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How to set up a business in Canada

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If you are looking at launching a new business, but are considering making a move overseas to do it, Canada could well be the perfect choice. This could be a little surprising to some people. Although it is the second biggest country in the world, by area, it is perhaps one of the most sparsely populated. Is that a problem if you want to start a business here? Certainly not. In fact, according to the World Bank, Canada is the third-best country to start a business in.

If you explore the business hubs in Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton, you’ll soon see what makes Canada such a great option. We’re going to run through all that you need to know to make that move and get your business started.

How to deposit your initial investment

While this may fit better towards the end of the article, as it is probably one of the later steps that you’ll need to consider, we thought it best to include it here. Why? Well, it is something that people often overlook until the last minute. This leaves them relying on traditional banks which can see transfers take far too long as well as costing a small fortune in fees.

One of the most important steps to take is to find the best options to send money to Canada and to take advantage of low rates, a secure platform, and record times. This just makes good business sense.

What are the business opportunities in Canada?

The country has some great technology hubs so it is no surprise that these types of businesses fair well. Here’s a look at some of the top sectors that are worth exploring if you are looking to launch a business yourself:


A mention of technology hubs means that software is bound to be one of the sectors that are booming in Canada. There are already some incredibly successful software companies here, but that’s not to say that there isn’t room for more.

As technology continues to develop, there will always be opportunities for businesses that are able to harness this. The likes of AI, cloud-based services, and e-commerce, amongst others mean that software development is always going to be in demand.

Real estate

If you already have experience when it comes to property sales, Canada could be the perfect setting to take your business to the next level. While other industries and sectors may have faltered during the pandemic, this is one that remained stable and has seen growth as things have started to return to normality.

There are great opportunities in terms of residential properties. However, the demand for commercial properties is huge. This is because Canada is such a great place to start a business and other people are also doing this.


Perhaps not exclusive to Canada, e-commerce is a big business around the world. In Canada, the year 2020 saw some $29 billion worth of sales with 28 million Canadians making purchases online. While some of this was driven by the pandemic, there is nothing to suggest that this is a trend that will reverse.

There are reports that suggest that online sales are set to boom and see continued growth. While there will always be big companies, such as Amazon, to contend with, there is always room for new businesses with a new slant and USP.


With cryptocurrency booming and a rise in FinTech startups, Canada is a great country to launch a financial business. There are plenty of options to explore within this sector such as cloud-based accounting services and services that focus on freelancers.

Can foreign nationals launch a business in Canada?

There are currently three paths that can be followed for foreign nationals to launch their businesses in Canada. Regardless of the root that you pursue, you will need:

  • A viable business plan
  • Proven relevant experience
  • The financial means to launch your business
  • To show that you have no history of criminal behaviour or breaches of immigration laws

With that in mind, here’s a look at the options open to you:

Entrepreneur work permits

Canada has an Entrepreneur Work Permit Program that you may qualify for if you are wanting to launch a business. You’ll need to show how your business can add to the Canadian economy and create jobs. If your business is successful for 12 months you may then become eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Intra Company Transfers (ICT)

This provides the opportunity for owners of established businesses to expand into Canada. Again, one year of successful trading can lead to permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)

Each individual province in Canada has a pathway that will allow foreign nationals to work, invest, and reside in the country. Commonly, those looking to launch a business apply via the Ontario PNP or the British Columbia PNP.

Business structures in Canada

While you’re going to need to consider any appropriate business licences, as well as taxes, you’ll also need to decide upon your company structure. There are three main structures in Canada:

Sole proprietor

This structure is similar to what you’d find in the UK. It sees an individual being responsible for a business and is the most straightforward structure that there is. While the simplicity is enticing, it is worth being aware of the liabilities that this structure attracts. As a sole proprietor, there is no distinction between you and the business. This sees you being personally liable for any debts that may be incurred.


This is when two or more come together to form a business. The complication here is that each province has its own legislation when it comes to partnerships. The types of partnerships that can be formed include:

  • General partnerships
  • Limited partnerships
  • Limited liability partnerships
  • Undeclared partnerships


When you form a corporation it becomes its own legal entity. This means that it can own property, borrow and lend money, and even be sued. This is the most common structure that businesses choose in Canada as it sees a distinction between the shareholders and the business.


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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