Canada-wide Toll Free:

Articles & Updates

Registering Your Small Business in Canada

Last updated: Jul. 5, 2017 

Registering a Small Business in Canada

Canada is a country of small businesses. In fact, of the 1.16 million businesses in Canada, 1.14 million, or 98%, are small businesses—that is, employers with 99 employees or less.

While small businesses may account for all but a sliver of employers in Canada, no small business is the same.

One thing all small businesses have in common is that they require some form of business licence, permit, or registration to legally operate in Canada.

There are no exceptions. Even small businesses that operate from home and have just one employee need to undertake small business registration.

The big question for many small business owners just starting out is, what kind of small business licences are required and where do you get them?

Before Registering Your Small Business

Before registering your small business, you need to think about what you want to call your business and what form of business you want to start.

Naming Your Business: Your business name should be easy to remember and unique. It should also describe what your small business does.

Is the Web domain for the business name available?

Thanks to the Internet, business names have become much more creative. The Internet has also levelled the playing field so small businesses can compete against much bigger companies.

Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, or Co-Operative: What type of business structure is best-suited for your business? An incorporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or co-operative?

An experienced tax professional will be able to help you decide.

Provincial and Territorial Small Business Registration

In addition to registering with the federal government, most provincial and territorial governments require that you register your small business with them as well.

Incorporating your small business provincially allows you to do business under a corporate name in the province that you live in. If you incorporate your business federally, you can open locations across the country.

Permits and Licences

To operate a small business in Canada and comply with government regulations, you may need to obtain a variety of licences and permits from different levels of government. It will depend on your location, industry sector, or specific business activities.

For example, you may need a permit or licence if you want to run a promotion, develop a health product, engage in commercial fishing or aquaculture, sell tobacco, or operate in the agriculture, mining, foresting, land, and/or water sectors.

Collect Information About Business Tax

Depending on where you operate your business and the kind of products or services you offer, you may need to pay small business tax at the federal, provincial, and/or municipal levels.

Connect with your Local Tax Consultant to learn more

FBC, Helping Small Business Owners

Whether you’ve been operating a small business for decades, have just started a small business, or are thinking about registering your small business, the professional tax consultants at FBC can help.

Since 1952, FBC has worked exclusively with farmers and small business owners in Canada. Over the last 65 years, we have helped tens of thousands of small business owners from coast-to-coast minimize their tax burden and maximize their assets. We also understand that everyone’s business and accounting and tax needs are unique.

For more information on FBC and the services we offer, call us today at 1-800-265-1002 or submit an online form and an FBC tax specialist will contact you at your earliest convenience.