Registering a Canadian business (eCommerce, drop shipping etc)
First thing’s first hustlr’s, registering a business is not hard at all, but if you think it is, we are here to guide you through the bumps and provide you with resources to help you get one step close to launching your hustl.
As an entrepreneur, one of the first steps is to register your business (side hustle) and lock down your idea. Your business name should reflect what you’re providing to your audience in some aspect, as this will help your consumer or potential consumers find you easily. Regardless of what kind of business you’ll have, you will need to register as a Corporation, Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership.
Once you have decided on the business name, visit the following page Naming your business page, as it will provide guidance with registering the business. Now that you have an understanding of how to move forward, you may need to do the following:
NUANS — federally specific and provincially specific corporate name search
Enterprise registry — Just for Quebec corporations
Trademark search — Register your company name and/or logo Canada-wide
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) Search your domain name and see if it's available.
Register as a sole proprietor (operating alone) or as a partnership with one or more individuals.
A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one individual. It is the simplest kind of business structure.
The owner of a sole proprietorship has sole responsibility for making decisions, receives all the profits, claims all losses, and does not have separate legal status from the business. If you are a sole proprietor, you also assume all the risks of the business. The risks extend even to your personal property and assets.”
A partnership is pretty much a sole proprietorship but with 2+ people versus 1. That means that each partner in the agreement owns part of the business.
There are a few types of partnership structures you can have in Canada:
General Partnership *most common: Each person is personally liable for the business
Limited Partnership: Certain individuals can be part of the business without being involved in the operations (kind of like a silent partner)
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): When each person of the group is considered a professional (ie. has a designation like a doctor, accountant, etc)
Typically a standard partnership would be a General Partnership and what we would suggest you register as if you want to go into a regular partnership in Canada. You will have to state the percentage of ownership for each partner within the partnership agreement so make sure you’re prepared to have this conversation. The best would be a direct 50/50 joint partnership so that there are no issues between the partner and both are putting in an equal amount of work into the business. Best practice for a partnership would be to establish an agreement between the partners laying out the “job description” and management of each section of the business. Example, 1 partner takes care of social media and marketing while the other partner handles the eCommerce and accounting. This sets a precedence at the beginning of the partnership so there are no blurred lines and you save some headaches and stress later down the road. If you need some help, it may be best to seek out a lawyer or professional to lay all of this out.
Choose which area you would like to register the Partnership Act with: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland … this may differ depending on the province or territory
A corporation is its own legal entity (considered its own “person”) where the shareholders (business owners) are not personally liable, unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership.
In Canada you have the option of incorporating federally or provincially.
Federal Incorporation: You can incorporate your business federally by filing online (for $200) or by mail, fax or in person (for $250). If you're ready to incorporate, you can apply online.
Provincial Incorporation: You can incorporate your business with most provinces and territories online. Not surprisingly each has a different process. I've put together all the links for you, so choose which area you would like to register with: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon.
Although you are not required to use a third party to register your business, you can. It can also free up your time so that you can concentrate on other aspects of setting up your business for that launch date set in your mind. Ownr is a convenient way to register or incorporate your business. They provide an all-in-one service that will register your business on your behalf and for an affordable price (under $30 if you’re registering as a sole proprietor). The good news is, when you register through Ownr and open an RBC business banking account within the first 60 days of registering, you will receive a credit of $60 though RBC (yes, they PAY YOU to register your business). This is just a mini business hack we’re letting you in on so that you can save money and costs towards starting your business!
Let’s get sh*t done!