WRSBC General Information

Starting a Business


Registering a Business

Maintaining a Business

Not-for-Profit Businesses

Other Types of Businesses

HST & Taxes

What is Waterloo Region Small Business Centre?

Waterloo Region Small Business Centre operates as a non-profit organization that facilitates economic growth and job creation in Waterloo Region.

We do this by giving entrepreneurs guidance, access to resources, connections to experts to help them start and grow their businesses, and by delivering programs, initiatives that increase entrepreneurial momentum.

Where are you located?

Main office                                        Satellite Office                               Satellite Office

Kitchener City Hall, 1st floor           Cambridge                                     Waterloo

200 King St W, Suite 230                96 Grand Ave S, Suite 103           100 Regina St.

Kitchener, ON                                   Cambridge, ON                             Waterloo, ON N2G 4G7                                            N1R 5W8                                        N2J 4A

Contact us:

519 741 2604                          

Can I just drop by?

Advisor consultations are by appointment only.  

If you are in the very early stages of getting started, before scheduling a meeting with an advisor, we recommend you attend a Startup Business Basics session held weekly or watch this video 

Do you only help startups?

Not at all! You could be at any stage of business to access our services.  We provide resources and guidance to all businesses.

How can I get started with you?

If you are in the very early stages of getting started, before scheduling a meeting with an advisor, we recommend you attend a Startup Business Basics session [register here].

We host many workshops and events almost daily to help entrepreneurs to start, learn and grow.  We also have a number of programs that may be a good fit for you. 

Advisor Consultations and Access to Professionals are by appointment only. Anchor

Who can attend your workshops and is there a fee?

Anyone and everyone – no matter your level of experience or industry, all are welcome! Basic information workshops are free. There is a charge for workshops lead by local experts.

Attending our workshops and events is also a great opportunity to meet or network with other small business owners.

Have a question or a suggestion for a workshop?

How is WR Small Business Centre funded?

All Waterloo Region Small Business Centre’s of services are made possible by generous support from our municipal, provincial, private partners and fees for workshops and eventss.

How is the private sector involved in WR Small Business Centre?

The private sector is involved with Waterloo Region Small Business Centre’s in many ways: first, as clients, sponsors, mentors, volunteers, subject matter experts, speakers and facilitators.  All volunteers are bound by a Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest agreement.

The WR Small Business Centre is a proud supporter of the entrepreneurial community. As much as we would love to sponsor all the great events in Waterloo Region, as a publicly funded entity, our funds are tied to program delivery and services. We are able to provide in-kind promotional support for a limited number of community events that directly align with our strategic plan and supported objectives and provide a specific value proposition to the small businesses and entrepreneurs that we serve. Inquire at

How does WR Small Business Centre work with local tech companies?

WR Small Business Centre works with the local knowledge-based industry to help them with certain barriers to startup and growth. By leveraging our close relationships with local experts, organizations, government, and educational institutions we strive to ensure that all your business needs are met and exceeded in Waterloo Region.

How do I start a business?

Starting a business is easy – register a business name and you’re ready to go, but starting a successful business takes a bit more effort.

Over the years we’ve found most successful business owners have followed these simple steps.

Steps in Starting a Successful Business:

  •  Get an idea
  •  Research customers, competition, market & industry
  •  Develop a business plan, estimate cashflow for 1-2 years
  •  Create a marketing and digital marketing strategy
  •  Talk to experienced entrepreneurs and potential customers
  •  Determine if the idea is viable
  •  Arrange financing
  •  Obtain necessary registrations, licenses, permits and insurance
  •  Implement your business plan = Open for business! 

More tips: Starting Your Business Checklist

What are the types legal business registrations?

There are various types business structures:  .

Sole Proprietorship 

  • Provincial

General Partnership 

  • Provincial


  • Provincial
  • Federal

Not-for Profit Incorporation 

  • Provincial
  • Federal

Co-operative Incorporation   

  • Provincial 
  • Federal


More information on proprietors, partnerships and incorporating available at CanadaBusiness 

How to I search a Business Names?

A couple of things you can do!  Whatever name you choose avoid using the same name as another business regardless whether they are in another city, province or country. Would you want someone to take your name?

How do I legally register a business in Ontario?

This simplest legal registration is a Master Business license.   This online Provincial site allows you to do a business name search, renew or register your sole proprietor, general partnership or corporate trade name go to Ontario Business Services.  Register a business name 

The fee for each name search is $8, the registration fee is $60. It takes about 30 minutes to complete your registration. When you are finished, print the Master Business License (MBL) you can also have it emailed to you.   The online services accepts Credit Cards only.

The Master Business License is valid for 5 years, after which you’ll need renew at the above link.  If your license has expires you have up to 60 days to renew after the 60 days of grace you will register as a new business but be aware you also get a new BIN number.

Self-service public computers are available at select Service Ontario locations where you can register a business name. The cost is $60, plus $8 if you include the name search.  Business name searches and registrations are processed and can be printed immediately for your records. Service Ontario locations will accept cash, debit or credit card located at 30 Duke Street, 2nd floor, Kitchener.

To change business information, address or cancel your Master Business License visit this link.

To change the business name, all partners, or change from a partnership to a sole proprietor you must complete a new business registration.

Does the government remind me when my Master Business License will expire?

No. Unfortunately, it is solely your responsibility to remember to renew it every five years.  Think of this licenses like your passport, the burden is on you to know the expiry date and renew the license.

How do I change the name of the business or partners names listed on the business registration or Master Business License?

If you are a sole proprietor or general partnership with a Master Business License, a change to the following information will require a new business name registration.

  • business name
  • all partners in a partnership
  • business  type (for example, changing a sole proprietorship to partnership)
How do I change the address of my sole proprietor business?

An Ontario sole proprietor or general partnership business can change the business address or cancel the business online.  Have a copy of your Master Business License  available to you when submitting the change or cancelation. The original information along with the BIN (9 Digit Business Name Registration Number) from your current registration is required when changing the address or cancelling a business. 

How do I cancel a sole proprietor business?

An Ontario sole proprietor or general partnership business can cancel the business online.  have a copy of your Master Business License  available to you when submitting the cancelation. The original information along with the BIN (9 Digit Business Name Registration Number) from your current registration is required when cancelling.

How do I change the name of my business?
  • Changing the name of your business registration is considered a new registration and the relevant fee applies. ... Alternatively, the registrant can amend or cancel a business name registration online through the ServiceOntario website at
  • If a corporation decides to change the name you must advise Canada Revenue Agency.  and complete the provincial Articles of Amendment (Form 3 approved by the Minister under the Regulations to the Business Corporations Act ), completed in duplicate, bearing original signatures on both copies. Ontario-biased NUANS name search report if there is a change of name (not required if the new name is a number name); Fee of $150.00.(2018)
  • Federal corporations will register in Ontario where they carry on business
Can I change my sole proprietor business to a corporation? 

Switching from the Sole Proprietorship to an Incorporated company is easier than you think. You have a few options to add a legal ending to the business name: Inc., Incorporated, Ltd., Limited, Corp., Corporation:

  • Register an Ontario Numbered Corporation, then online you can register/connect new corporation number to the sole proprietor master business license.
  • Register a new Ontario Corporation in the new name or the same name as your Master Business License then cancel the Master Business License. 
  • Register a Federal Corporation in the new name or the same name as your Master Business License then cancel the Master Business License. 

Before registering the incorporation a NUANS report is required.  After the Incorporation has been completed you will need to change:

  • Bank account – incorporating puts your business in a new business category with most banks. A new bank account may be required Cheques / Credit Cards
  • Make sure to properly transfer bank, other licenses, assets, etc. into the new business.
  • Tax accounts – HST, Payroll, Corporate, WSIB, etc. will need to be set up or changed
  • Business cards, Letterhead, Signs, Invoices, Website and social media

Provincial vs Federal Incorporation, what’s the difference?

Whether you choose to incorporate federally or provincially depends on the nature of your company’s business. If you own a smaller business operating on a local level and have no plans of expanding across provinces, as well as no national or customers or suppliers, it may make more sense to incorporate within your province. If you register your business only in a single province, you are only protected in that location. If a business is using your name in another province, you won’t be able to register there. Discussing your long term plans with an accountant or lawyer is advised.

Oppositely, if your company regularly conducts business with other Canadian or international partners and you have plans for establishments in more than one province, federal incorporation may be the way to go. Federal incorporation gives you the right to use your business name across all of Canada. It protects you even if there is another business in a different province using the same name. You may also need a provincial registration.

How do I legally register a Provincial Incorporation?

There are three service delivery choices available to clients who wish to incorporate a business corporation in Ontario:

File Articles of Incorporation electronically via the Internet through one of the Service Providers under contract with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The fee is $300. Unless the corporation will have a number name, an original Ontario-biased NUANS name search report must be obtained from a private name search company and be submitted with the Articles of Incorporation. For more information about service providers visit:

For over-the-counter service, articles may be filed in person at the Toronto office or at some Land Registry/ServiceOntario offices in Ontario (See the “Offices That Endorse Articles Submitted Under the Business Corporations Act” information sheet). The information sheet is available online at 

Submit Articles of Incorporation by mail to the Central Production and Verification Services Branch, 393 University Avenue, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M2.

To manually complete and take to a Land Registry/Service Ontario off  or mail to Toronto.

  • Download Form 1 (Articles of Incorporation)  
  • Download Form 2 (Consent to act as First Director) Other support documents, if required (e.g. legal opinion). Note: Consent to Act as First Director is no longer required to be filed with the Branch but it must be kept at the corporation’s registered office.
  • NUANS search and attach to application
  • Covering letter giving a contact name, return address and telephone number. If a future date of incorporation (up to 30 days ahead) is required it must be set out in the covering letter.
  • Please be advised that the Branch cannot give legal advice. This information is intended as a general guide only. For further assistance or legal information, please consult private legal counsel.
  • If you need a lawyer, you may wish to contact the Law Society Referral Service of the Law Society of Upper Canada. You will be referred to a lawyer for up to one half-hour free legal consultation. You must be 18 years of age to access this service. The Law Society Referral Service can be reached by telephoning 1-800-268-8326.

Please refer to the Business Corporations Act for details governing business corporations in Ontario. The Business Corporations Act is available on the Internet or can be purchased through Publications Ontario at 416-326-5300 or toll-free at 1-800-668-9938. The website for Publications Ontario is  

How do I change the name of Provincial incorporation?

If you are not Incorporated and have a Master Business license (Sole Proprietorships, General Partnership, and Operating Names), unfortunately, cannot directly change their business name on the registration.  You must register a new Master Business License for the new business name. Then close and cancel the old Master Business License cancelled. Make sure to properly transfer bank, tax, other licenses, HST, Payroll, WSIB, assets, etc. into the new business.

If your business Corporation wishes to apply to change its name or other provisions within its Articles, the corporation must file an Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act). The cost of this form is $150.

How do I cancel an Incorporated, Corporation?

If you decide to dissolve / close a corporation yourself, it’s called a voluntary dissolution. There are two ways to dissolve your corporation, depending on whether your corporation has started carrying on business or issued any shares or not. The requirements for each type of voluntary dissolution are set out in the forms below. Talk to a lawyer to determine which of the two forms below you need to fill out and other tax filings required at the time of dissolution.

How do I register a Federal corporation?

When you incorporate federally, the cost is $200, at the same time you apply for many of the other registrations you need.

First complete a NUANS (name) search, $13.80, you will need the number on this search to complete the Business registration.  Be prepared with a list directors name and contact information. As part of the federal incorporation process, you can 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

Register a Canadian Federal Corporation

If the Corporation is registered Federally do I need to register Provincially?

Corporations are required to register in the provinces in which they will conduct business. When you incorporate your federal corporation online, you can, at the same time, register your corporation in Ontario.

What is an Extra Provincial Registration?

Extra-provincial registration is a process of incorporation in Canada that both Canadian corporations in Canada and foreign corporations have to go through when they seek to do business in Canada or in various provinces or territories throughout Canada. Form for Extra Provincial registration $330

In general, an Ontario corporation is entitled to carry on business in Ontario under its corporate name. An Ontario corporation “doing business for the purpose of registration in another province” generally requires an extra-provincial license, as registration of your corporation is mandatory in the province where you do business.

“Doing business for the purpose of registration” typically means having employees, facilities or offices in the jurisdiction. Merely entering into contracts in Canada or selling goods or services in another jurisdiction, does not necessarily require registration in that jurisdiction" (some provinces have Reciprocal Agreements for Extra-Provincial Registration).

Does a Corporation need a Master Business License?

Under Ontario’s Business Names Act, you must register your business name with the Province if you are operating a business under a name other than the legal name of the owner of the business. Registration applies to:

  • Sole proprietorships who are operating a business that is different from the owner’s name
  • Partnerships (except for partnerships operating under the Limited Partnerships Act)
  • Corporations who are doing business under a different name than their corporate name
  • Registration provides you with a Master Business License that lasts for five years at a cost of $60.00.

How do I change the Ontario Corporation information, Corporation Name, Address, Directors, Shares?

Please be advised we do not provide legal advice. This information is intended as a general guide only. For further assistance or legal information, please consult private legal counsel.

Changes to Ontario Corporation information;

Name Change

Articles of Amendment If your business Corporation wishes to apply to change its name or other provisions within its Articles, the corporation must file an Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act). The cost of this form is $150. The amendment must be accompanied by a NUANS name search report for the proposed new name (not required if the name is changing to a number name).

Registered Office Address

Whenever a corporation changes its office address, an Initial Return/Notice of Change, Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act must be completed and filed with the Central Production and Verification Services Branch within 15 days of the change (Section 4(1) of the Corporations Information Act). 


Whenever the number of directors changes within the minimum and maximum number provided for in the Articles, an Initial Return/Notice of Change, Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act must be filed within 15 days after the change.

Any change to the board of directors of a corporation must be set out in an Initial Return/Notice of Change, Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act and filed with the Central Production and Verification Services Branch within 15 days after the change (S.4(1) of the Corporations Information Act).


Any change to clauses relating to shares, as set out in the Articles of Incorporation, must be clearly set out in Articles of Amendment.

If your business Corporation wishes to apply to change its name or other provisions within its Articles, the corporation must file an Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act). The cost of this form is $150.

What is a business number (BN)?

A Business Number relates to a business as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) relates to an individual. CCRA issues this nine-digit number when you register for any the of 4 CCRA accounts:

  • payroll deductions (Income tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance)
  • importer/exporter license
  • corporate income tax number

This number is designed to simplify and streamline interaction with CRA. Related information is available at the Canada Revenue Agency website.

FYI: A Business Number (BN) is not to be confused with a Business Identification Number (BIN). If you register your business name, you will receive a Business Identification Number as part of your Master Business License from the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. The BN number is issued by the Federal Government.

Do I need to register my business with the Municipal government?

If you are a current business owner or plan to open a business, the City requires that certain businesses be licensed so their operations can be reviewed by all necessary departments to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the public. The City supports local business owners by guiding them through this process, and provides a number of resources for prospective applicants.

Why does the City require a business license?

The City requires business licenses to ensure the health, safety and the well-being of the public, consumer protection and nuisance control.

How do I get a Municipal business license?

To get a business license and ensure you receive the information and application that applies to the type of business you are proposing, contact the City's licensing, enforcement or Clerks office.

Zoning bylaws - Most importantly, you will want to start by considering zoning, as the property where your business will be located must be in compliance with the City’s zoning bylaw. Zoning rules apply to ALL businesses, including home businesses. See our contact sheet for zoning office in Waterloo Region

Building permits - A building permit may be required for alterations to your property or for a change in use, even if you are not planning any construction. For more information contact Building

Do I require a business municipal license or permit license?

If you propose to operate any of the following business types, a municipal business license is required to be filed and approved, prior to operating:

Do I have to apply in person for a Municipal license or permit?

The Municipality guides local business owners through this process, and provides them with a number of resources. Fees vary based on the license. 

What permits, inspections, approvals or documents are necessary to start a business?

Any of the following may be required depending on the type of business:

  • Business plan
  • Site plan
  • Government-issued identification
  • CPIC
  • Fire department inspection and/or approval
  • Sign Permit
  • Health department inspection and/or approval
  • Zoning/planning department approval
  • Building department inspection and/or approval
  • Master business license
  • Tobacco retail or dealers permit

Will the city contact all of the agencies that are required as part of the licensing progress?

No. You will receive an inspection sheet as part of your business license application package. It is your responsibility to reach out to each required department noted in the application. You are also responsible for providing supporting documentation and a site plan to these departments to provide specific required information to support the approval of your business license

Can I transfer my license if I move locations?

No. Changing your business' location requires you to reapply for a business license.

If I sell my business does my license transfer to the new owner?

No. Your business license will not transfer to new owners in the event that you sell your business. Change of ownership requires that the new owners undertake the application and approval process prior to opening.

Does my home business need a business license?

This depends. If you wish to operate a business which is listed under the "Do I require a business license?" question above, you must contact the zoning/planning department to verify zoning compliance.

What happens if I operate within the City without a business license?

If staff becomes aware of a business that is operating without a licence, the City's enforcement team is obligated to investigate the matter and enforce the City's bylaws. The City's bylaws do not give staff discretion or flexibility in this regard. All enforcement actions are kept confidential for the business owner's privacy.

I want to start a non-profit where do I start?

Similar to a for profit business start with a plan.  Research your competition and how you will generate revenue to pay the bills for the service you provide.  You can structure your not-for-profit organization as a federal or provincial corporation. The process and requirements for setting up your corporation will vary based on the option you choose. Federal incorporation may be a good option if you need nation-wide business name protection or if you will be operating internationally. If you plan to be located in only one province, you may wish to incorporate provincially. You may wish to consult a lawyer when choosing the best option for your organization. 

Not for Profit Guide 

How do I register a Non-for Profit?

To register a Federal Corporation you will submit:

How do I apply to be a Registered Charity?

If your corporation intends to become a registered charity, click here. Also visit Charities and Giving (Canada Revenue Agency)   during the preparation of your incorporating documents. The Charities and giving webpage provides valuable information about what must be contained in certain statements in your incorporating documents to meet the requirements to qualify for registration as a charity.

What happens after I submit my Not-for Profit Application?

An application is complete if:

  • it includes all necessary documents;
  • the forms are complete and signed; and
  • the fee is included.

If any of these things are missing, your application will be considered incomplete. Since Corporations Canada cannot properly examine your application without these things, an initial scan is done to make sure they are all there.

If your application is incomplete or invalid

  • it will be returned to you along with a letter that tells you what is missing or explains why it is invalid;
  • you must send a complete and valid application within four months or else your application will be considered abandoned and the fee, if any, will be refunded.

For more information click here

What do I do after the non-for-profit corporation has been created?

Once the corporation has been created, a number of other items must be considered. Next steps following incorporation, this link provides information on what needs to be done after a corporation has been created and on how to operate a not-for-profit corporation under the NFP Act.

You will be required to file certain documents with Corporations Canada (see Your reporting obligations under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act). 

At the first organizational meeting, the directors can make by-laws. This process can be simplified by referring to the Model by-laws – Not-for-profit corporations, which have been written to apply to a typical not-for-profit corporation.

Corporations Canada has also developed an online interactive tool called a By-law builder: not-for-profit corporations that allows you to generate the by-laws you want by choosing provisions that meet the specific needs of your corporation from a number of available options.

What income Tax Form do I use for my business?

T2125 – Sole Proprietor and Partnerships in Ontario.  Statement of Business or Professional Income – this form is for sole proprietor of general partnership and is filed with the persons Individual Tax Return each calendar year

T2 – Incorporations ALL corporations — including non-profit organizations, tax-exempt corporations, and inactive corporations — have to file a T2 return for every tax year, even if there is no tax payable. File your return within six months of the end of each tax year. The tax year of a corporation is its fiscal period.

When the corporation's tax year ends on the last day of a month, file the return by the last day of the sixth month after the end of the tax year.

T4117 – Not-for-Profit Corporation – Income Tax Guide for Not-for-Profits 

An organization that has to file an NPO information return may also have to file other returns such as a T2 – Corporation Income Tax Return, a T2 Short, or a T3 – Trust Income Tax and Information Return. For more information on how to file these returns, see guides T4012, T2 Corporation – Income Tax Guide, and T4013, T3 – Trust Guide.

A corporation generally has to file a T2 – Corporation Income Tax Return, or a T2 Short, even though it may be an NPO.  Consult an Acccountant to prepare CRA Tax Returns.

What is a Co-operative?

A co-operative (co-op) is a type of incorporated business that is owned by a group of people (known as members) with common needs and/or a common goal.

Some other differences include:

  • Each member has an equal vote regardless of their capital contribution (one member equals one vote)
  • The primary purpose of a co-op is to meet the common needs of the members, not to maximize profits for shareholders
  • At least two-thirds of the board of directors must be members that are elected at the general meeting
  • Payment of profit or surplus is often limited or distributed to the organizational reserve

Co-operatives are set up as either federal or provincial corporations. Your needs, the needs of the members and the business location can help you determine which option is best for your co-op.

Information guide on Co-operatives 

Who is the Ontario Co-operative Association?

Co-operatives are a different kind of business model that are driven by people, planet and profit. The Ontario Co-operative Association (OCA) is the provincial trade association for Ontario’s 1,500+ English-speaking co-operatives. OCA ensures that people across the province understand the benefits and versatility of the co-operative business model, and to promote the member-owned co-operative businesses. OCA supports groups wanting to build new or develop established co-operative businesses.

How do I register a Co-operative?

Co-operatives are set up as either federal or provincial corporations. Your needs, the needs of the members and the business location can help you determine which option is best for your co-op.

Provincial Co-op Incorporation

If you plan on opening a location(s) only in Ontario, you may choose to incorporate your co-op provincially.

There are three major parts of applying for provincial incorporation:

  • Complete a NUANS name search, which will confirm if your chosen business name is available.
  • Send the appropriate forms and documents to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The documents provide the co-op’s name, purpose, share structure, directors and incorporators. Approval is needed before you can start doing business.
  • Pay the appropriate fee.

How to incorporate a co-operative

What is a B-Corp

The B-Corporation certification is a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B-Lab, a global non-profit organization with offices in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.  

Companies must meet social sustainability and environmental performance standards, meet accountability standards, and be transparent to the public according to the score they receive on the assessment. Over 230 Canadian B Corps companies are leading the charge in using business as a force for good in this Canada.

What is a Social Enterprise?

Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses (operated by a non-profit organization or by a for-profit company) having two goals: to achieve social, cultural, community economic and/or environmental outcomes; and, to earn revenue.

On the surface, many social enterprises look, feel, and even operate like traditional businesses. But looking more deeply, one discovers the defining characteristics of the social enterprise: mission is at the centre of business, with income generation playing an important supporting role.

It is essential to note that ‘social enterprise’ is not defined within Canada’s Income Tax Act. There is no certification or other program to enable a venture to be officially deemed a social enterprise.

Other definitions include:

Social enterprise applies an entrepreneurial approach to addressing social issues and creating positive community change.

  • A social enterprise is a business that uses entrepreneurial methods to accomplish social goals and/or feed profits to a parent charity or non-profit to enable it to fulfill more of its own social mission.
  • A social enterprise is a revenue-generating business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to deliver profit to shareholders and owners.
Are you running a Social Enterprise?
  • One test for a non-profit or charity that believes it is operating a social enterprise: what are you selling? It could be that you are operating with an entrepreneurial mindset within your organization, but if you are not selling a good or service into the marketplace, you aren’t running a business: you may be running a social program, but not a social enterprise.
  • A test for a traditional business that believes it is operating a social enterprise: to what degree do social / environmental goals steer your ship? If profit is paramount (and particularly if individual owners or shareholders are personally benefitting), you may be engaging in socially conscious purchasing or corporate social responsibility, rather than operating a social enterprise.
  • Another possible definition: A social economy enterprise operates like a business, produces goods and services for the market, but manages its operations and redirects its surpluses in pursuit of social and environmental goals.
  • An equally noble goal of social enterprise (aside from generating revenues to pursue a mission) is the training and/or employment of people who are typically excluded from the mainstream economy, thus creating capacity and self-sufficiency for individuals, and impacting their communities and lessening reliance on the social safety net. This element alone can denote a social enterprise.

Examples:  Habitat for Humanity & the Restore – the Restore provides training and employment for people who are typically excluded from the main steam, it generate revenue from the donated products and materials, and redirects its surplus to address poverty and housing.

What expenses can I “write off”?

You can generally deduct business expenses - if they are incurred to produce income. If you claim expenses, you must be able to back up your claim. You do this by keeping all your business-related vouchers and receipts, and by recording all your expenses in a journal. Examples of expenses you can deduct:

  • accounting/legal fees
  • advertising expenses
  • professional fees and dues
  • license costs
  • interest and bank charges
  • meals and entertainment* (check rules)
  • maintenance, repairs and vehicle expenses
  • use of a workspace in your home
  • inventory and costs of goods sold

Related information is available at the CanadaBusiness web site. See also the CRA's 'Business and Professional Income T2125 ' tax guide.  This form is attached to your Personal Income Tax Return.

Incorporations file T2 form on their fiscal year end. 

I am a newcomer to Canada which business should I start in Canada?

If you’re new to Canada and want to start a business, it’s important to plan carefully. Running a business has many challenges, immigrants face very unique challenges,  We suggest three tips for new immigrants to Canada who want to tackle those challenges and start a business successfully

Build your credit score

Being new to Canada means you may not have a history of responsible credit use banks can lean on to lend you money as you get your business started.

Embrace Canadian culture

To run a business anywhere, you need to understand the local culture—who your customers are, what they like to buy and how they like to buy it.

Find a mentor

There’s a lot to soak up when you start a business, especially if you’ve just recently arrived in Canada; a mentor—someone with experience who can offer you advice and guidance—can be a huge help

Set yourself up for success

Narang says it’s important you have enough money to cover your personal expenses while your business is getting started because it may take some time to become profitable. At least six months of personal expenses is a good baseline. 

Entrepreneurship Connections®  is now being offered nationally! In addition to our Toronto cohorts, we will be offering this unique program in Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Moncton. Some locations will be offering condensed boot-camp sessions both in English and Arabic, luable process in and of itself.

Futurpreneur – If you’re new to Canada, are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have lived in Canada less than 60 months, between the age 18-39 you may be eligible to apply for a startup loan.

I want to buy a Franchise where do I start?

Starting a business from scratch can be overwhelming for first-time entrepreneurs. That's why investing in an already successful franchise may be a good solution for your new business venture.

The original business owner (the franchisor) grants a licence for the use of the trademark or trade name for a fee. The person who buys the franchise (the franchisee) is allowed to use the franchisor's business name and operating system to set up the business. As a franchisee, you pay the franchisor a certain amount (royalties) from your franchise's profits.

Bookkeeping how do I keep good records?

You are required by law to keep records of all your transactions, for 6 years, to be able to support your

  • income
  • expense 
  • property

A record is defined to include an account, an agreement, a book, a chart or table, a diagram, a form, an image, an invoice, a letter, a map, a memorandum, a plan, a return, a statement, a telegram, a voucher, and any other proof containing information, whether in writing or in any other form.

Keep a record of your daily income and expenses. There are many record books and bookkeeping systems available. Or you can use a book or excel spreadsheet that has columns and separate pages for income and expenses.

Keep your duplicate invoices, deposit slips, bank statements, and cancelled cheques. Keep separate records for each business you run. If you want to keep computerized records, make sure they are clear and easy to read.

Should I charge HST, how do I get an HST number?

Most businesses that operate in Ontario and have sales (revenues), totaling more than $30,000 over 4 consecutive quarters must register for and charge HST.  If your total annual sales are less than or equal to $30,000, you are considered to be a small supplier and are not required to register and charge HST (including International sales). Depending on the nature of your business you may still choose to register as you will be able to claim input tax credits (ITCs) to recover the GST/HST you pay or owe on your business purchases. You may also find that some clients may only do business with businesses registered for HST.

When you register for HST you are given a unique Business Number (BN). If you have not obtained a BN, you do not charge HST. Once you have registered you have to remit at the required intervals even if you have zero sales.

For further information, visit the CRA web site or call  +1(800)959-5525

Do I need to charge my International customers sales tax or HST?

If you sell goods or services to customers outside of Canada, you are not required to collect GST/HST or PST, provided they take delivery of the goods or services outside of Canada. The service must be wholly used outside of Canada. If non-resident customers, such as tourists, make purchases within your province or territory, they are required to pay the GST/HST and PST. In some cases, they may be eligible to receive a GST/HST rebate.

What taxes do I charge for out of province sales

When you sell and ship or deliver taxable goods and services to out-of-province/territory customers, the sales tax that applies in your customer's province or territory is generally applicable.

Link to HST / GST/ PST Table for all Provinces

How do I file HST to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Starting a new business? Watch videos that can help you understand the basics, from GST/HST to filing your returns. CRA Business Video Gallery

Do I charge HST / GST to indigenous people?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants you to be aware of GST/HST requirements that apply to you as an Indian, an Indian band, and band-empowered entity, under the Indian Act. We recognize that many indigenous people in Canada prefer not to describe themselves as Indians. However, the term Indian is used because it has a legal meaning in the Indian Act.

See how HST/GST is applied to purchases