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What license I need in Ontario (Toronto), Canada

34344 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Astrix
Help, please! what license I need in Ontario, Toronto?

Hi guys,

Just moved from NY to Canada, Ontario (Toronto). I've got stuck now and have some questions. Any answer is highly appreciated.

I've been working for a friend's home renovation company for the past 4 years, and I did almost anything from drywall/taping, flooring, to framing, carpentering ...

Now I just want to open my own company in Toronto, and hire a couple of general helpers as a start. I'm going do any job in person like before. So here are my questions:

1, Is a General Contractor license enough for my case? (which means allowing me to do some maintenance, repair jobs in person!)

2, If no, is there any single license like "renovation / renovator" which can cover most of the trades and allow me to do some simple maintenance, repair jobs in person?

3, If still not, does that mean I have to pass the exams of almost all the trades I'd like to do, and get approved from former employer that I do have experience (6000 hours?) on the trades I apply for?

At beginning, I have do any job in person and cover almost all the areas. So what license can allow me to start this business easier and faster?

Really appreciate your help and expect an answer to help me out.

Best regards,

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I have no idea About Canada..

But here in NC there are 3 GC license types:
Limited less than $350,000 $17,000
Intermediate less than $700,000 $75,000
Unlimited Unlimited $150,000

General Contractor's License
The Board issues several types of contractor licenses. You must pass an exam to get any type of license. Here are the types of contractor licenses the Board uses:

  • Building
  • Residential
  • Highway
  • Public utilities
  • Specialty
Specialty contractor licenses include:
Water and sewer lines
Boring and tunneling
Water purification and sewage disposal
Concrete construction
Grading and excavating
Interior construction
Marine construction
Masonry construction
Railroad construction
Electrical (ahead of point of delivery)
Metal erection
Swimming pools
Fuel distribution

I think they would all be over kill for what your trying to do.

That Said... you are able to take jobs UNDER $30,000.00 TOTAL cost without any type of license. you have to have a bond and insurance (I think) and a Local business license. that might be all you need to do.

like I said, I cant say for Canada..
But this should get you Started
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anybody know, please?
Have you tried the internet??

Remember, google is your friend!!:thumbsup:
hmm. I think all they require in canada for a general contractor is proficiency with a hockey stick. Its a versatile tool perfect for any task..screwdriver, hammer, prybar, toothpick etc eh.

No but need to ask the local governing authority. I'm sure the info is readily
HA... LMAO..

We need to try that here... help persuade the architect to back off... LOL
Thanks, guys, I really appreciate all the helps and answers, very, very appreciate.

Actually, I already google for two days and still get nothing helpful. Thank again for you guys kindly help.

In my state a general contractor is the license that allows a contractor to do most anything in his broad range of endevors. For instance a general contractor in residential construction of 1 and 2 family dwellings can do anything in residential other than trades that require an aditional occupational license like plumbing and electrical although he may do minor add ons to those type of systems.

A "renovator" would probably only be allowed to renovate or remodel existing structures which would probably be limited by a dollar figure based on the value of the structure being renovated.

Again as I already indicated you need to find out from the regulatory authority in the area where you plan to do business....they are all different.
Thanks, mics_54. I'm going to check with government.
As long as you're not doing plumbing or electrical you're good to go. You can get yourself an Ontario business license online for $65.
Thanks, Chris G. I'm going to try.
Chapter 545 @page 22 of the Toronto Municipal Code defines "Building Renovator" License. Contact Municipal Licensing office for details.

BUILDING RENOVATOR — A person engaged in the business of altering,
repairing or renovating buildings or structures or constructing radiation fallout
shelters, and includes any person who solicits for such work, or who in any way
advertises or holds himself or herself out to the public as doing building renovations
or as being a building contractor in renovation work, but does not include a building
contractor whose principal business is the construction of buildings or structures.

I notice no mention of your citizenship status. If you're not a citizen or a landed immigrant, you shouldn't even be working. This is not yet the 51st state.
Ontario has its own rules re licensing but they only apply to the smaller towns that fall under city rules. All major cities have their own licensing regulations. For Toronto, you have to get a City of Toronto license which you have to apply for in person. Contact info:

City of Toronto - Municipal Licensing and Standards Department
East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Ave., 3rd Floor, Toronto, M4C 5R1
Phone: 416-392-6700
Fax: 416-392-3196

Mississauga has its own rules and licensing so be careful if you take on any jobs west of the Etobicoke Creek (in between Hwy 427 and Dixie) as now you will require a separate license. Contact info:

City of Mississauga - Transportation and Works Enforcement - Business Licensing
300 City Centre Drive, Ground Floor, Mississauga, L5B 3C1
Phone: 905-896-5657
Fax: 905-615-4486

Roofing, carpentry, insulation, bricklaying and concrete work will all require a license. If you are doing kitchen and bathroom installs then you need a city license for that unless you are only doing flooring or windows. The rule of thumb is if you are touching outside or load-bearing walls, or doing any kind of design work, then you have to be licensed. Design work now also requires Provincial Registration with the MMAH (Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing) as part of changes to the Ontario Building Code that came into effect a couple of years ago.

In addition, trades such as plumbers, electricians, gas fitters, etc. require a Certificate of Qualification (CQ) in their specific trade, confirming that you’ve completed an apprenticeship, have a certain number of work experience hours, and have passed a provincial exam in that trade. You’ll have to contact the respective trade association to find out the different qualifying requirements for each trade.

Don't you just love dealing with government bureaucracy ??? :wallbash:

P.S. Contrary to common opinion, hockey stick proficiency is optional.
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Thanks Worthy and Astrix. So does that means General Contractors can do some minor repair and touch up by themselves or they have to subcontract any even small job?

many thanks!
I'm not really sure what you are getting at with your question. After all, it doesn't really matter what you label yourself as, in the end it comes down to what type of work were you doing. So if you are just doing "some minor repair and touchup" on your own, then wouldn't that be more like acting as a handyman and not acting as a GC.

I think the best thing is to call the telephone numbers I posted earlier and get the answer straight from the folks who can potentially fine/penalize you for not having the right permits or licenses.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy living & working in Toronto.
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