The City of Markham Licensing Section processes over 10,000 licences to pet owners, individuals and to businesses owners and operators involved in most mobile, stationary and personal service industries, business trades and callings. The renewal of licences occurs annually for some classes of licences and upon the date of issue or on anniversary dates for other classes of licences. New business licence applications and renewals are primarily processed by City staff at the City Centre but licensing “agents” located throughout the municipality are utilized for animal licence sales and renewals. The licensing process includes a review of required documentations and vehicle inspections where the business involves the operation of a vehicle. The renewal of licences is a major function of the Licensing Section. The status of a licence can be as follows:
- Issued (In Good Standing)
There are no outstanding issues regarding the licensee.
The licence is no longer valid for a specific length of time, ranging from days to years. If the suspension is longer than the expiry date of the licence, the licensee must reapply to be licensed when the suspension is finished.
The licence is no longer valid and the individual cannot reapply to the City for a licence for period of time established policy. In some cases it maybe up to 2 years from the date of revocation.
The application to become a licensee is not granted. The individual cannot reapply for a licence for period of time established policy. In some cases it maybe up to 2 years from the date of refusal.
What We Don’t Do:
We don’t deal with health or food safety complaints, for example, health or cleanliness complaints regarding a particular restaurant should be directed to the York Region Health Department. http://www.york.ca/Departments/Health+Services/Public+Health
We don’t mediate or deal with sketchy business practices. For example complaints regarding consumer fraud should be directed to the Ministry of Consumer Services http://www.sse.gov.on.ca
We don’t mediate contract disputes except where the City of Markham sets, by by-law, the tariff for the provision of services, as example, a taxi cab fee. Most retail businesses do not require a Markham Business Licence, although a licence is required for the retail sale of tobacco, food, gasoline, adult entertainment goods, or second hand goods.
About the Licensing Section
The Licensing Section is composed of an “Administrative Unit” and an “Enforcement and Investigations Unit.” Together these Units work to ensure public health, safety, and to protect the public from nuisance and consumer fraud. The Licensing Officer directs and is accountable for these two units that collaborate to ensure public confidence in the business sector by maintaining the integrity of the business through regulation, standards setting, education and enforcement.
The Licensing Officer
The City of Markham Licensing Officer has express legislative authority to exercise certain powers. Specifically, he/she is empowered to license and conduct investigations of persons seeking to be a business owner or operator, a trade’s person or a business calling (taxi and limo drivers, refreshment vehicle operators, pedlars, auctioneers, aestheticians, sign installer etc.) and to register Holistic Practitioners, and to approve contracts/leases relating to licensed businesses. He/she may delegate powers to Licensing Administrative staff subject to any conditions set out in the delegation. He/she reports to the Manager of By-law Enforcement and Licensing a Division of the Clerks Department.
In addition to having the responsibility for regulating various business, trades and callings within the City of Markham, the Licensing Officer directs and is accountable for two units that collaborate together to ensure public confidence in the business sector by maintaining the integrity of the business through regulation, standards setting and through enforcement. The Licensing Section is composed of an “Administrative Unit” and an “Enforcement and Investigations Unit.” Together these Units work to ensure public health, safety, and to protect the public from nuisance and consumer fraud.
“Key Functions” of the Licensing Officer” include:
- Managing the day-to-day operations of the Section in accordance with accepted City business and financial practices;
- Develop, recommend, enforce and apply policies with integrity and honesty;
- Establish and apply a licensing framework to support the organizational mandate of protection of the travelling public and of the business consumer by ensuring health and safety standards, and by providing protection from nuisance and consumer protection through regulation;
- To carry out the policies and procedures as approved by the Mayor and Members of Council;
- Preparation of an annual report and business plan for the Section, as directed; and
- Establish and maintain, a performance review system for staff
The Licensing Section’s “Administration Unit” consists of a Licensing Co-ordinator and Licensing Clerks who are also appointed as “Commissioners of Oath”. They are led and directed by the City’s Licensing Officer. Licensing Co-ordinator/Clerks work closely with Provincial Offence Licensing Enforcement Investigators and with York Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.
“Key Functions” of the Licensing Section’s “Administration Unit” include:
- Receive, process and issue new licences and the renewal of licence applications;
- Research, review and recommend of new policy matters;
- Preparate of statistical reports;
- Data management associated with processing applications for licence and permits and complaints; and
- Respond to counter, e-mail, telephone inquires and complaints
“Enforcement and Investigations Unit”
The Licensing Section’s “Enforcement and Investigation Unit” consists of Provincial Offences Officers who are led and directed by the City’s Licensing Officer. Enforcement investigators work closely with York Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.
“Key Functions” of the Licensing Section’s “Enforcement and Investigations Unit” include:
- Conduct investigations of the more serious business licensing violations such as fraud and hidden ownerships;
- Due diligence investigations on licence applicants or licensees;
- Investigations into illegal business activities;
- Investigations of mobile, stationary and personal service by-law infractions
- Monitoring and enforcing compliance programs;
- Liaison between the Committee, the police community and other regulatory bodies in Ontario;
- Enforcement of Committee’s orders and rulings.
The Licence Appeal Committee
The Licence Appeal Committee is a Committee that reports to the City of Markham Council. The Committee has the same responsibilities of Licensing Section namely that of ensuring public health, safety, protection from nuisance and consumer protection.
Public confidence in the business sector is achieved through the unbiased, open and transparent adjudication of disputes. The Committee remains accountable to City Council through a number of mechanisms, including reports that are reviewed by Council. The Committee performs an adjudicative function through the conduct of hearings on regulatory matters. The Committee hears appeals of rulings made by the Licensing Officer under the provisions of the City’s Licensing By-laws. Based on the Rules of Procedures adopted by the Licensing Committee Appeals are more accessible to licensees than most other appeal procedures and are less formal and less costly.
Why You Should Licence Your Business
It’s the law that certain types of business activities be licensed. Municipalities enact regulations that guide and govern the operation of businesses to help ensure minimum standards as a means to protect the health, safety, and persons and to provide consumer protection and protection from nuisances associated or created by the operation of a business.
Frequently Asked Questions by Business Owners and Operators
What Businesses Are Licensed By Markham?
- Adult Entertainment Parlours (businesses that provide for goods or services of an adult nature)
- Places of Amusement (Exhibitions, Video and Computer Arcades)
- Barbers, Hairdressers or other personal service providers, such as aestheticians, manicurists,
- Holistic Practitioners and Holistic Centres (Reflexologists, Aroma Therapists Acupuncturist and other modalities)
- Body Rub parlours and massage attendants (other than Registered Massage Therapists)
- Bowling Alleys and Billiards Halls and Public Halls
- Driving Schools and Instructors
- Dry Cleaning Depots
- All Restaurants, Cafe’s, Food Stores, Snack Bars, Food Kiosks, including any business selling any product for public consumption, such as bulk foods, spices, loose tea, candy, etc.
- Gas Bars and stations, Car Washes and Auto Repair garages and body shops
- Golf Driving Ranges and Horse Riding Stables
- Taxicabs, Taxi brokers, and taxi drivers, limousines and drivers, tow truck owners and drivers
- Hot Dog Carts and Catering vehicles
- Salvage Yards, second hand goods dealers
- Temporary Advertising signs, including A-frame signs, mobile signs or banner signs
- Special Sales events (sales events held periodically in locations other than commercial retail properties)
- Tobacco sales
- Driveway paving installers and contractors,
For individual licence fee, click the link to the “Fees and Charges By-law”
Is my Business Number (BN) or Business Identification Number (BIN) the same as a Business Licence issued by the City of Markham?
No, the Business Number (BN) is a number issued by the federal government. Each business requires one BN for its legal entity. www.cra-arc.gc.ca. In addition to the Business Number, a business requires an Ontario Business Identification Number (BIN).
Is my Master Business Licence (MBL) the Same as a Business Licence issued by the City of Markham?
No. A Master Business Licence (MBL) is an official proof of your business name registration. The MBL can be used as proof of business name registration at financial institutions and to facilitate other business-related transactions with the Ontario government. If you have not already registered your Business you may also want to use Business Registration Online (BRO) to register.
How Do I Get a Licence?
Most business licences require that the business owner or partner, or in the case of a corporation, a director of the corporation complete a simple application and pay the appropriate fee. The applicant will be required to provide ”Articles of Incorporation”, if the business is owned by a corporation, and one of the directors listed in the Articles will be required to complete an affidavit in front of the Licensing Officer. If the owner is “Sole Proprietor” of the business, the Licensing Officer will require a “Master Business Licence”, issued by the Province of Ontario. This document registers the name of the business for a period of five years. In some cases other documents and licensing requirements must be produced. For certain classes of licences these include Criminal Background Police Reports, Vulnerable Sector Screening Reports, Ontario Ministry of Transportation Driver Abstracts and Vehicle Safety Fitness Reports and proof of Harmonized Sales Tax Registration.
To see if you require a Markham Business Licence for your business, drop by the Business Licensing Office at 101 Town Centre Boulevard., Markham, or phone (905 477-5530).
What Other Business Information is Available to Me?
BizPal is a free online service that helps you identify and obtain the permits and licences you need in order to open or expand your business. BizPaL asks you to answer a short series of questions about the type of business you want to start or expand. Based on your answers, it provides you with a customized list of permits and licences you'll need from all levels of government - and instructions on how to obtain them. You can then save, print or email your results for future reference.You may also contact the Markham Small Business Office. It is conveniently located at: Markham Convergence Centre 7271 Warden Avenue, Markham, Ontario L3R 5X5 or Telephone: 905-477-7000 Extension 6722 Fax: 905-477-2706 E-mail: email@example.com
What is the Authority That a Municipality Relies Upon to Make Me Get a Licence?
The Ontario Municipal Act grants general authority to all municipalities to govern jurisdictions relating to “Health, Safety, and Well Being”, Animals, and Business Licensing. It also provides specific powers to municipalities to pass by-laws with respect to “Nuisance” and the “Closing of Retail Business Establishments”. Municipalities may by by-law prohibit or regulate businesses either wholly or partly carried on within a municipality even if the business is being carried on from a location outside the municipality.
What Does Municipal Business Licensing Do For My Business and Customers?
Licensing provides consumer protection and protects the health and safety of customers by discouraging questionable business practices and by regulating other business practices. Business licensing helps to ensures compliance with all applicable business law and reduces nuisance effects caused by unregulated businesses. Licensing reduces conflicts between businesses and the community through its role as a Regulator. The Regulator supports licensed businesses through the application of its investigative and mediation powers and the through its powers to revoke or to attach operating conditions to business licences. In this way, the Regulator ensures that businesses are operated in accordance with honesty, integrity and all applicable law.
Is It My Right to Make a Living and to Engage in or Operate a Business?
No. The right to engage in or to operate a business is not entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (link) . A municipal business licence is a privilege not a right just as a licencee to operate a motor vehicle is a privilege and not a right.
Where Can I Apply for a Municipal Business Licence?
You can apply for a business licence, Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM the City of Markham Licensing Counter at the Markham Civic Center 101 Town Centre Boulevard (Highway 7 and Warden Avenue) Main Floor.
After I Apply for a Business Licence, How Long Must I Wait Before My Licence is Issued?
The review process varies based on the information provided. In most cases, Licences can be issued within six weeks of receiving the application; some Licences are even issued within minutes. However, you may experience a delay if you did not submit enough information or if you failed to meet some of the Licensing requirements.
How Much Does a Business Licence Cost?
Licensing fees and processing charges vary. Late fees maybe applied. Licence Fees and Charges are annually adjusted in April of each year based on any increases to the All Item Toronto Index of the Consumer Price Index (C.P.I.).
Will I Have to Renew My Licence Each Year?
All Licences are issued for a 365 day term unless otherwise specified by a condition attached to the licence. As a courtesy, licencees are notified by mail of their approaching expiry date. Upon receipt of the “Renewal Notice” you should promptly renew your Licence to avoid a Late Fee. Licences must be renewed on or before the expiry date. Licences expire after one year of the date of issue or if based on a calendar system December 31st if of the year the licence was issued.
What Happens If I Apply for a Business Licence Mid- Term?
You will be issued a licence that will valid until the end of the current licensing term. The business licence fee will be pro-rated. If a person applies for a food licence on August 15th and the annual licence fees is $207.50 they will be required to pay $78.38.
What if I’m Turned Down?
Where a review of a licence application determines that the person seeking to be a business owner or operator, a trade’s person or to act in a business calling (taxi and limo drivers) is not entitled to be licensed because they do not meet the licence requirements of the by-law or the Standard Character and Driving Record Criteria policy, an applicant shall not be licensed. Applicants who have been refused a licence may appeal the decision of the Licensing Officer within 30 days of receipt of a written decision and upon payment of the applicable Appeal Fee.
What if I Do Not Appeal?
The decision of the Licensing Officer is final and binding where a licence applicant does not appeal within the time established by by-law.
How Do I Register a New Business?
There are several ways that you can register a new business: Visit the Ministry of Government Services Web site for direction on starting a new business and how you can register a new business.
What Should I Do Before Closing a Business?
You must contact the City of Markham and advise the Licensing Section. Licences are not transferable. The new owner cannot assume your current licence. If a business is closing and vacating their premises they should notify us of that fact so we can update our records and cancel the Licence otherwise you will keep getting renewal notices. You should also contact the Ministry of Government Services for more information on closing your business or dissolving your corporation.
Can a Municipal Licensing By-law Require Me to Use a Certain Vehicle or Specify Other Operating Requirements?
Yes, a proper and effective business licensing scheme includes the ability to regulate business premises and the equipment and other personal property used or kept for hire in the business.
Am I Obligated to Allow My Taxicab or Tow Truck to be Inspected if I am Off Duty?
Yes, the courts have decided that a taxicab driver does not have to be actually driving or making their service available to the public for hire or engagement before it can be inspected. This decision applies to all classes of mobile vehicle operators and includes the requirement to produce a licence when requested to do so by a Licensing or Police Officer. If you do not comply you maybe charged for “Obstruction” pursuant to Section 426 (1) The Ontario Municipal Act.
I Want to Lease and Rent Out Mobile Signs To Markham Businesses. Do I need a Licence in Markham if my Office is located in Toronto?
Yes, The Ontario Municipal Act empowers municipalities to licence businesses that are carried on within the municipality even if the business is being carried on from a location outside of the municipality.
Frequently Asked Questions Service/End Users
What Stakeholders are Protected by Licensing and How and What are they Protected From?
The health and safety of consumers and the market share and reputation of the legitimate business community are protected through licensing. Licensing systems involve the establishment of regulations, the investigation of complaints, the implementation of pro-active enforcement strategies and education awareness programs. The best consumer protection is widespread public awareness of consumer rights and common scams. Licensing through education enhances consumer protection and reduces the risk of nuisance that a business might otherwise generate. Licensing protects the interest of legitimate business owners and operators by closing down unscrupulous operators that might otherwise tarnish the reputations of licensed businesses.
What Happens to the Compliant that I File?
Consumer complaints filed with the City of Markham Licensing Section may form the basis for an investigation into a company's business practices. In some cases, significant numbers of complaints about a business may give rise to legal action, not on behalf of the individual complainants but to enforce municipal law. The decision to pursue or file a civil lawsuit is based on a number of factors and is at the sole discretion of the victim or complainant.
Complaints are investigated on behalf of the complainant and for the public good. Although the City of Markham cannot represent individual consumers nevertheless, some legal actions do produce restitution for individual consumers.
What Type of Businesses Does the City Licence?
The City of Markham licences the owners and operators of many businesses, as well as individuals’ engaged in certain trades and callings. Licences are grouped in to three main categories Stationary, Mobile and Personal Service.
What is the Role of the Licensing Section?
The City of Markham Licensing Section manages its approach to compliance and enforcement through education and outreach, inspections, response to incidents, voluntary abatement, orders, tickets and prosecutions. The City focuses its initial efforts on education when responding to reports of suspected non-compliance. Questions or non-compliance reports should be directed to the City of Markham Licensing Counter office during regular business hours by calling our Contact Centre at 905- 477-7000.
I Want to Complain About the Driving School Operator and the Beginner Driver Education Course That I Took. Can I File a Complaint With the City of Markham?
Although the City of Markham regulates by by-law the operators and instructors of driving schools and inspects the vehicles that they use we do not regulate the content of the courses that are taught in the class room or the delivery of those services. As a student, you have entered a consumer/contractual relationship with your course driving school. Should you have a complaint about a school not fulfilling its contractual obligations, please contact the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services
What is The Difference Between a Taxicab and Limousine?
Taxis are privately owned government licensed and regulated sedans or vans having a maximum passenger seating capacity of five persons. Taxis provide “for hire” public transportation “on demand” and on “prearranged bases”. Taxis are inspected for cleanliness, quality standards and their drivers have under gone customer service, sensitivity, defensive driving and accessibility training. They will have a meter in the car that has been calibrated and sealed by the municipality and they may operate on a on a flat rate where the trip destination ends outside of the municipality. To facilitate “on demand” customer requests taxicabs queue in “Taxi Stands.” Conversely, a limousine is a licensed luxury vehicle with a seating capacity for more than five passengers. Limousines have drivers that wear uniforms and who provide “for hire” transportation services on a “prearranged base” only. Limousines do not have roof lights or meters. They run on flat rates within the municipality and where the trip ends out side of the municipality. They are prohibited from standing outside hotels or shopping centres.
What Are Private Cars and How Can I Identify Them?
Private Cars are illegal taxis or limousines for hire that provide both on demand and prearranged transportation services. They will often advertise discount rates in local newspapers, on the internet or by word of mouth. Private Cars operate within municipalities without valid municipal vehicle business licences. Private Cars are usually not equipped with a roof light and will not displaying business names, logos, or telephone numbers. Private cars are not inspected for cleanliness, quality standards and their drivers have not under gone any training. They operate on a flat rate within the municipality. They will not have a meter in the car that has been calibrated and sealed by the municipality. Meters in licensed taxis ensure that the travelling public are not charge mileage rates in excess of the approved rates. Operators of private cars often advertise that they charge a lesser rate than those operators and vehicles that are municipally licensed. There is a temptation to hire these operators for trips within the City or even to places outside the City of Markham. Travellers are warned that they could in fact be paying more than a meter rate for a flat rate agreement that they enter into. Travellers won’t know if the flat rate that is quoted is a “bargain” because there won’t be a meter to compare it with. When you hire a licensed taxi cab and agree to a flat rate the driver must engage the meter at the commencement of the trip. Where the flat rate is more than the meter rate bylaw you will only be required to pay the lower rate.
What are Tow Truck Chasers and How Can I Identify Them?
Chasers are typically tow trucks that suddenly appear at accident scenes and offer to tow or convey inoperable or intact vehicles for remuneration. Some operate within municipalities without valid municipal vehicle business licences. Typically, unlicensed Tow Truck Chasers are not equipped with mandatory equipment including safety equipment, first aid supplies, roof lights, and vehicle side numbers and a municipal licence plate that identifies the tow truck. You usually won’t see any operator’s names, brokerage names, logos, or telephone numbers on these vehicles either and they won’t have full insurance coverage.
Is There Other Protection from Illegal Taxicab Operators?
Yes. The Highway Traffic Act R.S.O. prohibits the picking up passenger for compensation where a licence to do so is required by a municipality. A driver of a motor vehicle other than a bus shall not pick up a passenger for the purpose of transporting him or her for compensation where a licence is required to do so by a municipal by-law.
Are All Taxicab, Limousine and Tow Truck Drivers Required to Issue Receipts?
No. Taxicab and Limousine Drivers are only required to provide receipts unless requested by the customer. Where a customer requests a receipt the receipt must include certain information. Receipts must break out the H.S.T. as this tax is already included in the meter rate. On the contrary, Tow Truck Drivers must issue a receipt for every towing service that is provided. The customer does not have to ask for a receipt.
Sample Taxicab Meter Receipt
Taxi Cab Ride $40.00
H.S.T @13% $05.20
Amount Due $45.20
What Other Consequences Are There if I Use a Private Car or an Unlicensed Tow Truck?
Remember when electing to use an unlicensed transportation operator or an unlicensed tow truck service you relinquish your right for restitution in the event of poor service or for being overcharged. You also sacrifice the guarantee that municipal licensing brings namely that the vehicle operators have submitted proof of valid insurance, that their vehicle meet provincial safety requirements and that they have undergone police clearance checks at the time of licensing.
No Plate And No Insurance “Don’t Ride”
Do I Need a Sign Permit to Display my Name and Address on My House?
No, name signs of residents or occupants do not require a permit from the City providing the sign is not more than 0.2 square metres.
There is a Large Advertising Sign at the Corner of the Street Which Blocks my View When I’m Driving. What Can be Done About That?
Call the City of Markham Call Centre and give the details of the location of the sign and your complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate department for investigation. If the sign has been placed illegally, it will be removed by City staff and the owner will be required to pay the removal and retrieval costs. If it is a legally permitted sign, the owner may be required to relocate the sign so as not to impede traffic sight lines for driver/pedestrian safety.
I Wish to Place a Banner on the Front of my Restaurant to Advertise our Grand Opening. Do I Need a permit?
Yes. A temporary Sign permit is required for the placement on private property of all mobile signs, A-Frame type signs, or banners. Business owners are limited to either three two-week permits, or two three-week permits per year, with a minimum period of ninety days in between the permits. Business owners must have these signs installed by a licensed Markham sign installer.
I’m a Realtor and Wish to Place “Open House” Signs in the Vicinity of Some Homes I’ve Listed for Sale. These are to Direct Potential Buyers to my Property Listings on Weekend Open House Events. Do I Need a Permit?
A permit is not required for open house directional signs. These small signs are generally placed and removed within a short time frame; however, care should be used in their placement as the Region of York’s sign by-law may be enforced for signs placed on public property along Regional roads.
If You Have Other Questions Please Telephone 905-477-5530 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.