The District of Sparwood is happy to offer assistance and information for businesses looking to start up in the community

The District recognizes the value of small businesses to the community and is committed to helping entrepreneurs establish themselves and their business. If you are interested in starting a business in the District of Sparwood, please review our Business Licence Brochure, the Business Licence Bylaw and complete the Business License Application.

  • The District of Sparwood requires every person carrying on, maintaining, owning or operating within the District any profession, business, trade or occupation, to hold a valid business licence

    The Business Licence must be visibly displayed on the premises. Licence holders operating a mobile business must carry the licence on his or her person while working in Sparwood. Licences are valid for one year.

    • How do I get a Business Licence?

      The District's Business Licence Bylaw authorizes staff to receive applications and issue all business licenses. The Licence Inspector receives advice from other municipal staff and officers from various departments upon review of an application. These departments include Planning, Building Inspector, Corporate Services, Fire Services, and Finance.

    • How much does a business licence cost?

      The annual municipal business licence fee to operate a business in Sparwood is $100.00.  Business licences are issued for one year, from January 1st to December 31st.  

      If you are an eligible mobile service business, you may purchase the Inter-Community Business Licence (ICBL) for an additional $100, on top of your Sparwood business licence, which will allow you to also operate in the communities of Fernie and Elkford.

      Other administrative fees include:

      • $25.00 for registering the transfer of location
      • $25.00 to transfer a business licence to a new owner
      • $25.00 to register a name change
    • Questions about Business Licences?

      The Planning Department is here to help all businesses in Sparwood. Contact staff if you want to:

      • Apply for a new Business Licence
      • Business Licence Renewals
      • Change the Business License Name, Location or Ownership information
      • Inquire about the Inter-Community Business Licence
      • Ask questions about operating a business in Sparwood

      Another great resource for Sparwood businesses is the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce at 250.425.2423 or 1.877.485.8185.

  • An Inter-Community Business Licence (ICBL) is an add on to a base (municipal) business licence that allows mobile businesses (e.g. trades and caterers) to operate across participating municipalities

    Beginning January 1, 2017, the Districts of Sparwood and Elkford and the City of Fernie will be entering into an inter-municipal licensing scheme which streamline the licensing process, increase compliance and provide residents with a wider choice of service providers. The new scheme will enable a mobile business in Sparwood to purchase a base business licence from the District and the ICBL which would enable the business to operate in Fernie and Elkford in addition to Sparwood. Non-resident businesses such as those from Cranbrook or the Crowsnest Pass would be able to purchase a base licence and ICBL from the community of their choice.

    If your business operates in more than one jurisdiction in the Elk Valley, the new Inter-Community Business Licence could save you time and money. Typical mobile businesses include trades, plumbers, electricians, cleaning services, pest control, or similar.

    Click here for an up-to-date listing of businesses in the Elk Valley that currently hold an Inter-Community Business Licence.

    • 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 licensing 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.