Home-based Businesses

The following is a brief and legal summary of the City of Markham's Home Occupations By-law taken from the City's By-law Guide for Markham Homeowners.

It explains, in plain language and with information links, what residents must know about specific City services and operations, which may affect a Markham homeowners' property. 

Home Occupations By-law Summary

In Brief

Certain types of businesses can operate out of a home, but the City must also consider how such a business will affect neighbours.

What You Must Know

All home-based businesses must comply with zoning and property standards by-law. If you’re planning to erect another building on your property, renovate or build an addition to your home, remember that there are by-law concerning this too. See Property Standards By-law Summary and Decks, Construction and Permits By-law Summary for more information about repairing or renovating your home to accommodate a business.

Businesses that cannot operate as a home-based enterprise include:

  • Dating bureau/escort service
  • Public bath/whirlpool
  • Vehicle towing
  • Contractor’s yard
  • Taxi service
  • Kennels and animal hospitals
  • Adult entertainment parlour
  • Retail store
  • Take-out, fast food or other restaurant
  • Sales/service of motorized vehicles, machinery or equipment, automotive and audio products and scrap yards.

If the business creates, or is likely to create, a nuisance or become offensive to neighbours, it will be prohibited.

Disturbing the Neighbourhood

By-law 53-94 states that creating excessive noise, vibrations, dust, fumes, odours, glare or radiation is not permitted. As a general rule, if you aren’t sure that your planned activity won’t be considered disruptive or excessive, you’re better off renting an industrial unit. See Noise By-law Summary for more information about making noise and your business.

Quiet activities, taking up no more than a combined total of 25 per cent of your home, garage and accessory buildings, are fine as long as there is no signage, storage or displays of your business anywhere outside these areas.

Employees and Other Visitors

In addition to yourself, only one employee can be working out of your home; you must provide a parking space on your driveway that is always available for this person’s use. Teaching activities are limited to four students at a time. Mail-order sales are allowed, but other sales activities are limited only to items produced within your home; receipt or delivery of goods must involve nothing larger than trucks normally used for residential deliveries.

Doctors, dentists and drugless health practitioners may operate their business in the home where they live, but it must be located on a corner lot with frontage on a provincial highway or major road.

When in doubt, check it out! Help is always available.

For more information call the By-law Enforcement and Licensing Department at 905-479-7782 or email customerservice@markham.ca.

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