According to the City of Merritt Business Licence Bylaw No. 2268, 2019, every business conducting activity within the boundaries of the City of Merritt requires a valid business licence.
A “business” is defined as “carrying on a commercial or industrial undertaking of any kind or nature or the providing of professional, personal or other services for the purposes of gain or profit.” This includes transient operators like couriers and food trucks, as well as home-based businesses. The Business Licence Bylaw excludes occasional business activity, such as bake sales or yard sales (less than four per year).
Renewals of business licences are valid from January 1 to December 31 of each year. Registered businesses will receive an annual invoice. Short-term business licences are also
available and are not typically renewed.
A Business Licence Application Form maybe be used by both New Businesses and Existing Businesses. Existing businesses can use this form to update information, such as new contact information, the addition of a website address, or a change of location. This form is not required for simple renewals. Business Licence Application forms and forms from other levels of government can also be found at bizpal.ca.
Obtaining a Business Licence in Merritt
STEP 1: Non-Municipal Inspection(s) & Permits
Before submitting an application for a City of Merritt Business Licence, you may need to obtain non-municipal inspections, assessments, or permits:
- Public Health Inspection (eg: Food Premises): interiorhealth.ca/information-for/businesses
- Technical Safety BC Permits (eg: Operating Permits or Safety Assessments): technicalsafetybc.ca/apply-for
Please note that you will need to get your business established with the Province of BC and the Government of Canada before you apply for a municipal business licence. Reference the Business Licence Guide for more information.
STEP 2: Application with the City of Merritt
APPLICATION FEE: $50 | One-Time | Non-Refundable
Once you have obtained any permits, inspections, business registrations from other government entities (for example your business name registration with the Province of BC or Health Inspection from Interior Health), you may apply for a City of Merritt Business Licence. There are three types of business licences you can apply for:
- Regular Business Licence Application fee: $50
- Short-term Business Licence Application fee: $50
- Inter-Community Business Licence (ICBL) (Optional add-on to Regular Business Licence; application fee included)
STEP 3: Municipal Inspection(s)
INSPECTION FEE: $50 PER INSPECTION (UP TO 3 REQUIRED)
Depending on your type of business, you may require
inspections and approval from none, some, or all of the following:
- Building Inspector
- Fire Prevention Officer
- Cross Connection Control Coordinator
If you require all three inspections above, the cost would total $150 (or $50 per inspection). Each inspection includes one follow-up inspection.
STEP 4: Obtaining your Business Licence
Your application will be approved once the required inspectors confirm that your application is compliant with all municipal and provincial legislation. Once your application is approved, you will need to pay your business licence fee.
MUNICIPAL BUSINESS LICENCES
Full 12-month Business licence fee: $150
3-month Short-term Business licence fee: $55
6-month Short-term Business licence fee: $90
Non-Profit Business Licence fee: $0
* view pro-rated amounts in the Business Licence Guide
* $50 administration/application fee (one-time; non-refundable) required with all applications.
ADD ON OPTIONAL INTER-COMMUNITY BUSINESS LICENCE
- ICBL Okanagan-Similkameen: +$150
- ICBL Thompson-Nicola: +$75
STEP 5: Business Licence Renewal
You are required to renew your regular business licence if you are continuing with your business activities. If you renew your business licence before the date indicated on your invoice, you will receive a 10% discount. If you fail to renew your licence before March 1st, a 20% fine will be added. (There are no discounts on the ICBL or other fees).
Business licence renewal fee: $150 | 10% discount prior to year end = $135 | 20% fine after March 1rst = $180
Inter-Community Business Licence
If you have a mobile business and conduct business in two or more of the partner communities, you may be eligible for an Inter-Community Business Licence (ICBL). An ICBL is a secondary business licence. To obtain an ICBL, you must first have a primary business licence in one of the partner communities. Apply for your ICBL through the community that issued your primary licence.
This is one of the largest ICBL schemes in British Columbia, and covers communities across the central southern interior. Generally, all mobile business are permitted to participate, with specific exclusions for industries such as escorts, or vehicle hire.
- City of Armstrong
- District of Coldstream
- City of Enderby
- City of Kelowna
- Village of Keremeos
- District of Lake Country
- Village of Lumby
- City of Merritt
- Town of Oliver
- Town of Osoyoos
- District of Peachland
- City of Penticton
- Town of Princeton
- City of Revelstoke
- District of Salmon Arm
- District of Sicamous
- Township of Spallumcheen
- District of Summerland
- City of Vernon
- City of West Kelowna
- Regional District of Central Okanagan
The Thompson-Nicola ICBL allows businesses to operate in the area north of Merritt. Eligibilty would cover most mobile businesses, with specific exemptions for businesses such as those involved in the cannabis trade, or body rub services.
- City of Kamloops
- City of Merritt
- District of Barriere
- District of Clearwater
- District of Lillooet
- District of Logan Lake
- Tk’emlups First Nation
- Village of Chase
THE FRASER VALLEY IMBL PROGRAM DISCONTINUED
EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 31, 2023
Up until December 31, 2023, the City of Merritt has been included in the Fraser Valley Inter-municipal Business Licence (IMBL) program. As the City of Merritt is outside the Lower Mainland region, it was deemed not appropriate for inclusion. Business licences purchased before the termination of Merritt’s participation in the program will remain in effect until they expire. The Fraser Valley IMBL will continue to operate with only Lower Mainland communities.
What is a Home-Based Business?
A Home-Based Business means any occupation or profession carried out in a dwelling by the family which is permanently resident in the dwelling, where such occupation shall be clearly incidental or secondary to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes.
- Home-based businesses have restrictions based on what type of business the resident wants to carry on, and what the zoning of the parcel is.
- These restrictions generally limit the number of employees, businesses, and the maximum permissible area. For details, see the Zoning Bylaw and Zoning Map.
- View Zoning Map
Food Truck Business
What is a Food Truck Business?
A Mobile Food Truck Business means a food truck or mobile trailer from which food and/or drink is prepared internally and dispensed externally, which is parked at a given private property location for no more than five days in any one week or in parks or on-street locations where permitted by the City.
Merritt Fire Rescue Department Requirements
The following is a list of local requirements for all mobile food vendors who wish to operate within the city of Merritt.
Fire Inspections must be conducted a minimum of 3 hours prior to operation. Vendors are subject to an annual inspection from the Merritt Fire Department.
Upon completion of the annual inspection, an inspection decal will be provided. Vendors who are non-compliant will not be permitted to continue to operate.
- The mobile vendor must have a valid City of Merritt Business Licence.
- The mobile vendor must be approved by the BC Safety Authority and ensure that all decals are visible. (If any alterations have been done to the unit a new inspection and decal are required)
- All Tents being in conjunction with the mobile vending must conform to NFPA 705 requirements. The tent must have a visible tag stating that it complies with this requirement.
- Cooking and/or grilling shall not be conducted under tents. All cooking appliances must be at least 1 meter away from a tent.
- Cooking appliances must be a minimum of 3 meters from any building or other food vendor.
- A guard/barrier, not less than 1 meter high, must be provided to act as a barrier between the public and cooking appliances. This would not apply if the cooking appliances are located within an enclosed trailer.
- All appliances must be approved commercial appliances. Residential type appliances such as deep fryers will not be acceptable.
- Minimum of one 2A10BC rated extinguisher shall be provided and shall be mounted in an acceptable location.
- A type K extinguisher must be provided for all deep frying and/or hot oil cooking.
- Fire extinguishers must be up to date. The extinguishers are required to be inspected annually by an approved agency.
- Enclosed cooking units, creating grease-laden vapors, require a kitchen canopy and suppression system conforming to NFPA 96.
- Enclosed cooking units with a kitchen canopy require a fixed suppression system to be installed within the unit. The fixed suppression system shall be serviced bi-annually by an approved technician.
- Kitchen canopy has been cleaned from the filter to fan in conformance with NFPA 96 requirements.
- All Spare propane bottles must be secured 3 meters from any cooking appliances or open flame.
- All propane connections must be soap tested to ensure there are no leaks in conformance with the BC Gas Code requirements.
- Wood burning appliances are prohibited within the City of Merritt.
- All mobile vendors with trailers must provide wheel chocks to prevent trailer movement.
- A current inspection decal from the Merritt Fire Department must be displayed in a visible location.
City Sign Bylaw
The City Sign Bylaw regulates the placements and construction of most signs. In order to install a sign, you are required to obtain a valid sign permit. When applying for a sign permit you should include a drawing of the sign that includes its dimensions, lettering and relation to the building or structure to which it is attached.
One Home-Based Business Sign may be erected for a licensed home occupation, in R1 & R2 Zones only. Subject to the following regulations;
- Permitted Types; fascia, projecting, window, canopy or freestanding. Not permitted types; illuminated, roof and sandwich board signs.
- Sign Area; the area of a home occupation sign shall not exceed 0.3 square meters
- Projection; a home occupation sign may not project over public property. A home occupation sign may be situated in a setback
- Height; no portion of a fascia or projecting home occupation sign may project above the roofline.
- Freestanding Structure; the top of the structure supporting a freestanding home occupation sign may not exceed 1.5 meters above finished grade.
Online Business Permits and Licences
BizPaL is an online service that allows businesses to easily generate a customized list of some of the permits and licences they require from three levels of government—local, provincial, and federal. It was created through a collaboration between the Government of Canada and participating provincial/territorial, regional, and municipal governments, as part of an effort to reduce the red tape in dealing with multiple levels of government. The City of Merritt Business Licence Application, as well as other application forms, can be found on BizPaL.
Business Licence Payments
ACCEPTED PAYMENT METHODS:
Online Credit Card (OptionPay) | Cheque (mail/drop-off) | Debit/Cash (in person)
To pay your Business Licence invoice (see sample), please include the CUSTOMER NUMBER. If you are updating your business information or applying for a new business licence, please complete the Business Licence Application.