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A Bed and Breakfast, commonly known as a B&B, is a business that provides short-term accommodations in a private home, or other comparable location, and traditionally includes breakfast as part of the service. Accommodations can vary from one establishment to the next, as each building has its own unique characteristics. Locations that might provide B&B accommodations can range from historic buildings and cottages, to houseboats and private homes. The amenities offered by different B&B businesses can also vary. In some cases, you may have private rooms with private bathrooms or several private rooms with shared bathrooms. B&Bs generally emphasize a high level of personalized customer service and will often be connected to local tourist attractions.
You may wish to contact your local municipality to verify how your B&B business will be classified and what regulations will apply to you (for example, you may need a Food Handler licence).
Also, most municipalities require a building permit before alterations or new construction begins. It is important to check zoning regulations before signing any binding contracts and to obtain the necessary building permit(s) before beginning alterations or new construction.
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
Some common licenses, permits and regulations that may apply to your bed and breakfast include:
Building and fire codes
As a provider of accommodations you will likely need to meet additional requirements under the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code to ensure the safety of your guests. You can contact your local fire department and municipal building department to make sure that your business premises meets all local safety requirements.
Contact the Ontario Fire Marshal:
Ontario Fire Marshal Regional Offices
Travel and accommodation services
If you arrange transportation or sleeping accommodation for your clients, you may need to register with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). Examples of activities that can include regulated travel and accommodation services:
- Field trips
To find out more about activities that require registration, contact TICO or visit their website.
Resources and guidelines
Compliance in the platform economy – Accommodation sharing
Find out how tax responsibilities may apply to you when you share your property for a short period including through a website or mobile app.
Additional Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) information for Bed and Breakfast owners in Ontario
The Canada Revenue Agency also provides information on the following HST requirements and rebates that could apply to your business.
Contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):
Operating a Bed and Breakfast in your home
Find out how the HST applies to operating a bed and breakfast in your home.
GI-007 Operating a Bed and Breakfast in Your Home
HST New Housing Rebate
You may be eligible for the HST new housing rebate if you bought or built a bed and breakfast.
GST/HST New Housing Rebate
HST Information for the Travel and Convention Industry
Learn how to charge the HST on accommodations, tour packages and passenger transportation services. You can also get information about HST rebates that may be available to non‑residents for eligible tour packages.
Sales by Individuals of Owner-Occupied Homes
Find answers to common questions and how the HST may apply to the sale of owner-occupied homes, including those operated as bed and breakfast businesses.
GI-004 Sales by Individuals of Owner-Occupied Homes
If you are an organization in the Ontario tourism sector, you may be eligible to apply for financial support for tourism events that meet certain conditions.
Bed and Breakfast associations may provide information on accommodation rating services in addition to other resources and networking opportunities.