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Governance &
Structure Division

Terms & Concepts in the Community Charter: Business Regulation


Section 8(6) of the Community Charter provides municipalities the power to regulate businesses. This power to regulate, it is important to note, is distinct from the power to prohibit businesses, and from the power to impose requirements on businesses.


  • municipalities may regulate businesses by establishing rules that businesses must follow in order to operate; and
  • municipalities may not, as a general point, prohibit businesses outright from being established, or impose stand alone requirements on businesses to do things. Specific and limited requirement and prohibition authorities in relation to business are found in section 59.

Any municipality that wishes to exercise its authority to regulate businesses must give notice of its intention, and provide an opportunity for persons to make representations to council. In addition, after adopting a business regulation bylaw, the municipality must make available, on request, a statement that explains council's reasons for exercising its authority.

Section 15 gives municipalities the ancillary power to require businesses to obtain business licences. Included in this power is the authority to suspend and cancel a business licence for failure to comply with specified terms and conditions of the licence. The power to suspend and cancel is addressed further in section 60. That section gives councils the authority to suspend or cancel a business licence for reasonable cause following a "show cause" hearing.

Regulatory initiatives taken under other authorities in the Community Charter, and within other regulatory spheres, may have implications for local businesses and their ability to operate. Municipalities are encouraged to identify and consider all potential implications when developing other regulatory schemes. For guidance, see Regulatory Best Practices Guide. As well, other parts of the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, in particular the land use provisions contained in Part 26 of the latter Act may have implications for regulation of business.

Please direct questions or comments to Advisory Services Branch.

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