Please get a licence, City of Edmonton tells nonprofits

Most nonprofits are unaware that City of Edmonton Bylaw 13138, as amended on February 1, 2016, requires any organization providing goods or services in Edmonton to have a business licence.  And yes, this includes nonprofits and charities!

“Nonprofit organizations do require a licence to operate within the city of Edmonton limits,” explains Nonnie Jackson, Licensing and Policy Analyst with the City of Edmonton’s Sustainable Development Services. That said, many do not obtain a licence as they are simply unaware of the requirement.  Jackson emphasizes that “most organizations do not realize that they are breaking the rules.”

Specific organizations like churches and community leagues are exempt, however, most organizations will need to pay a fee of $41 annually.  “This bylaw isn’t new — but it hasn’t really been enforced by City staff,” Jackson said.  The bylaw requires City staff to ask organizations to register, and groups operating without a licence could face a fine but, as Jackson clarifies, “we are at the creating awareness stage. . . “.”

Nonprofits and charities operate for the benefit of the community and a business licence will not only ensure they are safe but also that they are properly registered to legally operate.  Requiring a non-profit to have a business licence allows the City of Edmonton to ensure compliance with relevant fire and safety requirements as well as all local, provincial and federal laws, rules, codes and regulations

Finally, a business licence is a good investment – having a licence shows your clients that you are a legitimate business that complies with local laws and regulations.

For additional information, please dial 311 in Edmonton.

Alain Bertrand Capacity Building Specialist Alain BertrandAlain Bertrand is a Capacity Building Specialist with the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.
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