If you are an international citizen who has already established an enterprise or a small business in your home country, and currently thinking about expanding to a new rich market like the Canadian. Or are you a non-Canadian new-generation entrepreneur and would like to start your entrepreneurial journey in an open market like Canada? 

This article will have useful information that can help you throughout this path that you have chosen.  This is information that will help you register for  a business license and makes you accountable for sales tax.


To begin with, using the Canadian market as a base for your expansion is pretty simple: While you have to know that each province in the country will have its own procedures and specified expenses for extra-provincial registration.

For example, if you are an international citizen that operates a corporation in India, and is currently planning to expand their operations to the state of Ontario, there will be a need to register the company as an extra-provincial business within Ontario as a specific province in the beginning.

For extra-provincial registration, the first thing that you are in need of is an agent of service. This is either an individual that is 18 years or older, and is an Ontario resident, or a registered corporation that has a registered office in Ontario.

It is important to note that even though we used Ontario as the province in this example, all provinces of the country will have similar required procedures for starting an international business within their borders. In order to establish a registered business on Canadian lands, primarily you will need to choose the province that you will start in and then contact their respective provincial registry. If you are planning to start a business that spans more than one province, you will be expected to go through these procedures separately in each province of your choice.

However, in the case of you having a passport that is not Canadian and planning to develop a business in the country without having an already established firm in your home country, there will be various options available to you.


Primarily, if you plan to move to Canada and live there, entering the country as a business immigrant is always a valid option. Which is the best choice for you to move to Canada and start a business there simultaneously.

When browsing the Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website about the immigration process to Canada, the reader would find that there is a distinction between two business-related immigration programs: 

  • Start-up visa
  • Self Employed Individuals

To be a part of the start-up visa program, you must:

  • Have a qualifying business.
  • Meet the language requirements (proficiency in English or French).
  • Have a letter of support from a designated organization (venture capital groups, angel investors, or business incubators).
  • Have enough money to settle and live in Canada before your business starts making money.

On the other hand, for a movement to the Great White North as a self-employed individual you will be expected to have Relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics, as well as the desire and aptitude to contribute significantly to Canada’s cultural or athletic life.

Your education, age, adaptability, and language skills will all affect your application to work as a self-employed person in Canada; the ability to read, listen, speak, and write with ease in either English or French is crucial.

Starting a Firm on Canadian Land without Moving

 If you do not plan to immigrate to Canada, you can still start a business in this friendly business environment. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the legislation governing who could and couldn’t start various types of enterprises is defined by Canada’s several provinces, and the legislations are made with differences between the provinces.

For example, British Columbia (B.C.) is known for having the laxest restrictions when it comes to non-resident enterprises. Whether a Canadian citizen or not, a person can simply form a partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation in the beautiful and naturalistic British Columbia.

The specific needs will be:

  • Have a real physical address for your business (a post office box is not good enough).
  • Submit an Investment Canada application for review. (The Investment Canada Act states that “non-Canadians who acquire control of an existing Canadian business or who wish to establish a new unrelated Canadian business are subject to this Act, and they must submit either a Notification or an Application for Review.”)
  • Have the correct work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Then you’re ready to follow the necessary steps to set up your new small business in Canada.

In case you plan to establish a firm in a different province or territory, you’ll need to look into its specific regulations that will be similar to the ones that we have mentioned in this article.

Always remember that if non-Canadians are not permitted to establish a business in the industry you plan to invest in, you could enter through a partnership with a Canadian citizen or a registered immigrant.

As a foreign citizen, if you want to set up a partnership with another individual, they will be expected to be a citizen or an immigrant.

This is because of the Ontario Business Corporations Act:

At least 25% of the directors must be resident Canadians (if 25% of the directors is not a whole number round up to the nearest whole number). Where a corporation has less than four directors, at least one must be a resident Canadian (S. 118(3)).

Your company will need to be registered within the province or territory where it will be operating in. if you’re starting a business in Canada as a partnership. Follow the guidelines from the provincial registration office in the province where you plan to do business.

If, however, you are planning to start a corporation, you will first need to decide if it will be a federal or provincial incorporation as they are different in their procedures.


In case you plan to start a business with a fresh start in a friendly nation like Canada, you will have to pick between moving to Canada or partnering with a Canadian citizen or immigrant. The immigration option will always be the preferred choice if you want to be in the same country as your business to operate it freely.

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