Occupant load permit

The occupant load permit indicates how many people, maximum, can safely use a gathering space such as a restaurant or assembly hall.

For spaces with only one exit, the occupant load is a maximum of 60 people. For all other spaces, the calculation is based on the number of suitable exits, the floor space, and the usage of the space.

Getting this permit is frequently a condition for getting other approvals (such as development permits, building permits, or liquor licenses).

The City is here to help

Contact the Fire Prevention Branch of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services directly for help navigating through the permit process or for more information.

Apply for an occupant load permit

You may apply for your occupant load permit in person at the Fire Prevention Office (see contact on this page). Bring the following:

  1. Completed occupant load calculation package  (161 KB)
  2. Small and large set of dimensioned plans
  3. Fee payment

After you apply

  1. A fire prevention officer will review your documents and, if they are acceptable, stamp the plans and issue you with an occupant load permit and occupant load certificate(s).
  2. The fire prevention officer may visit your site to confirm that the site matches the submitted plans.
  3. If the site is approved, the fire prevention officer will let you know to pick up your occupant load permit and certificate(s) from the Fire Prevention Office.
  4. Place the occupant load certificate(s) in a highly-visible spot in your establishment.

 If the work is not completed according to the approved plans, you will have to schedule a re-inspection once the work has been corrected or completed. The fee for the re-inspection is additional and will be based on how long the re-inspection takes.

The process takes five business days on average from when you submit your form and plans until the inspector visits the site. Additional time will be required if a re-inspection is necessary.


Item Fee
Amendment to an existing occupant load certificate $200
Occupant load rating (150 people or less) $360
Occupant load rating (151 people or more) $600
Re-inspection fee, per hour or portion of an hour $100 plus tax

Contact Fire Prevention

Monday to Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm

600 - 575 W 8th Ave
Vancouver BC, V5Z 0C4