This is the fourth part in a blog series that follows Oscar, a prospective Albertan business owner who hopes to open a barbershop in Alberta. As Oscar gets his business off the ground, we’ll explore the steps entrepreneurs in Alberta must follow to start, grow, and protect their own businesses. In this chapter, we’ll see how Oscar acquires a licence, GST number, and permits for his new barbershop.

Acquire the Forms

Now that Oscar had registered his trade name of 2 Bits Barbershop, his AMA Certified Business Expert let him know there were a number of additional permits and licenses he should apply for at that stage. The permits and licenses an Albertan business needs vary depending on their industry and the specifics of their operation. Thankfully for Oscar, he could rely on BizPal and his friends at AMA and Business Link to find all the additional paperwork he’d need.


BizPal is a partnership between the different levels of government in Canada, and it’s designed to help new business owners like Oscar. Visitors can browse or sort permits and licenses to easily find what they’re looking for. It’s completely free and available to anyone in Canada. Aside from BizPal, Oscar could also reach out to Alberta Municipal Affairs for information directly from his local government.

GST Number Application

In Canada, a business needs a GST number, also known as a business number, if the business meets any of these conditions:
• $30,000 in annual revenue
• Paying wages to employees
• Incorporated in multiple provinces
• Registered Charity status
• Importing or exporting goods
Since Oscar expected to make more than $30,000 in annual revenue, he found the business number request form on the Government of Canada website.

Business Licence Application

To complete his application for a Business Licence, Oscar needed the following information about his business and position, in addition to some personal details:
• Trade name of business
• Trade name number
• Business address
• Official title
Depending on the structure and nature of their business, other business owners might require more details to complete their application. If you’re going through this process alongside Oscar, talk to a certified business expert at Business Link to make sure your application for a Business Licence is completed properly.

Permit Applications

Thanks to BizPal, Oscar discovered that he’d need to complete a sign installation application if he wanted to put up signage at his chosen location in Edmonton. He also learned he’d need to acquire a sound license if he planned to play licensed music for his patrons. Using BizPal Oscar found Entandem, which helps Canadian businesses license music.

Talk to a Lawyer

As useful as BizPal is, it’s no substitute for a lawyer. Oscar knew that as a business owner, he’d be ultimately responsible for acquiring all the necessary permits and licenses. To protect himself and his business, he decided to hire a lawyer to confirm he had all the essential forms and information.
Not sure where to start, Oscar read through Business Link’s “Legal Advice for Your Small Business” and learned how to find a lawyer with the right skills for his needs. After a short consultation, Oscar was confident that all his documents were in order, and he was ready to submit the paperwork for approval.

The Next Step

With the last page of paperwork finally complete, Oscar was ready to bring his dream to life and open the doors of 2 Bits Barbershop. His first customers were friends and family, but through word-of-mouth and advice from AMA and Business Link on how to grow a business in Alberta, 2 Bits Barbershop soon had more customers than Oscar had time for. It’s definitely a good problem to have, but where could he go from there?

In the next entry of Oscar’s story, we’ll check in with Oscar after 2 Bits Barbershop has been open for a couple of years and see how his goals and challenges have changed. As Oscar takes his business into a new chapter, he’ll look into how to change his business name and structure to best suit the barbershop’s new direction.