Are you a barber, arborist, driving instructor, or one of the 36 other businesses that need a city-issued license to operate in Oakville? If so, you’ll want to check out the suggested changes to the city’s licensing system and have your say.
City staff are currently reviewing the licenses, with the goal of reducing duplication, clarifying rules and simplifying administration. An updated bylaw is in the works, but the new rules will not come into effect until a revised licensing bylaw is approved by City Council at a later date.
The big news – One license, not many
The city is considering consolidating the licenses of certain companies that currently need to obtain authorization for several activities.
Under current rules, a gas station that also sells food and cigarettes must complete (and pay for) three separate applications for a Motor Vehicle Facility Permit, a Grocery Store Permit, and a Permit tobacco retailer.
To eliminate duplication, city staff suggest that secondary business purposes be added as addenda to a company’s primary business license.
The changed system would see a company apply for and pay for a single license for its core business. Documents for any additional business class would be submitted at the same time and added to the main license.
With a single renewal date, the modified system will make licensing easier and less expensive for business owners and reduce the time city staff spend reviewing applications.
The other big news in the world of business licenses came last December, when the city created an online application process for business licenses. In a 2020 survey, business owners overwhelmingly told the city that they wanted an online licensing process.
New licenses to be required
- payday loan companies – One per neighborhood will be the new rule for payday loan businesses when the city introduces a new licensing bylaw. City staff suggest the four businesses already in operation (three in Ward 2, one in Ward 5) are grandfathered in to stay. In addition to being licensed under the province’s Payday Loans Act, lenders will also need to apply for an Oakville license and provide a criminal record check.
- Mobile Services – Running a business from your car? The city plans to expand licensing requirements to include mobile motor vehicle services (for mobile businesses that provide services such as tire changes, oil changes or window repairs) and personal mobile services (for mobile businesses that provide personal services such as haircuts or pedicures). Companies that hold a license for a physical location will not need another license to provide mobile services.
- Private Parking Enforcement Contractors and Agents
- Temporary suppliers selling items including flowers, Christmas trees, market and clearance items. Oakville farmers selling items they have grown, produced and harvested would be exempt.
Other changes in the works
For 26 of Oakville’s current 39 license categories, the city requires a police records check to track criminal convictions and other court-related matters.
Despite numerous complaints from business owners that the need for police records checks is arbitrary and documents are difficult to obtain in a timely manner, staff suggest increasing the need.
Currently, the requirement for business owners to provide a criminal record check is satisfied with a document for a single owner or director. New rules propose that all partners, officers or directors be required to provide documents.
New or amended rules are proposed for a number of business class categories, including arborists, contractors and renovators, donation box operators, driving instructors, fireworks vendors , limousines, taxis and tow trucks. Full details are outlined in the staff report presented to City Council on January 31.
City staff are also planning a full review of food truck licenses, in consultation with Oakville BIAs, industry and residents.