CanadaOne Twitter CanadaOne Linkedin CanadaOne Facebook CanadaONe RSS

Ask an Expert

Opening a new restaurant in Calgary, Alberta

Expert: Mario Cywinski

Gerald asked:

I'm opening a new restaurant in Calgary, Alberta. What licences and permits do I require for a 60 seat, licensed establishment in Calgary?

This is a new facility and requires construction from scratch. Thank you in advance.

Mario Cywinski answered:

An excellent resource, which list everything you need to know, can be found on the Government of Canada's Canada Business website ( ). Here we found some of the following information that may help you.

In regards to your question about building the establishment from scratch, be sure to visit this link ( Here we find that many cities zoning boards need to have plans in place at least a couple of years in advance. The Canada Business website says, "Most zoning boards, along with economic/regional development committees, plan several years in advance. They can probably provide you with valuable insights to help you decide among tentative retail locations."

In turn, there may be a couple of licenses that you will need. If you will be playing any sort of music, even from a cd/dvd, you will need to apply and receive a music license. For more information on this, visit , or call SOCAN at: 1-800-517-6226.

The most important license you will need is a liquor license. There are five types of classes for a license in the province of Alberta. Each is designed for the type of establishment you wish to operate. In your case, that would most likely be a class A license. For more information on liquor licenses, visit:

Also, you will need to obtain a Food Establishment Permit from the regional health authority. According to the Public Health Act, anyone who "sells, produces, manufactures or stores any type of food or drink for distribution will require a food establishment permit and an inspection from their Regional Health Authority."

Here there are four types of permits. They are listed on the Canada Business website as:

  • Class I Facilities ($100):
    Establishments that process, sell or manufacture nonperishable or prepackaged products with minimal food handling and processing. Example of Class I Facilities: confectionery, and warehouses.
  • Class II Facilities ($175):
    Establishments that are only involved in limited handling, processing, manufacturing, selling or packaging of raw ingredients and are cooked or prepared to order. Hot and cold holding of potentially hazardous foods is restricted to single meal service. Examples of Class II Facilities: food establishments with limited menu.
  • Class III Facilities ($250):
    Establishments that are involved in extensive handling of raw ingredients, and the processing, manufacturing, selling or packaging of potentially hazardous food (including beef, poultry, foods of animal origin eaten raw or lightly cooked), extensive food handling or deal with high risk clientele. Example of Class III Facilities: Full service restaurants, hospitals, caterers, and commissaries.
  • Class IV Facilities ($500):
    Establishments that have greater than three categorizations in one building Examples of Class IV Facilities: mega food stores, large hotels with multiple facility classes.

To obtain a permit, contact Calgary Health Region at: (403) 943-8060.

About the author

Mario Cywinski was the Assistant Editor of and a graduate of Humber College's Journalism Program. Mario is currently the Managing Editor for Canadian Automotive Fleet and Fleet Vans and Trucks magazines, and is a member of AJAC. He has also worked for Trajan Publishing Corporation as a copy editor, and interned at ABC News, OMNI Television and Global TV.

Click here to go back to Ask-an-Expert index page.