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Starting a Business

It is not difficult to start a business in Ontario. There are excellent online resources to help you get started. The Service Ontario and Canada Business websites provide a comprehensive guide for all your business information needs.

Generally, there are two ways to own a business. You can either invest in an existing business or open a new one.

The process of starting a business involves identifying the form of business organization, registering your business, obtaining necessary licenses, and securing the start-up capital.

Forms of business organization

The 4 most common types of businesses in Canada include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Cooperatives

For more information about forms of business organization, and the advantages and disadvantages of each click here.

Registration

You can search for a business name and register a business online at the Service Ontario website by using a credit card. If you don’t want to pay by credit card, you can visit a nearby Service Ontario office. You can also book an appointment at the Leeds & Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre and receive a free assistance to register your business.

Rules and Regulations

You must obtain certain licenses and follow regulations based on the type of the business that you run. These rules are designed to protect you and your customers. For example, if you open up a restaurant, you must follow food safety and sanitary guidelines whereas a construction business requires following building and environmental standards; and so on.

To learn more, visit BizPal. This website offers in-depth information about various licenses and regulations.

City of Brockville has its own online business permits and licenses information website. This website provides customized reports of required licenses to start any type business in this particular jurisdiction.

Taxation

As an entrepreneur you should also be aware of the different taxes you are required to pay or collect from your clients.

One of the main taxes in Ontario is the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which is a combined federal/provincial tax. HST is mandatory to be collected (at a rate of 13% ) from customers by businesses with annual income exceeding $30,000 and optional for those with less income.

Income tax on self-employment income is another mandatory tax. Income tax rate calculation is progressive in Canada. This means that it grows as the amount of income grows. There are federal and provincial income taxes. To check the rates for both click here.

Businesses that hire employees, must also pay for a package of employee benefits, collectively known as payroll taxes. Those include Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payments, Employment Insurance (EI), Employer Health Insurance (EHI) and Workers Safety Insurance (WSI).

Corporate taxes are different than sole proprietorship and partnership taxes. There are additional taxes applicable to specific businesses, such as Property tax (paid by land and building owners to the municipal tax office) and ‘luxury’ taxes (tobacco, alcohol, etc).

Canada Revenue Agency website provides all the taxation information required to file a tax report for the businesses.

Financing your business

Commercial banks in Canada can provide loans to start-ups and existing businesses. Loans are given based on the evaluation of your business plan and financial situation. Each bank has its own template for submitting a business plan. It is recommended that you use each bank’s template while applying for a loan.

1000 Islands Community Futures Development Corporation (TICFDC) gives commercial loans of up to $150,000 to start-ups and existing businesses in the region that are generally higher risk and have difficulty to secure a loan from commercial banks. Like the commercial banks, TICFDC also requires a detailed business plan to make a decision on giving a loan.

Opening a Franchised Business

You can also start a business through purchasing the rights to a franchised business. When you buy a franchised business, you are buying the right to use the existing business model and their promotional tools and strategies, while separately owning and operating an outlet. Examples include ‘chain’ restaurants such as McDonalds, or clothing outlets like Winners.

Where to get Business Support and Resources

There are excellent resources in Leeds & Grenville to help you start your business. For more information, visit our Business Support and Resources  page.

Additionally, the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville website offers more information on starting a business in the region.