How to apply for a business licence in national park

Anyone wishing to operate a business within a national park in Canada is required to apply to Parks Canada for a business licence with the following exceptions:

  • Banff: businesses operating exclusively within the Town of Banff must get a licence from the Town of Banff. Businesses operating in Banff National Park both within and outside the Town of Banff must get a licence from both Parks Canada and the Town of Banff
  • Jasper: businesses operating exclusively within the Municipality of Jasper must get a licence from the Municipality of Jasper. Businesses involving discretionary land use may require Parks Canada approval as part of the Municipal licensing process. Businesses operating in Jasper National Park both within and outside the Municipality of Jasper must get a licence from both Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper

The National Parks of Canada Business Licence Regulations defines a "business" as "any trade, industry, employment, occupation, activity or special event carried on in a park for profit, gain, fund-raising or commercial promotion, and includes an undertaking carried on in a park by a charitable organization, or by an organization or individual on a non-profit basis".

Guiding and outfitting

A separate business licence process is required for guiding and outfitting licences. For guiding and outfitting licences, please contact your local national park directly or via 1-888-773-8888 or information@pc.gc.ca to be directed to your local national park.

Steps to apply for a business licence

  • Step 1 - If you are a business operator wishing to conduct business within a national park, you require a business licence. An application form for a business licence can be obtained by contacting your local national park office or via 1-888-773-8888 or information@pc.gc.ca.
  • Step 2 - Complete the application form and return it to the address indicated on the form. Applications may be sent electronically, by fax, by mail or delivered in person. Additional information that may be required includes:
    • A brief written description of the business and the area of operation;
    • A copy of the business' certificate of incorporation or business registration;
    • For contractors, a copy of the applicant's journeyman certificate, or other documentations, relevant to the applicant's ability to carry on the proposed business activity;
    • For businesses operating from a leasehold for which they are not the lessee, a valid sub-lease agreement or written permission from the head lessee permitting them to offer their services;
    • Other information or documentation based on the type of business.
  • Step 3 - Parks Canada will issue a business licence or provide a rationale for its refusal of the application. The Superintendent may ask that the applicant to make changes to their application that may result in the application being approved.
  • Step 4 - Following the issuance of a business licence, the applicant must inform Parks Canada, in writing, of any of the following changes:
    • Transfer to another owner (a new business licence application must be completed by the new owner);
    • Change of business name or location;
    • Change to the nature of the business.

Conditions

Parks Canada business licences are valid for one year from April 1st to March 31st of the following year, except in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haïda Heritage Site, where licences expire at the end of the calendar year. The Superintendent may impose conditions on a business licence. These may include details about the business' hours of operation, equipment requirements, or health, safety and environmental protection requirements. The Superintendent may also impose conditions that are necessary for the protection, control and management of the natural or cultural resources of the park or to avoid interference with visitor experience or use by Indigenous groups that have recognized rights or interests associated with the park.

Fees

Annual business licence fees vary by type of business. Business licence fees for the sale of alcohol are based on a percentage of the gross value purchased annually. Contact the park you wish to do business in to get the applicable fees. Fees may be paid in cash, by debit, credit card or cheque (payable to the Receiver General for Canada).

Suspension

The Superintendent may suspend or revoke a business licence. Reasons that may result in the suspension of a business licence include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the business licence
  • Violation of the Canada National Parks Act or the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations
  • Activities carried out by the business licence holder which pose a serious threat to the safety of clients, park staff, or other park visitors
  • Activities carried out by the business licence holder that create unacceptable impacts on the park's natural or cultural resources, or interfere with visitor experience or use by indigenous groups that have recognized rights or interests associated with the park.