Starting a Business

Starting a Business

St. John's is a vibrant city renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and creative approach to business. With dynamic new industries, an innovative research and development community, and a highly skilled labour force, St. John's is one of the most attractive investment areas in Canada.

Business Information Centre
Whether you are starting, expanding or operating a business, there are always questions. Our Business Information Centre can point you in the right direction. Knowledgeable staff can guide you to the resources you need to prepare a business plan, conduct market research, or find sources of financing for your business.  Conveniently located at 348 Water Street in the heart of the downtown, the Business Information Centre operates a walk in service Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You may also telephone (709) 576-8107 or E-mail:

Regulations for Business
Starting a small business gives rise to new experiences and endless questions. Will you start from scratch, buy an established business or purchase a franchise? What permits will you need? What regulations will apply to your business? It is highly recommended that you research your business idea in detail. An area that is often overlooked in business planning is local (municipal) regulations. If you are starting a business in St. John's, we suggest you contact our Business Information Centre (see above) first to check for regulations that might impact your new business. You can find out about:

  • Zoning requirements - Is my location zoned for my type of business?
  • Permits - What permits do I require, how do I get them and what will they cost?
  • Taxes - What will my business tax rate be?
  • Applications - What applications do I need to complete?

The publication Starting a Business in the City of St. John's: Guide to Municipal Regulations provides a general overview of the regulations, permits, processes, and taxes as they apply to businesses in the City of St. John’s. The guide is presented in an easy question and answer format. Additional information is available in the Doing Business section of the website.

Many businesses require licenses and approvals from other levels of government or from regulatory associations. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Service NL processes permits, licenses, approvals and conducts inspections on behalf of a number of provincial government departments. Some of the more common approvals you may need are: building accessibility, elevator inspections and food establishment licensing. The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation issues liquor licenses.

Other ResourcesBizPal logo
BizPaL is an online business permit and license service. The BizPaL website is a partnership between the City of St. John's, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Government of Canada.