Many immigrants and entrepreneurs planning to register a business in Canada tend to assume that it is too complex and consequently they do nothing. This is based on their experiences in other parts of the world where registering a business could be tedious.

In India for example, it takes almost a month to get a company officially registered. In Nigeria you require a lawyer to go through the numerous hurdles. Venezuela, Philippines, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia are all ranked in the list of the worst countries to do business. In Canada, the mountain may not be as hard to climb. This is how to register a business in Canada.

The first stage is to determine whether the business would be a Corporation or Sole Proprietorship / Partnership.

Federal incorporation

This offers many benefits, including: the right to use your name across Canada; limited liability; lower corporate tax rates and better access to capital and grants.

Here are the simple steps:

  • Step 1: Name your corporation
  • Step 2: Create your articles of incorporation
  • Step 3: Establish the initial registered office address and first board of directors
  • Step 4: Submit and pay the $200 fee.

On completion of the federal incorporation, you will get:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Federal business number
  • Federal corporation income tax program account
  • Option to register for other federal tax accounts, such as GST/HST, payroll, import/export
  • Option for extra-provincial or extra-territorial corporation registration

The whole process can be done online here

Sole proprietor or Partnership

If starting a small business, it might be easier to choose this option. To register as a sole proprietor or partnership, you would need to do so in your location or within the provinces where you plan to do business. Registration can be completed in less than 45 minutes. Cost is $60 only.

For those in Ontario, you can walk in to any Service Ontario location or register your business online here

For other provinces, click here

After the registration, you will get:

  • Profile Summary (including the name, address and business activities).
  • Payment receipt
  • Master Business Licence (MBL)You can use your MBL as proof of business name registration at financial institutions and in business transactions with the government.

Now, you are all set to do business in Canada. And you are on track. But in the immortal words of Will Rodgers “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

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