If you want to carry on business in Sparwood, you need a business licence

As a business owner, there are several District of Sparwood bylaws that you need to be aware of to ensure that you are operating a legitimate business and are maintaining your property or building. Understanding more about District bylaws will help you as a business owner recognize your responsibilities and avoid consequences for violations.

  • When applying for a new business licence, the following additional documentation MAY be required:

    • Completed business licence application;
    • Copies of any professional certificates and/or provincial registration documents;

    • Copies of trade certification are required for plumbers;

    • Copies of liquor licences issued by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch;

    • Copies of reports from the Public Health Inspector are required for all restaurants, cafes, mobile vendors, and any other establishment selling food; and

    • Food Safe certificates are required for anyone handling food.

    * Please note that a business licence will not be issued until all required documentation is provided.

  • When applying for an ICBL, as an addition to your municipal Business Licence, make sure to check of the "Add Inter-Community Business Licence" box and sign and date Part 4 of the business licence application.

    Businesses that do not have a physical location in Sparwood, Fernie or Elkford must first obtain a municipal business licence from any one of the participating communities and then also obtain an ICBL from that same community.

    Frequently Asked Questions:
    • What is an ICBL?

      The ICBL allows businesses such as builders, decorators, caterers and those with mobile businesses to run their business across multiple municipalities to help streamline and simplify the licensing process, reducing the cost for business owners and making it easier to do business in the Elk Valley.

      The following participating municipalities are:

      • District of Sparwood
      • District of Elkford
      • City of Fernie

    • How does the ICBL work?

      When purchasing a business licence from one of the participating municipalities, you will be offered the opportunity to purchase an additional ICBL. This will allow you to operate in the municipalities participating in the agreement.

      By purchasing your base licence and your ICBL, you will be allowed legally to work in all three municipalities. Without this agreement you would be required to go to each municipality separately and purchase three business licences. That said, you would still be responsible for ensuring that you comply with the bylaws of each participating municipality.

      The ICBL fees collected will be re-invested into the business community through a donation to the Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI). This funding will assist the EVEI in pursuing regional economic development projects and initiatives in the Elk Valley while striving to expand opportunities for existing businesses, attract new ones and diversify the types of businesses operating in the Elk Valley.

    • Who is eligible for an ICBL?

      Eligibility for a ICBL is open to mobile businesses that perform a service within more than one of the participating municipalities, without any associated premises (excepting their home municipality), and who provides a service by moving from client to client. Examples of eligible businesses include: trades people (e.g. roofers, plumbers); landscapers, caterers, real estate agents, mobile massage therapists.

      • The business must hold a valid business licence in the municipality where the base operation (home based or commercial) location is situated. The ICBL must be purchased from this municipality.
      • Businesses from outside the Elk Valley, without any physical premises in any of the participating municipalities must first purchase a municipal business licence from one of the participating municipalities of their choice.

    • What is the cost of an ICBL?

      An eligible business with one location (including a home-based operation) pays the business licence fee set by their home municipality plus the annual ICBL fee of $100.

    • How long is an ICBL valid?

      An ICBL is valid as long as your municipal business licence. Sparwood business licences are by calendar year, expiring on December 31st each year.

    • Where can I apply?

      Applications should be submitted to the municipal business licensing office of your home municipality (where your business is presently located and licensed).

    • How do I apply for an ICBL?

      ICBL can be purchased from the participating municipal office listed above. Before going to apply for your licence, you must ensure that you have the following information:

      • Business name, address and phone number;
      • Start date of your business;
      • Type of business (e.g. commercial, industrial, service, home based, other);
      • Total number of employees (including part-time employees); and
      • Total number of vehicles (company and/or employee) at business location.

    • Will I need any other licences?

      Eligible businesses will still need to obtain a municipal business licence from their home municipality and a licence for each fixed and permanent location they have.

      The ICBL is only valid within the 3 participating municipalities; therefore, businesses intending to operate outside of the Elk Valley should contact the municipal office in that area.

    • What are the advantages of the ICBL?

      The licencing process is simple, and will provide a number of benefits to you, as it:

      • Reduces the cost and time of buying multiple licences;
      • Saves you the burden of remembering to renew each licence;
      • Simplifies the process and reduces the room for errors and non-compliance;
      • Provides access to a larger target market, across more than one municipality; and
      • Allows consumers a greater choice of service providers and businesses, enabling your reputation to grow your business, no matter the location.

    • What is required once an ICBL has been obtained?

      A copy of the current ICBL must be available upon request at each work location.

      The business must present any required certification when requesting a permit at any of the participating municipalities and must comply with the bylaws of each participating municipality.

Below are the most popular bylaws for businesses:
  • Business Licence Bylaw

    Most businesses in Sparwood must have a business licence to operate legally. This bylaw protects the health and safety of the public who use the service and ensures consistency for business owners and customers. Learn more about what business licences the District issues.

    Read about Sparwood’s Business Licence Bylaw.

  • Building Bylaw

    Any business owner wishing to change their business from one use to another, modify an existing building or build a new building must get building permit. 

    Read about Sparwood’s Building Bylaw.

  • Boulevard Maintenance Bylaw

    Businesses that are adjacent to public boulevards are required to maintain the land fronting the boulevard. 

    Read about Sparwood’s Boulevard Maintenance Bylaw.

  • Noise Bylaw

    People cannot make or allow others to make an unreasonable noise or a noise that will disturb Sparwood residents. 

    Read about Sparwood’s Noise Control Bylaw and exemptions for business activities.

  • Off-Street Parking and Loading Bylaw

    Business owners are required to provide parking and loading spaces on their property.

    Read about Sparwood’s Off-Street Parking and Loading Bylaw.

  • Sign Bylaw

    The sign bylaw regulates all outdoor signs and advertising space to ensure that signs are not a safety hazard, such as interfering with traffic visibility. It assists in maintaining a clean and positive image for the District. Learn more about what signs require a permit.

    Read about Sparwood's Sign Bylaw.

  • Zoning Bylaw

    A Zoning Bylaw regulates the use of land and controls how each property in the District can be used. More specifically, it regulates:

    • the types of buildings such as townhouses, manufacturing or retail stores that are permitted;
    • where buildings and structures can locate on a property; and
    • the lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights, setbacks from the street and other such regulations.

    Read about Sparwood’s Zoning Bylaw.

Inspections Required for Change of Use

Whenever there is a change of use (e.g. from clothing retail to restaurant) for a commercial/business location, an inspection by the Building Inspector and Fire Chief will be required to ensure that the facility meets the mandatory provincial codes for the new type of business establishment.

If you have any questions or need to arrange for an inspection, please contact the Building Inspector and/or Fire Chief at 250.425.6271.