City Departments

Business Licensing

Business Licensing

If you are interested in opening or are running a business in the City of Cambridge, a business licence from the City of Cambridge is required. Doing so will help ensure the safety of our citizens and your customers.

Business Licence Applications are available for download in PDF form at the bottom of this page in the related documents section

Licences are issued to stationary businesses such as barber shops and beauty salons, motor vehicle service related to facilities, food shops and public halls. Mobile business licences are issued for refreshment vehicles.

Which Types of Business require a Licence?

Most businesses in Cambridge must be licensed to operate legally. There are (18) types/categories of business licences.

To view a chart outlining the 18 categories please click the link below:

Business Licence Categories Chart

Applicants must ensure building, zoning and fire department regulations are complied with prior to being issued a business licence, and that all signatures required by those department/agencies are obtained before submitting the application.

Specialized businesses such as hair salons and aesthetician salons or businesses where food products are prepared or sold must also obtain approval from the Waterloo Regional Health Unit.

Typically, business licensing by-laws are enacted as a means by which enforcement can be undertaken to protect against potential infractions in the following areas: public health and safety; nuisance control or consumer protection.

Licensing fees are established to offset the cost of the related enforcement and inspection programs; the cost of administering and enforcing the associated regulations should be borne by the regulated trades and not the public at large through tax revenues.

If you wish to operate a business, and have questions, please contact the City at (519) 740-4680 ext 4581 prior to submitting your application and commencing operation of your business. We will be pleased to assist you with the application process.

Business License Renewal Letters

All business licences are renewed at City Hall. The City issues business licence renewal letters in early November, applications can be obtained above.
Upon receipt of the letter, please forward a cheque payable to the City of Cambridge. Renewals will also be accepted in the City Clerk's office, on the second floor of City Hall. We accept cash, cheque and debit card.

What do I need before I apply for a licence?

A copy of your Business Registration. You may apply online for a Corporation Profile

A zoning approval.

The application must be completed by either an individual owner, a partner or the president or signing officer of the corporation

Determine if you require a criminal record check from Police Services to apply for or renew your licence

Be aware that inspections of your location may be required by Police, Fire, Building Services and/or Public Health

Payment of your licence and all inspections will be required at the time of application

Liquor Licensing

A liquor licence for a business must be obtained through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Liquor Sales Licence

To obtain a new or change an existing liquor sales licence, visit the AGCO's website to access an information package or visit their contact page to speak to a customer service representative by phone, email, or in person. As part of this package, applicants are required to complete a Municipal Information Form and submit to the City of Cambridge Clerk's division.


As of January 1, 2016, when applying for a Liquor Licence through the AGCO you may be required to complete a Municipal Information Form (AGCO link below). The applicant must complete Section 1 of the form and submit a $25.00 administrative fee.

The completed Municipal Information Form and payment must be submitted to the City Clerk, City of Cambridge, 50 Dickson Street, Cambridge, Ontario. The form will then be emailed to the Waterloo Regional Police Department and the City of Cambridge Zoning Planning Technician for their comments.

After 10 business days the Clerk will sign the form and the applicant will be called to pick up the completed form at the Clerks counter, 50 Dickson Street, Cambridge, Ontario or other arrangements as agreed upon.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has final approval on all liquor licences.

For further information about processing the Municipal Information Form, please contact the Clerks Division, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by phone, or send an email

For further information about liquor licence packages or approvals, please contact the AGCO.

Important AGCO Links

View the AGCO Website

View the AGCO Information Package

View the AGCO Contact Page

View the AGCO Municipal Information form

Special Occasion Permits or Temporary Liquor Licence Extensions

For detailed information on all necessary requirements needed to obtain a special occasion permit or a temporary liquor licence extension, visit the the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario website.

To obtain a Special Occasion Permit for the sale and service of alcohol at special occasions such as a public event that is not conducted by a registered charity or not for profit entity requires approval from council. Contact the City at

Lottery Licensing

Lottery and gaming licences may be obtained by eligible chartable or not-for-profit organizations through the City of Cambridge on behalf of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission.

Lottery and Gaming Licensing

The City of Cambridge is authorized by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to provide lottery and gaming licensing to ensure that the legal requirements, including terms and conditions to the licences, are complied with by lottery licensees and any gaming suppliers used by the charities. The Criminal Code of Canada defines what types of gaming activities are illegal in Canada, and the provinces are assigned responsibility to operate, licence and regulate legal forms of gaming.

View the Criminal Code of Canada

Bingo Hall Operator

In order to own or operate a bingo hall in Ontario, you must be registered by
the AGCO. Visit the AGCO website for more information.

What does the City Licence?

Raffle Lottery
A Raffle Lottery is a scheme where tickets are sold for a chance to win prizes and includes 50/50 draws, elimination draws, and calendar draws. Raffle lottery licences are available for total prizes of $50,000 and under.

Break Open Ticket
A Break Open Ticket is a device made of cardboard and has a perforated cover window tabs behind which are symbols revealed by tearing open the cover tab. The winning combination of symbols is specified on the back of the ticket. Break Open Tickets are also known as Nevada tickets, pull tabs or BOTs.

Electronic Bingo Centres were introduced by the AGCO in 2013. This program is not yet available to all eligible organizations, in accordance with Ontario Lottery Gaming (OLG) requirements. For eBingo inquiries, please contact the City of Cambridge Licensing Officer for more details at or by phone at (519) 740-4680 ext 4581.

If you are an eligible charitable, religious and non-profit organization, you may be able to raise funds through municipally licensed lottery events.
How is eligibility determined?

The Licensing Officer for the City of Cambridge will review all relevant documentation to determine eligibility for lottery licences.

Organizations may be eligible if it:

Has been in existence for at least one year;

Has provided charitable community services consistent with a primary object and purpose of the organization for at least one year;

Demonstrates that it is established to provide charitable services in the City of Cambridge;

Proposes to use proceeds for charitable purposes that benefit Cambridge and its residents;

Assumes full responsibility for the conduct and management of its lottery events.

For related Business Licensing bylaws see below:
Business Licensing By-law | Outdoor Vendors By-law

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Related Documents

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