How to Apply for a Cannabis-related Licence or Authorization

You may only apply for a cannabis Retail Operator Licence or a Retail Store Authorization if you submitted an Expression of Interest Application and were selected in the lottery.

Cannabis-related applications will be accepted online only via iAGCO.

iAGCO is the AGCO’s online service delivery portal that offers its customers a convenient and digital way of doing business with the Commission. To access services from the iAGCO portal, you must first create an account and login. 

Once an account has been created and you are logged in, the portal can be used to apply for, and manage and view the status of your cannabis-related licences and authorizations, including applications, renewals and modifications.

For more information on iAGCO, please visit the iAGCO Information page.

Please note that Sundays between the hours of 4:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. are reserved for system maintenance and users may find the system not available during this time.

Applying for a Retail Operator Licence

In addition to submitting an online application via the iAGCO portal, you will need to provide supporting information/documentation.

If you are applying for a Retail Operator Licence, prior to the Licence being issued (i.e. your licence cannot be issued without the required documentation):

  1. Tax Compliance Verification (TCV) Confirmation Code
    Applicants must provide their Tax Compliance Verification (TCV) confirmation code.  For more information, please refer to the Tax Compliance Verification (TCV) Program or contact doingbusiness@ontario.ca.
  2. Constituting Document(s)
    One or more of the following documents must be uploaded:
    • Certificate or articles of incorporation
    • Charter/By-Laws
    • Partnership Agreement
    • Limited Partnership Agreement
    • Limited Partnership Declaration
    • Shareholder’s Agreement
    • Trust Agreement
    • Any other constituting documentation relevant to the entity
  3. Schematic Diagram
    If the corporate structure of the applicant has more than one level, a schematic diagram depicting the relationship among all parent, controlling, subsidiary, affiliated and commonly controlled companies is required.  In the case of a corporation, ownership identified must total 100%. 
  4. Details of Shares
    A document listing all classes and series of shares in the entity. For each class/series, include its name, number of authorized shares, number of issued shares, any rights, privileges, restrictions, conditions as well as name of each shareholder who meet percentage threshold requirements set out for cannabis applicants.
  5. Financial Statements
    Financial Statements (balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, etc.) for the last fiscal year. If available, please provide audited consolidated financial statements.
  6. Tax Return and Tax Assessment
    A completed tax return and tax assessment for the last fiscal year available.
  7. Personal History
    A Personal History (using the form provided on iAGCO) for all employment and/or unemployment (including education, parental leave, etc.) will be required from:
    • Applicants who are Sole Proprietors
    • Disclosed individuals.

    Please note, the Registrar will consider every application for a retail operator licence, and may;

    1. issue the retail operator licence, if the applicant has met the application requirements, is not ineligible and has paid the required fee
    2. issue the licence, with proposed conditions to be attached
    3. issue a proposal to refuse the application

If you are an Applicant on the Selected List for a Region or North Region city that has been contacted by the AGCO and provided with a notification letter from the Registrar, you will be required, within five (5) business days of the Registrar notifying you of your selection:

  • To submit an original $50,000 Standby Letter of Credit from a bank found in Schedule I or Schedule II of the Bank Act (federal), or a credit unions and caisses populaires registered under the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994, substantively in the AGCO form identified by the AGCO. The Standby Letter of Credit is to be secured until the end of the Allocation Timeline
  • To submit a formally executed legal instrument that demonstrates the Applicant has a right to possession of the retail space as identified in the Expression of Interest Application.  The legal instrument must:
    • Be in the name of the Applicant
    • Provide the same street address for the retail space as identified in the Expression of Interest Application.
  • To submit an application for a Retail Operator Licence and make the non-refundable $6,000 Retail Operator Licence fee payment.  
  • To submit an application for a Retail Store Authorization using the same retail store location as provided within the Expression of Interest Application and make the non-refundable $4,000 Retail Store Authorization fee payment.
  • To use the same legal name and Applicant type in the Retail Operator Licence application as was used in their Expression of Interest Application.

If you receive a proposal to refuse your application, you may request a hearing/appeal before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). For more information on the LAT, please visit the LAT website.  

Applying for a Retail Store Authorization

To apply for a Retail Store Authorization (RSA), the applicant must either hold a valid Retail Operator Licence issued by the AGCO or have submitted an application for a Retail Operator Licence with the AGCO. Applications for both can be submitted at the same time.

A cannabis Retail Store must be the only business that operates out of the proposed location, and the business cannot also operate as a restaurant, coffee shop, pharmacy, convenience store, etc.  For more information, see Retail Store Requirements.

Licensed Producers

A licensed producer and its affiliates are not currently eligible for a Retail Store Authorization.  

Holder of an RSA or Affiliate of the Holder of an RSA

No RSA may be issued to the holder of an RSA or the affiliate of the holder of an RSA.

Business Requirements

For a Retail Store Authorization to be issued, certain business requirements must be in place prior to opening to ensure the store is ready to order, receive and appropriately secure cannabis products. For example, store operators are required to ensure:

  • Cannabis and accessories will not be visible from the exterior of the premises
  • A secure, high-resolution surveillance system will be in place at all times
  • Cannabis will be stored securely at all times and be accessible only by staff

For more information on the standards and requirements for a cannabis retail store, please refer to the Registrar’s Standards for the Cannabis Retail Stores, the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and its regulations.

Required Documents

The following documents must be submitted prior to a Retail Store Authorization being issued: 

  1. Business Name Registration 
    The business name under which you intend to operate may have to be registered under the Business Names Act. For information regarding business name registration please call toll free 1-800-361-3223 or visit Service Ontario

Applicants may also be required to submit the following:

  1. Proof of Ownership / Tenancy  
    Proof of Ownership / Tenancy (lease agreement, property deed, rental agreement etc.). 

Pre-Authorization Inspection

Before a Retail Store Authorization can be issued, the store location will be inspected by an AGCO Compliance Official to confirm/verify that all eligibility and store-specific criteria are met. During the pre-authorization inspection, AGCO Compliance Official will provide you with information about your responsibilities under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, its regulations and the Registrar’s Standards, and address any operational questions and/or concerns you may have related to the retail sale of cannabis.

For more information, see the Retail Store Pre-Authorization/Opening Inspection of this guide.

Conditions

Retail Store Authorizations may be subject to conditions specified by the Registrar pursuant to the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018.

Please note that the Registrar will consider each application for a retail store authorization, and may:

  1. issue the retail store authorization if the applicant has met the application requirements, is not ineligible and has paid the required fee
  2. refuse the application.

The Registrar’s decision to issue or not issue a Retail Store Authorization is final. Relief may be sought by way of an Application for Judicial Review to the Superior Court of Justice.

 Applying for a Cannabis retail store manager licence

The following document(s) will be required before a Retail Store Manager Licence can be issued:

  1. Personal History
    A Personal History (using the form provided on iAGCO) for all employment and/or unemployment (including education, parental leave, etc.) 
  2. Tax Return or Tax Assessment
    A completed tax return and tax assessment for the last fiscal year available. 

Please note that the Registrar will consider every application for a retail store manager, and may:

  1. issue the Retail Store Manager Licence, if the applicant has met the application requirements, is not ineligible and has paid the required fee or
  2. issue the licence, with proposed conditions to be attached
  3. issue a proposal to refuse the application

If you receive a proposal to refuse your application, you may request a hearing/appeal before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT). For more information on the LAT, please visit the LAT website

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