Government of Nova Scotia gov.ns.ca
gov.ns.ca Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism

Inspection & Licensing

Fixed Roof

Accommodation Inspection and Licensing

1. Getting Started: Here is a checklist along with some information detailing all that you will need in order to start operating your accommodation.

2. License Application form:  The application form must be filled out and returned, along with the correct licence fee, at least one month before you commence operation. This must be done to schedule the inspection of your property. Application forms and fees can be submitted using one of the following payment methods and locations. Payment for renewals only may be submitted online by visiting Nova Scotia Business Registry Renewal (credit card payment only - mastercard or visa).

3. Tourist Accommodations Act and Regulations: It is essential you read and follow the Tourist Accommodations Act and Regulations .

4. Licensing Fees: Click here for the license fee rate schedule .

5. Operators must register the name of their accommodation with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies . We suggest that you review the 'Doers and Dreamers Guide' before making your name selection, to ensure that no one else is already using the name.

6. Construction: An operator planning construction of a new property or renovations to an existing property (such as installing a new bathroom or adding a new bedroom), must have their plans approved by the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, the Office of the Fire Marshal, and their local building inspector, before construction begins.  Click here for more detailed Construction Requirements and the list of Building Inspectors .

7. Barrier Free Accommodation: Accommodation operators who are constructing a new property or making additions to an existing one must read this information, as it relates to providing services to people who have physical challenges. For information on this important service to our visitors click here . If further clarification or details are desired, contact your building inspector .

8. Development Permit | Zoning Approval: All accommodation operators must provide a Development Permit and zoning approval from your local municipal office.  An Occupancy Permit and other permits may be required. Please ask the Development Officer. Click here .

9. Fire Marshal: There are mandatory fire safety requirements necessary in order to operate an accommodation.  Click here to find the municipal fire/building inspector or deputy fire marshall in your region.

10. Water System: For new construction, septic/sewer and water supply systems must be approved by the Nova Scotia Environment prior to their construction. Click here for their directory.

11. Food Service Facility: If you plan to operate any type of food service, approval must be given by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Municipality and the Building Inspector.

12. Alcohol and Gaming division of Labour & Workforce Development: If you are planning on serving/providing alcohol in any capacity on your premises, please click here . This is the licensing authority for liquor, gaming, and amusements.

13. Commercial Tax: Commercial tax is charged on all accommodation businesses in Nova Scotia, with the exception of Bed and Breakfasts, which are taxed residential. You must check with your municipality for further information.

14. Harmonized Sales Tax: Contact the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency Business Window at 1-800-959-5525 for more information.

15. Signage: Accommodation operators wishing to erect signs must have approval from the landowner, municipality/town/city or for more information, please contact the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal .

16. Landed Immigrant Status: Please note in order to conduct business in Nova Scotia, it is a requirement the business operator must be a Canadian Citizen or have Landed Immigrant status. Please refer to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Nova Scotia Business Inc., and Target Nova Scotia for more information.

17. Visitor Services Programs: After your property has been licensed, you are eligible to apply for the following programs that will enhance the services you provide to visitors:

  • Check In Nova Scotia: This reservation and information system is available to all licensed accommodations. Contact Check In at 902-722-3306 or 1-800-565-0000.
  • Bienvenue: Bienvenue is a visitor services program identifying Nova Scotian businesses that provide French language services to visitors. Click here.

18. Tourism Development Guides: "A Guide To Starting And Operating An Accommodation Business In Nova Scotia " This publication will give new and existing accommodation operators an extensive insight into the accommodation business.

19. Tourism Research: Click here to access research on current levels of tourism activity. This publication is updated regularly and gives an accurate year-to-date synopsis on visitation and accommodation activity in Nova Scotia.

20. Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency: Click here www.acoa.ca .

21. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation:  Click here www.ecbc.ca .

22. Workers' Compensation Board: Please see website for more information.

23. Occupational Health and Safety: Please see Occupational Health and Safety Act .

24. WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System): A nationwide system developed to provide a standardized classification system for the control, safe handling, storage, and disposal procedures of hazardous materials in the workplace. Please see www.tourismhrc.com for more information.

25. First Aid: Please see Occupational Health and Safety First Aid Regulations for more information.

26. Human Resource Development: The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia Human Resource Council is the coordinating body for human resource development in the tourism industry. This Council provides training opportunities essential to maximizing the human resource potential in our industry and ensuring we have skilled professionals ready to meet the visitors' needs.

Please see www.tourismhrc.com for more information.

27. General business information: Canada Business Service Center, please click here or Nova Scotia Business Registry, click here .

28. Guidelines for Literature Distribution: Please download the PDF document here .

29. Human Rights Act: All accommodation operators and staff should become familiar with the Act and other related information from the Human Rights Commission. This information can be found at: www.gov.ns.ca/humanrights