Draft Business License Bylaw

The City of Williams Lake is considering a new Business License Bylaw to regulate businesses within the city limits.

This bylaw will simplify the existing bylaw and will consolidate regulations for businesses, the new rates proposed are the first fee changes since 1995 and is now more comparable to other neighbouring municipalities. Business types may see an increase or decrease in license fees. 

Highlights of this new bylaw include:

1.) Business License Bylaw No 1523, contained 98 categories of various fee structures which resulted in 29 pages including schedules compared to the model bylaw’s 28 categories. 

2.) The administrative fee for change of location, name or ownership remains unchanged at $35.00

3.) In keeping with simplification and efficiency of permit applications, the proposed bylaw repeals the Regulation and Control Sidewalk Vendor Bylaw 1494, 1995, which included a separate process for sidewalk vendors. These regulations have been simplified and encapsulated in Section II of the proposed Business License Bylaw and the additional permit application and specified location of operation for the business owner have been eliminated.  

The proposed bylaw allows Mobile and Sidewalk Vendors to operate on any “free” municipal parking lot identified by the Director of Municipal Services. This eliminates on-street parking violations, and concerns for public street safety and creates fewer barriers for the owner to operate their business.  

4.) The proposed bylaw eliminates business fees being calculated by the square footage of the building area. The new bylaw uses a size range that is based on the BC Building code. 

5.) The proposed bylaw implements a license and fees per agent/person for professionals and hairstylists and aestheticians. The current bylaw operates under an umbrella structure, with first-person a set fee and every additional person a reduced fee. 

6.) The proposed bylaw has harmonized Liquor and Cannabis retail to a license fee of $500.00. The Liquor Retail and Cannabis Retail fee have been harmonized without a change in current categories' revenue. 

7.) The new bylaw eliminates the restaurant fees being calculated by the number of seats and is now a flat rate. The licensed restaurant category (such as pubs) is lower than Liquor Retail but higher than unlicensed restaurants to account for the added enforcement resources.

8.) The new proposed bylaw has added the category of not-for-profit organizations, to allow for tracking the number of businesses in the community, such as in a state of emergency. The current bylaw does not require non-profits to obtain a business license and the fee is now $50.00 per business. 


The City is seeking input from the public on the proposed draft. Please email your comments to development@williamslake.ca or call 250-392-8483 if you require clarification on any points. The deadline for your feedback is noon on Monday, June 20th.

Attachment B - BL2365 - BUSINESS LICENSE BYLAW v2-JB 1