To operate a food cart, you will need to obtain a non-motorized refreshment vehicle owner licence. Ensure that you are compliant with zoning bylaws and have obtained permission from the property owners.
To sell your food on city property, you will need to obtain a sidewalk vending permit and apply for designated sidewalk locations. If approved, you can operate:
- on sidewalks (in selected wards; parts of wards 10, 11 & 13 are restricted vending zones)
- at least 25 metres from an open and operating restaurant and another sidewalk vendor selling food
- at least 30 metres from a place of worship or the property line of a school
- 2.5 metres of paved sidewalk shall remain cleared for uninhibited pedestrian passage.
You must not operate in front of a building entrance/exit, name/number, fire hose connection, or display window.
Individuals, partnerships or corporations.
Please review application requirements outlined below and complete any required forms.
Visit the Licence & Permit Issuing Office at East York Civic Centre located at 850 Coxwell Ave, 3rd floor as applications must be processed in person.
Note: As of June 3, 2019, applications will not be accepted unless all documents are submitted.
Original documents required for all applications (and renewal transactions).
Two pieces of government-issued identification (one must be photo ID):
- Canadian Passport
- Driver’s Licence
- Canadian Birth Certificate
- Citizenship Card
- Permanent Resident Card
- SIN Card (Social Insurance Number)
- Valid Work Permit
- First and last names must match on all identification
- We do not accept Health Cards
- Identification is required for all officers/directors listed on the Articles of Incorporation, Corporate Profile or Federal Form 6
All applicants must also provide the following:
- a business location/address
- a copy of provincial business name registration or signed franchise agreement
Corporations must also provide:
- a copy of Articles of Incorporation (Note: If there has been a change to the list of officers and directors, please also provide a current Corporate Profile Report or a Federal Form 6)
- the Annual Return for Corporation Form which lists all current directors & officers of the Corporation. This must be:
- original as copies will not be accepted
- signed by an officer/director of the Corporation. The Form cannot be signed by a designate of the Corporation.
If a director of the corporation is unable to apply in person at the Licence and Permit Issuing Office, a designate may apply on their behalf. The designate must:
- have an original letter advising of their signing authority on corporation letterhead, signed by a director of the corporation dated within 30 days
- provide two pieces of identification for themselves
- provide two pieces of identification for each officer and director of the corporation, or, if original identification is not available, notarized photocopies of the identification will also be accepted.
Criminal Record & Judicial Matters Check
Applicants must provide an original Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check issued by a Canadian Police Service within 280 days prior to the application.
A designate applying on behalf of a corporation must also provide a Criminal Record & Judicial Matters Check for each officer and director of the Corporation.
Applicants must provide proof of $1,000,000 in Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance.
The completed insurance form must be signed and stamped by the insurer.
Public Health Inspection
Proof of a Health Inspection from Toronto Public Health. You can arrange this by calling 311 or the Health Connection Line at 416-338-7600.
Food Handler Certification for owner and any staff.
Propane Tank Field Approval and Contractor Inspection
Applicants must obtain:
- Field Approval for equipment from the Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA).
- An inspection by a TSSA-certified technician. Some certified technicians are listed on the TSSA site.
Photo and Sketch of Cart
Bring in a photo of the cart, as well as a sketch indicating dimensions.
Vehicle Cart Storage Location
Information about where the cart will be stored when not in operation.
Painted with Contrasting Colours on Front (Facing Public)
Client’s Name: 10 cm. (approx. 4 inches) in height
Licence Numbers: 6.3 cm. (approx. 2.5 inches) in height
Plate Number: 15 cm. (approx. 6 inches) in height
A list of products and food items sold.
Non-Motorized Refreshment Vehicle Owner licence: $418.52
Staff will take a photo of the applicant, if a Sole Proprietor, at the Licence & Permit Issuing Office.
Sketch of proposed vending location
Provide sketch of proposed vending location showing all relevant dimensions, street name, curb, proposed location of cart and all street furnishings – utility pole, garbage bin, fire hydrant, tree, etc.
A 2.50 metre pedestrian clearance must be maintained and shown in the proposal
All measurements must be in metric.
Photographs of proposed location
Provide current photographs of the proposed vending location (showing at least three angles – front and two sides)
Photograph of cart
Provide a photograph of the cart
Business Improvement Area (BIA)
If the proposed vending location is in a Business Improvement Area (BIA), obtain an approval letter from the BIA.
The permit cost of $373.02 plus one of the two fees depending on where you would like to operate:
- Minor Arterial Roads Permit: $3,196.96
- Major Arterial Roads permit: $5,877.58
*All fees include HST
Applicants must provide proof of $2,000,000 in Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance.
The completed insurance form must be signed and stamped by the insurer.
ML&S shall deny an application for, or a renewal for any business, trade or calling for which a vehicle and it’s driver are licenced or required to be licenced by the City under this Chapter and for which a licencesee is required to hold a valid provincial driver’s licence under this Chapter where the licensee or applicant has:
- Been convicted at any time of a sexual offence against a minor or a person with a disability under any of sections 151 to 153.1 of the Criminal Code;
- Been convicted of any sexual offence under the Criminal Code in the preceding ten years;
- Been convicted of an offence under the following Criminal Code sections in the preceding five years:
- 84 to 117.15 (Firearms and Other Weapons);
- 264.1 to 286.1 (Offences Against the Person);
- 321 to 378 (Offences Against Rights of Property);
- 379 to 462 (Fraudulent Transactions, Wilful and Forbidden Acts of Certain Property, Offences Relating to Currency);
- 462.3 to 462.5 (Proceeds of Crime).
- Been convicted at any time of an offence under the following Criminal Code sections:
- 83.01 to 83.33 (Terrorism);
- 219 to 248 (Major Offences Against the Person);
- 267, 268, 270.01, 272, 273 (Major Assaults or Major Sexual Assaults).
- Been convicted of an offence under the following Controlled Drugs and Substances Act sections in the preceding ten years:
- 5 (Trafficking);
- 6 (Importing and exporting);
- 7 (Production);
- 7.1 (Possession for use in production or trafficking).
- Been convicted of any offence under section 4 (Possession or obtaining) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in the preceding five years;
- Been convicted of five or more offences under Chapter 545 or 546 of the Toronto Municipal Code in the preceding three years;
- Any overdue by-law fines, unless the applicant provides proof that such fines have been subsequently paid.
- Been convicted of any offence under sections 249, 252, or 253 of the Criminal Code (Motor Vehicles, Vessels, and Aircraft) in the preceding five years;
- Accumulated nine or more demerit points on his or her driving record abstract at the time the application for a licence or renewal is made;
2 September 6, 2017
- Been convicted of any of the following offences under the Highway Traffic Act in the preceding five years:
- Careless driving;
- Racing or stunt driving;
- Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/hour or more;
- Failing to stop for a school bus or when signaled or asked by a police officer;
- Failing to remain at the scene of a collision;
- Driving while licence suspended.
Despite these screening criteria, if a licence has been previously issued or renewed and the applicant’s or licensee’s record discloses no new breach of the screening criteria, the licence may be issued or renewed without the matter being referred to the Toronto Licensing Tribunal.
These screening criteria do not apply to any offence for which a licensee or applicant has been granted a criminal record suspension (i.e. a pardon) by the Parole Board of Canada.
Your licence for the cart will expire annually on the anniversary of the date that the licence was first issued.
The renewal fee is $292.76
A renewal notice, identifying any documents required to renew the licence, will be mailed to the address on file.
Payments received after the licence expiry date are subject to late fees in addition to the annual licence fee.
If you fail to renew your licence according to the bylaw, your licence will be cancelled and you will have to reapply.