Guide – How to Start a Business in Canada as a Foreigner

Have you ever thought about starting a business in Canada but you do not know how to do it? Naturally, you might be a bit concerned because you are not a Canadian and all domestic terms and conditions of running a business are unfamiliar to you. In your head dozens of questions have been accumulating lately, you weigh up pros and cons but you are still not sure about your idea. It is time to stop overthinking and familiarize yourself with basic information about opening a business in Canada as a foreigner. Look at the article below which might be useful in your decision-making process. 1. How to start a business in Canada?

This “how to start a business in Canada as a foreigner” guide presents two possibilities of that action. Both, when you have established a business in your country already but you want to run a business in Canada, and in the situation, you plan to set up a business in this country from scratch.

1.2 Open your (already-established) business in Canada

The business you run in your state has a chance to succeed in Canada? So why don’t you try your hand at moving that line of work there? Firstly, you need to meet special conditions which are related to registering a company in Canada. As we know, this country is divided into three territories and ten provinces. The terms and regulations, you are obliged to obey when you open a business there, depend on the particular area. Let’s picture the example in order to better understanding the process. On the premise that your business is about the forestry, you decide to expand the Alberta market (because of the thriving timber industry in this area). So, you’ve got a place, but what next?

1.2.1 How to register a company in Canada?

We have already known that registering a company in Canada is dependable in the province we would like to choose because all administrative units have their own regulations and procedures. Going back to our example with Alberta, if you decide to open a business in this place, Alberta government requires you to fulfill special forms such as Statement of Registration or Notice/Cancellation of Assumed Name. You need to gather copies of different documents or certifications which must be approved by a company official, notary public or government, so if you think about moving a business to Canada, prepare all necessary information about your company – from a statute and letters patent to memorandum of association. Presenting the specifications is not the only thing to become a Corporate Registry member. You are obliged to appoint the attorney who will represent your business in Alberta. This person is also responsible for accepting legal documents and you do not have to choose from lawyers – it can be just the Alberta accountant. Do not forget about paying a service fee and government fee. It is an unavoidable element and it is dependable on the products from the catalog. The other thing is making sure that there is no entity who goes under a similar name. You can check it by downloading a special Alberta NUANS Report. If there is too similar to yours, you have an opportunity of “assumed name” and reservation of your business name figures in NUANS for 90 days. Finally, the certificate of incorporation would be received after you set forth all authorized by your Alberta service provider documents:

  • fee payment confirmation,
  • the valid ID number,
  • registration forms,
  • NUANS report. Then, your company will be listed in the Corporate Registry and you can start your adventure by doing businesses in Canada.

1.2.2 Registering a business in the chosen province

In generally speaking, no matter what part of Canada would be chosen by us, the registration process in these areas is very up-close. It is also connected with special documentation fulfillment, paying a fee to register as an extra-provincial corporation or your representative agent of the service appointment. Keep in mind, that if you would like to open a business in more than one Canadian province, it is necessary to register your company in every single area.

1.3 Set up a business in Canada

There is another point of view if we think about starting a business in Canada – we can do it by immigrating and setting up a new company there. The Canadian government projects two possibilities for this action: using Start-Up Visa Program or immigrate as a self-employed person. What option should you choose? Details below might be useful in getting an answer that posed a question.

1.3.1 Start-up Visa Program

This kind of program is dedicated to foreign entrepreneurs who can be competitive in the international area, create jobs for Canadians or their business is innovative. Of course, there is an array of different formal conditions you must meet. For example, your business must be qualified and you have to prove that you are able to communicate and work in English, French or both languages. Moreover, keep in mind that the country government does not support your idea in a financial way. So before you start a business in Canada you need to have a sufficient amount of money to settle down. If you meet all requirements above, there is a time for an application process. Firstly, fill out the application form. Gather all the required information and pay the application fees such as processing fee or your medical exam fee for a third party (if it’s needed). After submitting your application, there is a time for the Canadian institution’ decision. Your request might be delayed if e.g. there would be criminal problems or the situation of your family is not clear. In case of misunderstandings or lack of some attachments, the application would be sent back to you towards completing it. When you receive approval of the submission, you would get a permanent resident visa and… get ready for moving out to Canada!

1.3.2 Self-employed person

You are able to open a business in Canada as a self-employed person when you are:

  • experienced enough,
  • meeting medical and security standards,
  • meeting special criteria,
  • willing to be self-employed in Canada. What it exactly means? In the light of the official Canadian Government website, relevant experience is (at least) two years experience, special criteria are related to your education, age or language possibilities. What is more, you have to show that you are able to provide for your family in a financial sense. The application process is very similar to the previous (Start-up Visa) one. You will also need to fill submission form, attach required documents and pay special fees. The general fee for immigration as a self-employed person starts from $1540 and all processing time last about 25 months. Keep in mind, when you arrive to Canada with more than CAN$10.000, you must tell about it to the CBSA officer. If you forget about this fact, your money can be seized. It also is worth to get to know with CBSA website and check what you can transport into Canada. 2. Summary

As we can see, there are two main options if you think about opening a business in Canada as a foreigner. All in all, moving an already-established business to this country is related to many registration factors which depend on the provinces you want to work in. And even though each of them has its own procedures and regulations, the form of application is very similar. In the case of starting a business in Canada from scratch, check if you meet all essential conditions and… be patient because all processes might last even about 2 years. No matter what kind of starting a business in Canada for foreigners opportunities you decide to pick. Check if your company, or idea for a business, has a chance to succeed in a particular region.