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Legal aspects of business ownership

While top $ businesses could be your own business creation, considering the current level of Canadian demand and the market, we highlight below businesses ventures having potential to success.
Starting a Business anywhere in Canada

Option 1 – Register a Sole Proprietorship, Proprietorship or General Partnership in Canada
Non-Residents have the opportunity to register a small business in most Provinces and Territories across Canada. This registration offers the opportunity for an individual or individuals who are landed immigrants to operate a business, open a bank account, advertise, and promote.

What a registered business provides:

Allows you to operate a business within a Province or Territory of Canada. A Canada-wide registration is not available, as these registrations are not available as a Federal entity
A business licence valid for 3 or 5 years and in some Provinces continual, where a renewal is not required
You can register as a single individual or you may register a partnership with others who are either Canadian citizens or Landed Immigrants

What is required to register a business:

1. Business Name (some jurisdictions require name approval from the government prior to registration)
2. Business address (must be a physical address within the Province or Territory of the business)
3. Legal name of Individual/s
4. Home address of Individual/s (this address may be foreign to Canada)
5. Business Activity for the business

Advantages of registering a business

The registration in any jurisdiction in Canada is the easiest and least expensive way to operate a business within Canada. The business revenues are taxed as part of the individual owners tax return and therefore a secondary tax filing is not required for the business under this format. The registration is simple to cancel if the business no longer operates.

Disadvantages of registering a business

The business name does not have name protection when registered. This allows any other business to register or incorporate after you have registered without issue. The registrations are inflexible, where only a few changes can occur from the original registration without the requirement of a new registration. The business format is considered small and less likely to receive financial credit. The business owner is personally responsible for any damages, whether personal or property, caused by the business.
Option 2 – Incorporate in British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia, a Province within Canada also known as B.C, is the only Province where you can incorporate a company and not be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident. To complete a B.C. incorporation, the head office address for the corporation must be within the Province. The director or directors of the corporation may have foreign addresses where their home addresses are not within Canada. If you require an address for the corporation, we recommend contacting a law firm or accounting firm within B.C. to establish an address and at the same time have legal or accounting representation within this Province.

Requirements to Incorporate in British Columbia

1. A minimum of one person to list as a director (Canadian or Non-Canadian accepted)
2. Name of the business to set up, unless you are establishing a numbered incorporation
3. B.C. address for the corporate address
4. Directors legal names and addresses. The directors are not required to have a B.C. address.

Advantages of an Incorporated business

• Continual existence never needing to be renewed
• Name protection if named corporation
• Liability protection where the corporation is a separate entity from the individual/s who own it
• Tax savings, where a corporation is taxed at a lower tax rate than the individual directors rate when money is maintained within the corporation
• Viewed as a more serious business than a Sole Proprietorship
• Has its own credit and accessibility to financial support
• Hold real estate, stocks, bonds separate from the individual owners

Disadvantages of an Incorporated business

• More expensive to establish compared to a small business
• Secondary tax filing required by the corporation and the individuals who operate it
• Yearly Annual Return filings required by the B.C. government to update corporate details
• More administration compared to small business
Option 3 – Incorporate with a Family member or friend
For most jurisdictions across Canada, including the other jurisdictional incorporations we offer including Federal, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, to incorporate, a minimum of 25% of the directors listed are required to be either Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.
Often individuals who do not have status in Canada but who wish to operate a business ask either Candian family members or friends to be listed as a director of their new corporation to gain eligibility.
Although this is a viable option, having other individuals listed as directors puts a Non-Resident at risk for many potential problems.
In Canada, there are no variations to incorporation or different offering of setting up a corporation. As an example, in the United States, you can incorporate either an LLC or S Corporation. In Canada, we have one applicable set up for incorporation.
The same advantages and disadvantages listed for the British Columbia incorporation are applicable to other jurisdictions with the exception for an individual to be a Non-Resident of Canada to incorporate.
If you would like Ontario Business Central to help you in establishing one of the other Incorporation jurisdictions we offer, here are the links to establish your new incorporation:
Ontario Incorporation
Federal/Canada Incorporation
Alberta Incorporation
Manitoba Incorporation
Saskatchewan Incorporation

Option 4 – Bring your existing corporation into Canada

If you have or can establish an incorporated company in your existing home jurisdiction outside of Canada, another alternative is to bring that existing corporation into a jurisdiction within Canada where your business will operate. This allows you to operate a corporation as a Non-Resident where you are required to have an Agent for Service (someone who resides in the Province you establish within who will be responsible for any legal correspondence for the corporation on your behalf). This application brings the corporation into Canada and not the directors of the corporation. In doing this, you will have a branch office of your existing corporation listed in Canada, there are tax and legal implications to your existing corporation and you may want to gain both legal and accounting professionals before considering this option. The same advantages and disadvantages are applicable to this application as any incorporation in Canada.
Ontario Business Central offers this option in Ontario directly through our website. If you are intending to establish a branch office of your existing foreign corporation in Ontario, we can assist you by preparing and completing an Extra Provincial Licence.
The address for the corporation must be within Ontario and you must have someone in Ontario who will represent the corporation for you as an Agent of Service.