Licensing of various operations such as Taxicabs, Mobile Vendors, Amusement Machines, Mobile Sign Companies, Lodging Houses and Transient Dealers is one of the responsibilities of the Inspection Services Division, Department of Planning, Development and Engineering.

In addition to their licensing role Inspection staff, are responsible for the enforcement of various property By-Laws for the upkeep of existing buildings and properties, as well as respond to complaints regarding private properties and occupants concerns. For example our staff investigate things such as car wrecks; garbage and debris on property; the general condition of a property, i.e. if deemed to be in need of repair and/or paint; deteriorated fences or decks; noise complaints and unapproved business occupancies. Upon inspection, owners of properties deemed to have deficiencies are issued orders to upgrade. Failure to comply with the requirement of the orders may result in legal action in Provincial Court or work being carried out by a contractor hired by the City with the cost of the work charged against the property.

Once complaints are received by this division they are assigned a priority. Those of a life safety nature are given a very high priority and are acted upon immediately.


Taxicab Licenses
All taxicab companies and vehicles operating in the City of St. John’s are licensed annually.

The taxi industry in St. John’s is regulated by the provision of the St. John’s Taxi By-Law enacted by the City on December 19, 1990, by the Taxi Committee. Under the Taxi By-Law the total number of operator licenses issued by the City in a calendar year shall not exceed 374, 10 of which shall be restricted to accessible taxis.

Mobile Vendors Licenses

Anyone wishing to conduct sales from a stand/cart, table, bike or motorized vehicle outdoors, on a public street or from private property, must apply for a license to do so by submitting an application for mobile vending.
In addition to a completed application the following approvals are required from various departments and agencies:

  • For the sale of all food items, approval from Service NL is required.
  • For units containing propane installations, certification from a recognized Propane Agency is required.

Other considerations for approval include:

  • Intended location of the vending business (generally only permitted in Commercial and Industrial Zones)
  • Where the vending units are to be stored when not in use (commercial area required)
  • Proof of $2,000,000.00 automobile liability insurance for all motorized vehicles used in conjunction with your vending business, i.e. transporting and/or storing product
  • Proof of $2,000,000.00 commercial general liability insurance providing coverage for all products and operations

Annual licensing fees for mobile vending units are:

  • Bicycles $100
  • Table Sales $250
  • Push Carts/Motorized Vehicle $500
  • Temporary (1-30 days maximum) $250 ($200 refundable deposit)

Motorized Units - Vending Sites:
Private Property
The City of St. John’s does entertain applications from people interested in vending from private commercial sites. A copy of the written agreement between the vendor and property holder must be provided. The location of the unit on the site must meet the approval of the Licensing Officer.

Public Property
The City permits vending from public parking spaces in the following commercial zones:

  • Churchill Square: One site leased where the vehicle is permitted to remain on site throughout the year.
  • Downtown: Five sites designated as lease sites, where vehicles are permitted to remain on the site throughout the year. Harbour Drive; parking is permitted on metered spaces while vending business is in operation. Meters are to be paid at the hourly rate and vehicles must not be left unattended.

Annual fees for leased spaces on Public Property are:

Churchill Square $1,500 + HST
Downtown $3,000 + HST

Open Air Market, Churchill Square
The City has designated a small area of the Churchill Square parking lot as an open air market, generally referred to as the “farmers market” for the purposes of outdoor vending. Fourteen parking stalls are allocated for the market area which are renewable annually in May at a cost of $250 per year.

The Lot Space Application form would have to be completed and submitted to Access St. John's, the City's Customer Service Centre. located on the first floor, City Hall, 10 New Gower Street.
The same requirement for insurance (as noted above for Mobile Vendors) would apply, as well as approval from the Provincial Government for the sale of food items for those wishing to vend at the Open Air Market .

For more information please refer to the Mobile Vending By-Law.

Amusement Machine Licenses
Commercial establishments that have amusement machines on their premises (i.e. pinball games, video games, pool and billiard tables, juke boxes, etc.), are required to pay license fees annually for them. Establishment Licenses cost $10 per machine, per year.

Operators/Distributors of amusement machines are also required to be licensed annually at a cost of $500 per company.

Amusement Machine Establishment License Applications  as well as Amusement Machine Operators License Applications are available at Access St. John's, first floor City Hall, 10 New Gower Street.

For more information please refer to the Amusement Machine By-Law.

Mobile Sign Companies/Distributors
The City of St. John’s licenses Mobile Sign Companies/Distributors annually. A licensed company provides certification from a Professional Engineer that the required specifications (i.e. design and anchoring) are met.  Only licensed companies can distribute mobile signs in the City of St. John’s.  A Mobile Sign Contractor's License Application  must be completed and submitted to Access St. John's, first floor City Hall, 10 New Gower Street. 

The annual license fee is $25.

For more information please refer to the Mobile Sign By-Law.

Lodging House Licenses
By definition a lodging house is a dwelling which can accommodate between five and 16 people who share a common kitchen and/or bathroom facilities.

Establishments which offer boarding to four people or less, generally do not fall into this category.

Lodging Houses are inspected and licensed annually at a cost of $100 per year.

A building application would be required for the designation of an existing house as a Lodging House.

For more information please refer to the St. John's Lodging House By-Law.

Transient Dealer’s License
A person who is a non-resident of the City who occupies a premises in the City temporarily for the purpose of selling goods or merchandise from that premises is required to first obtain a license to do so.

The license fee is $517.50.

Please refer to the Fees and Rates page for more information on permit costs.