in a vehicle for the purpose of: Selling goods and services; entering into contracts for the sale of goods or services which are to be delivered at a later date; promoting the sale of goods and services by encouraging individual to come to a person’s regular place of business; or selling or offering of goods or services for sale by public action.


 8. Special Events
Means any special event involving multiple exhibitors at one location exhibiting, offering for sale services and/or distributing of, on a temporary basis, goods, wares, and/or merchandise to the general public.

Including but not limited to:

  • Flea Markets
  • Retail Exhibitions
  • Hobby Exhibitions
  • Festivals
  • Food Markets
  • Sport Tournaments


phone icon Contact Us