Business licensing in Toronto
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
I’m hosting experiences in Toronto, am I operating a business that requires a permit or license?
In Toronto, whether you need a business licence depends on the type of activity you carry out as part of your experience. You may want to check this list of business activities that require a license, to see if your experience falls within these. If you’re in any doubt or if you need more information, you may want to check the position with your local municipality or seek advice from a legal professional.
If I need a business license, where can I apply for it?
If you’ve determined that you need a business licence, you can apply for one at the Licence Permit Issuing Office for Toronto at East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenue, 3rd Floor. The type of application will depend on the category the experience falls into within the licensing guidelines. Toronto advises that, in most cases, license applications should be made in person. You can find out more information directly from the City of Toronto website here.
Is there anything else I should be thinking about?
Yes. You should consider the following:
Your Business Structure.
There are different legal structures you can use to set up your business. For example, you could choose to operate as an individual, or you could set up a company or partnership. The City of Toronto’s website has a guide on the different types of legal structures available to you.
Activities and Licensing.
Depending on the activity you will be providing or organising, you may need to register, obtain licenses, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. Our articles on activity-specific licensing requirements and rules covers some of the typical activities, but are not intended to be comprehensive. If your experience falls into one of the categories on the list then you’ll need a license to carry out a specific service or activity you want to provide.
If you are not sure whether your experience requires a license, you should check with the City or speak to a lawyer to confirm.
If your experience takes place in more than one city (e.g. if you are starting in Toronto and taking your guests to another location outside of the Toronto city limits) you should check the rules for each municipality. These rules can found directly from municipal government offices. If you find you still have questions, you may also consider consulting with a lawyer.
Tax, Accounting, and Insurance.
You may also want to check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, which will depend on the business structure you have in place. For more information on which taxes apply to you, the Canada Revenue Agency and Canada Business Ontario provide helpful information on taxes for news business.
Depending on the type of experience you offer, you may be eligible for coverage by Airbnb’s Experience Protection Insurance (“EPI”). See here and here to learn more about EPI. Even if you are covered by EPI, you may want to obtain additional insurance. See here for a discussion of different types of insurance, and talk to an insurance broker for more information.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).