Licences

A photograph of espresso machine, glass blowing workshop and a breakfast table

Effective January 1, 2019, businesses operating on Bowen Island need a business licence. This applies to commercial, home-based, non-profit and contractor businesses. This also applies to off-island businesses that are coming into the community to perform work.

There will be a transition period in early 2019 while the business licensing program is being set up. Municipal staff are accepting applications and issuing Business Licences now.

Click here to apply for a Business Licence

A business licensing program ensures that the Municipality’s land use regulations, building and fire codes and other community health and safety requirements are followed by local businesses. It also assists in collecting important statistics about local businesses to help understand trends that impact municipal policy decisions. It will help the Municipality better understand the economy of Bowen Island, allowing for better planning, and enabling support for Bowen Island businesses.

Types of businesses that need a licence

  • Commercial businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores and farm stores
  • Bed & Breakfast accommodations
  • Home-based businesses such as hair salons, accountants and craftsperson workshops (note, there are different fees for home-based businesses, depending on whether the business has hours open to the public)
  • Contractors
  • Non-profit organizations (no fee required)
  • Off-island businesses that are performing work on Bowen Island

Types of businesses that do not need a licence

  • Yard or garage sales
  • Buskers or street entertainers
  • Vendors selling goods at a farmer’s market or craft fair that is already licensed
  • Off-island businesses that are delivering or selling goods to merchants who are reselling the goods on Bowen Island
  • Rental properties subject to the Residential Tenancy Act

Please review Business Licence Bylaw No. 465, 2018 for the definitions of businesses that do and do not require a licence.

Not sure if your business requires a licence? Please contact Tess Taylor, Business Licence Inspector at 604-947-4255 or ttaylor@bimbc.ca.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will business licences be required?

The Business Licence Bylaw takes effect on January 1, 2019. There will be a transition period in early 2019 while the business licensing program is being set up. Municipal staff will begin accepting applications in January 2019.

How will business licences impact businesses?

Businesses will have to apply and pay a fee for a business licence, and renew this every year.

Bowen Island Municipality will develop an online business directory for local businesses that can be used as a tool for customers to find these businesses.

With detailed and up-to-date contact information, Bowen Island Municipality will be able to contact business owners in the event of an emergency or other situation that may affect the operation of the business.

How will business licences benefit the community and the economy?

A business licensing program ensures that the Municipality’s land use regulations, building and fire codes and other community health and safety requirements are followed by local businesses. It also assists in collecting important statistics about local businesses to help understand trends that impact Municipal policy decisions.

When businesses apply for a licence, information about the business will be collected to develop statistical information about our local economy. Once detailed statistics are available, Bowen Island Municipality will be able to use this information in grant applications for community economic development funding from the provincial and federal governments.

An online business directory will draw customers to Bowen Island businesses, encouraging them to seek local services. This will improve the local economy.

With detailed and up-to-date contact information, Bowen Island Municipality will be able to contact business owners in the event of an emergency or other situation that may affect the operation of the business.

Why are there fees for business licences?

The licence fees help fund costs related to administering the program and will become a part of the Municipality’s annual financial plan. The fees are nominal and based on a simple structure to minimize impacts to businesses.

What will the fees be used for?

The revenues generated from business licence fees will go towards paying for the administration of the business licensing program.

Do home-based artists/craftspeople need a business licence?

Home-based artists or craftspeople who produce and sell products at home, but do not provide regular business hours with access to the public, will need a business licence. The annual licence fee is only $25.

If home-based businesses have regular hours where customers access the home to purchase the product or service, they will need a business licence and will pay an annual fee of $100.

Businesses that produce a product at home and bring it to a farmer’s market or craft fair to sell it, do not need a licence. Note, the farmer’s market or craft fair must already be licenced.

Why do business licences have to be renewed every year?

Renewing licences every year ensures that Bowen Island Municipality has the most up-to-date information about businesses. The fees collected will fund the business licensing program and will become a part of the Municipality’s annual financial plan.

Will businesses be fined if they are operating without a licence?

A fining structure will be in place in the case of non-compliance, however, the intent of the program is to benefit the local economy, not to cause hardship to businesses with heavy regulation.

The business licensing program will be administered similarly to bylaw services - based on a structure of education and outreach before possible fining and enforcement.

Will the Business Licence Inspector enter home-based businesses?

For some types of businesses, an inspection may be required as part of the application or renewal process. The Licence Inspector will not arrive at home-based business locations without prior notice.

Why do non-profit organizations need a business licence?

The application process for non-profit organizations will ensure that Bowen Island Municipality can collect contact information, statistical information about the organization and information for the online directory. The fee of $0 means that non-profits do not incur expenses from their limited resources.

The information on this page is a simplified guide to the business licensing program. Please review Business Licence Bylaw No. 465, 2018 for more detail about the regulations.

Business licence fees

A simple and nominal fee structure ensures that businesses of all kinds and income levels are able to comply without hardship.

Category Fee
Bed & Breakfast $100
Commercial $125
Commercial Guest Accommodation $100
Contractor $100
Guest House $100
Home-Based Business with Public Access $100
Home-Based Business without Public Access $25
Non-Profit Organization $0
Non-Resident Business $100

Not sure what category applies to your business? Please contact Tess Taylor, Business Licence Inspector at 604-947-4255 or ttaylor@bimbc.ca.

Background

In most municipalities, business licences are considered a routine part of municipal operations. Of the 162 municipalities in British Columbia, Bowen Island was one of the few that did not require business licences.

A business licensing program ensures that the Municipality’s land use regulations, building and fire codes and other community health and safety requirements are followed by local businesses. It also assists in collecting important statistics about local businesses to help understand trends that impact municipal policy decisions. It will help the Municipality better understand the economy of Bowen Island, allowing for better planning, and enabling support for Bowen Island businesses.

In 2016, Council directed the Economic Development Committee (EDC) to conduct a study to determine whether business licensing would be feasible on Bowen Island. The EDC established a task force, which undertook a number of activities including:

  • Consulting with local businesses at the EDC Business Summit (October 2016)
  • Conducting an online survey of local contractors
  • Reviewing business licensing programs of 16 comparator communities
  • Interviewing and consulting with staff in other municipalities and Metro Vancouver
  • Consulting with various inspection agencies

In 2017, the task force submitted a report to Council, recommending that implementation of a business licensing program be included as a strategic priority related to economic development in Island Plan 2018.

Read the Business Licensing Feasibility Report, dated November 17, 2017

The EDC hosted another business summit in January 2018 where business licensing was discussed with local businesses.

Council asked staff to review the report and return with an analysis of the recommendations, and identified business licensing as a priority in the Island Plan.

In 2018, staff reported back to Council with a detailed analysis of the recommendations, including a proposed business licensing bylaw and a proposed implementation schedule.

Staff Report: July 13, 2018

Open House Display Boards: September 13, 2018

Communication Plan

Staff Report: September 24, 2018

Staff Report: October 1, 2018

The Business Licence Bylaw No. 465, 2018 was adopted on October 9, 2018, and will take effect on January 1, 2019.

There will be a transition period in early 2019 while the business licensing program is being set up. Municipal staff will begin accepting applications in January 2019.

During this time, staff will also be developing an online business directory that will be available for the public to find businesses on Bowen Island, and an online platform that will make applying and paying for business licences as simple as possible for businesses.

Last Updated on 2019-02-19 at 1:10 PM