Review the Business Climate

How it's done

The Business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in Squamish and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

What is the business climate in Squamish?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Squamish’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.





Resident Indicator Population Chart

Source: Resident Indicator Population Chart

Median Age


Resident Indicator Population Growth Chart



Resident Indicator Income Chart


Average Household Size


Household Size Distribution


Household Type


Households Indicator Income Chart


Dewelling Growth Chart



Dwelling Indicator Growth Chart


Dwelling Type


Dwelling Construction Period


Home Ownership


Development Indicator Major Projects Chart




What costs and assistance should I know about?

Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting a business in Squamish and assistance available to Squamish businesses.

As in most municipalities, property taxes and utilities are a primary source of funding for the District of Squamish. District staff and Council work diligently to ensure core services are maintained for businesses while supporting other important initiatives and service improvements that the community wants and needs. It is of primary importance to us that businesses receive good value for their tax dollar, to best serve the community.

Squamish 2017 Property Tax Rates*

*These are 2017 rates, the new 2018 tax rates have not yet been prepared. Tax notices will be mailed to residents and businesses by mid-May.

The following table outlines the municipal taxes collected by the District of Squamish, with tax rates varying depending upon your assessment class. (See the article, Understanding Property Classes to determine the category that’s relevant for you.)

Rates per $1,000 of Taxable Assessed Value

Assessment Class Municipal Tax Rate Provincial Tax Rate Total Tax Rate
Residential3.39241.57164. 964
Major Industry31.416.178337.5883
Light Industry12.93335.819518.7528
Business & Other9.51625.573615.0898
Forests – Managed 9.51622.959812.4760 
Recreation & Non Profit3.39243.00216.3945 

Fees for Utility Services

In addition to property taxes, Squamish businesses pay the District of Squamish for water and sewer services. Specific rates are outlined in the District’s Fees and Charges Bylaw, available here.*

Have More Tax Questions?

For more detail about taxes in Squamish, please visit our Taxes & Utilities section of the website. If you have a specific question that isn’t covered in the website, please contact District of Squamish Financial Services at 604-815-5035 or by email, at finservices@squamish.ca.

Development Charges

As Squamish becomes an increasingly attractive place to live, work, and do business, the District of Squamish anticipates a significant amount of new urban development. New urban development brings with it new requirements for urban infrastructure and amenities. The following costs and fees are the primary tools that the District uses to ensure that new development pays its fair share of the costs of new community infrastructure and amenities:

Development Cost Charges (DCCs)

The DCC Bylaw helps ensure that development pays for new infrastructure required as a result of growth, such as sewage, water, drainage and roads, and park land, that are not located on the particular development site. The rates for DCCs are summarized in the DCC Bylaw, available here.

In some circumstances, Council may resolve to reduce, waive, or refund DCCs for eligible developments. This includes not-for-profit or affordable rental housing, not-for-profit or affordable equity / fee simple housing, or for-profit affordable housing. For more information, please refer to the DCC Bylaw.

To get started on your land development project, check out our Application Guides, Forms and Resources page.

Building Permit Fees

For information on building permits and land development fees, please visit the relevant section of the Fees & Charges Bylaw, available here.

You can also download toolkits to help you navigate the building permit process here.

Community Amenity Contribution Policy (CACs)

Where possible, amenity contributions or other public benefits will be negotiated as part of any rezoning application, ensuring that new development contributes equally to the community infrastructure required by new growth. CACs are negotiated with rezoning applicants, and they must be approved by Council. For more details about CACs, please visit the CAC Policy page.

Business Licences, Filming & Special Event Fees

Business Licence Fees

Planning to do business in Squamish? Business owners are required to obtain a valid business licence, renewed annually by December 31 of each year. A District of Squamish business licence allows us to help you determine if the proposed location of your business suits the industry and type of business you hope to pursue, and can assist you in identifying any public health and safety considerations that may need to be satisfied in order to legally operate your business in Squamish. If you’re unsure as to whether your business operates within the District’s boundaries, please refer to our map. Business licence fees vary depending on your business type. For more information, see the Fees & Charges Bylaw, available here.

For more information on applying for your Squamish business licence, including the turnaround time and application forms, please visit our Business Licence page.

Filming Fees

If you intend to film in Squamish, you can work with the District’s Film & Events Department to get started on the Filming Application Process. Depending on the nature of your production, you may be required to pay fees, which are listed on our Filming Fees page.

Special Event Fees

If your business is planning an organized event in Squamish and you plan to host it on municipal-owned land such as a park, road or trail, you’ll need to apply for a Special Event Permit and pay a Special Event Fee, with rates listed here.

Have More Questions?

If you have more questions about business licences, zoning, or the types of permits your business may need, the Economic Development Department is here to help. Contact us at economicdevelopment@squamish.ca or by phone, at 604-892-5217. (1-877-892-5217 toll-free).

Minimum, median and maximum wage estimates for a range of occupations in the Region are displayed on the Federal Government Job Bank website.

The wages are specific to an occupation and provide information on earnings of workers at the regional level. Wages for most occupations are also provided at the national and provincial level. In Canada, all jobs are associated with one specific occupational grouping which is determined by the National Occupational Classification (NOC). Job Bank

Are you new to B.C. or thinking of moving here? Need help deciding where to locate a business? The Cost of Living Calculator can help you to make the right moves!

Squamish Oceanfront Incentives

Through a community visioning process, Squamish has developed a plan for the Oceanfront peninsula that will redevelop the former industrial area to create a work-live-learn-play lifestyle that is authentically Squamish. To encourage growth and investment in the Squamish Oceanfront, the District of Squamish offers a Revitalization Tax Exemption. Under this incentive, eligible owners can receive a tax exemption for the development of applicable new commercial or industrial construction or renovation to existing building(s) within the Squamish Oceanfront Lands. The value of exemption is for a period of five years, or until December 31, 2026, whichever is sooner.

For more information about the Squamish Oceanfront Development, view the District’s Oceanfront information.

Not-For-Profit Incentives

In Squamish, not-for-profit organizations have several incentives. The District of Squamish offers not-for-profits the chance to apply for Community Enhancement Grants, as well as permissive tax exemptions.

Community Enhancement Grants provide funding for projects to non-profit or charitable organizations that are based in Squamish, and are considered by Council to be enhancing the lives of local citizens. (Read the Community Grant Policy, available here.)

Permissive tax exemptions are a method that the District of Squamish may use to support voluntary non-profit organizations by exempting land or improvements or both, from taxation. (Read the Permissive Tax Exemption Policy, available here.)

For details on both programs, view the District’s Grants & Exemptions page.

Canadian businesses are fortunate to have access to many different options for financial support. Traditional funding options include grant contributions and subsidies, innovation tax credits, loans with favourable terms and interest rates for entrepreneurs, and equity investments, such as venture capital and angel investments. Emerging funding options include crowdsourcing platforms, for sales and for equity investments.

Here are the top picks from Squamish Economic Development staff:

Concierge Funding Service
The Government of Canada’s Concierge Service is a great place to start with your quest for funding. The interactive tool can assist in finding funding options within B.C., with an option to filter your search to target specific types of financing— whether it’s a grant, loan, tax credit, or equity based option such as venture capital or angel investment.

Community Futures Howe Sound
Community Futures Howe Sound is a non-profit community economic development organization dedicated to assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Howe Sound region, BC Canada. Working in partnership with Western Economic Diversification Canada, Community Futures can provide free business plan advising, and secure small business loans.

Canada-BC Job Grant
The Canada-BC Job Grant is a program that assists BC employers to invest in employee training. Designed to help small businesses scale by training and developing their employees, the funding reimburses two-thirds of employee training costs, with a maximum of $10,000 for each employee trained per fiscal year.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
BDC is Canada’s only financial institution that’s devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs, supporting companies in all industries and at all stages of development from 118 business centres across Canada. Companies can apply for up to $100,000 online with a five-day turnaround, or access larger loans with flexible repayment terms and a longer amortization period.

Global Affairs Canada Funding
Searching for funding to help manage the costs of bringing your product or service abroad? Global Affairs Canada offers a list of funding sources on their website aimed at helping small and medium sized companies to develop new export opportunities.

Dedicated to entrepreneurs aged 18-39 years, Futurepreneur Canada offers financing options that are designed for young entrepreneurs, with collateral-free loans of up to $45,000 at competitive interest rates, as well as mentoring and advising opportunities.

Women’s Enterprise Centre
The Women’s Enterprise Centre is a leading business resource for B.C. women who own a business, or are thinking of starting a business. If you’re a female business owner in Squamish, you can access a loan program up to $150,000 that bundles free business planning, business skills training, guidance and access to mentors.

Crowdfunding Options
Today, online financing platforms offer entrepreneurs an incredible opportunity to raise funding for innovative projects. There are many crowdfunding platforms available, and they differ widely in their financial format. Some platforms offer the project backers a reward, such as an early version of the product or service in return for their investment, while others offer a peer-to-peer platform to raise capital at lower thresholds than traditional equity investment.

Need Help with Finding Funding?
If you’d like assistance with finding the right kind of financing to help you start or grow your business, the Economic Development Department offers objective advice and recommendations to Squamish businesses. Contact us at economicdevelopment@squamish.ca or by phone, at 604-892-5217. (1-877-892-5217 toll-free)

How do I use this information?

Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.

Monitor the local business climate

On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimise risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Know your costs

All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labour that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Where can I learn more about the business climate?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.

There may also be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

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District of Squamish