Business license applications and portable sign use is lower - city is easing up on the enforcement side - smart move

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 6th, 2021



The level of service delivered by Staff is determined by city council.

With the day to day operation of the city in the hands of the Emergency Control Group who, from time to time, make a change in a service level due to the pandemic. The changes are brought to Council where they are approved or modified.

On Wednesday two services were revised.  The acquiring and paying for a business license and the use of portable signs.

The Enforcement Focus priorities at this time are:

Boston Fish sign BIG

Typical portable sign – the fish and chip shop went out of business

• COVID (Masks, Physical, ROA)
• Swimming Pool Enclosure
• Property Standards (safety only)
• Vital Services

• Taxi
• Firearms
• Fireworks (sales & storage)
• Fortification

The Licensing team administers new licenses/renewals and the By-law team ensures compliance. Late fees can be added to a license renewal fee if payment is not paid/received on or before the expiry date.

Business licensing is not an enforcement priority due to the current pandemic. This has impacted our service response to the customer, as well as the overall budget. Renewal notices have been sent to all businesses but due to the pandemic the majority of businesses have not responded. Businesses have been struggling due to the pandemic and the Provincial Orders over the last year.

Financial Implications:

• Below highlights the revenues and their impact on the budget. These figures represent Business License (new applications and renewals) and exclude other related licenses i.e. lottery.

business license revenue May5-21

There are typically 1100 licenses (new applications and renewals) on a yearly basis.

• We are seeing additional requests to cancel portable sign permits due businesses having to close due to the Provincial lockdown orders.
• To support these requests we have allowed the cancellation of the permits but do not provide a refund, as per the sign by-law.
• As an alternative we allow the client to apply the credit to a later session.
• This is a temporary process put in place at the beginning of COVID.
• Portable Sign revenue:

portable sign revenue

There are typically 600 portable signs on a yearly basis

The current Rates and Fees By-law 92-2020 under section 7 states:

“The fees and charges imposed by the City, as outlined in Schedule “A” to this by-law may be increased, decreased or waived completely by the Director to whose department the fee or charge relates, subject to any approved corporate policy.”

The practice of waving late fees and crediting portable sign permits is seen as reasonable as per the Rates and Fees by-law.

Provide the Director of Building and By-Law and/or their designate, the delegated authority to make business decisions, such as deferring renewal licenses. This will assist the business community during the pandemic and post recovery.

Direct the Director of Building and By-Law and/or their designate, to continue to report the financial implications through the Chief Financial Officer as part of the ongoing financial COVID-19 impacts.


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