When opening up a new business in Toronto, Ontario, it is important to be responsive to the many government regulations that are required. Setting up a business can be a very timely and costly process, so being informed regarding all the legislative requirements is crucial. It is beneficial to communicate with the provincial (Government of Ontario) and local (City of Toronto) councils during the early stages of your business development to ensure that your business is set up for the best possible future.

Before applying for the relevant license and permits for your business, it is important to contact the local zoning office to ensure that your business is permitted in the Zoning By-law. A Zoning By-law is a way to manage the use and development of land. It states how land may be used, the different types of buildings which are allowed and where, and the dimensions of lots, buildings and parking. As a premise in the Kensington district would be ideal for The Place Cafe, we need to make certain that the Zoning By-law permits us to use this premise in this area for the purpose of a boutique coffee house. Once this is approved, we can begin looking into obtaining a license and various permits for our new business.

When you begin a new business, it is necessary to obtain a business license. According to the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division, any premise where food is stored, prepared, or sold for human consumption must be licensed. This includes coffee shops. The most suitable license for our business is the Retail Store (food) license. This license would be suitable as our primary business activity is to provide the public with reception, refreshment and entertainment. In addition, the license includes providing a place where 'foodstuffs', intended to be consumed by humans, will be stored and offered for sale.

In additional to a business license, some businesses require a permit to operate. As for The Place Cafe, we would need to consider obtaining a Road Allowance Permit and a Building Permit. A Road Allowance Permit is explained under Chapter 313 of the Toronto Municipal Code, and discusses using the street and/or sidewalk as part of business activity. The Place Cafe may consider fencing off an area on the sidewalk for chairs, tables and outdoor heaters. Also included in the By-law is the use of signs and banners on public and private property. If we choose to promote our business by hanging a sign or banner outside our premise on public property, we would need to obtain a Temporary Sign Permit.

A Building Permit would allow us to construct, demolish and/or renovate our property to meet the needs of our business, employees and future clients. Our plans must comply with the Ontario Building Code, and meet standards in regards to washroom facilities, fire and exit doors, parking facilities, and sprinkler and alarm systems.

All licensing and permit issuing for Toronto is done through the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division. Their contact details are as follows:
East York Civic Centre
3rd Floor – 850 Coxwell Avenue
Toronto, ON M4C 5RI
Hours of Operation: 8.30am – 4.30pm
Information Line: 416-392-6700

A BN is a 9-digit business identifier registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This agency is a federal organisation and allows businesses to register for a Business Account with them in order to deal with tax matters related to business. It is not mandatory for all business in Canada to have a BN, however our business requires one. This registration would allow The Place Cafe to apply for canada_revenue_agency.jpgprogram accounts such as Corporation income tax, GST/HST, Payroll and Import/Export.
A BIN is a 9-digit number used by the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. It is used to recognize provincial business accounts, and enables easy communication with the Government of Ontario about any business matters. In addition, a BIN guarantees an Ontario Master Business License. This license will allow The Place Cafe to register and/or renew its business name, and apply for the Ontario Employer Health Tax and Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board accounts.