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How to Register a Canadian Business for a Foreigner?

10 Dec 2021

The article below answers questions: Can I start a business in Canada if I am not a Canadian citizen and how?
based on materials from https://internationalwealth.info

Canada has a strong and vividly developing economy. It is one of the three most advanced countries in the field of immigration policy. The Canadian legislation is quite loyal and encouraging to foreigners who want to come and settle down in the country. Social support and medicine are well developed and provide good living standards making the country a very attractive destination for people who are looking for better living or business opportunities.

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Ontario Business Center
Ontario Business Center

In addition to the above, Canada was able to create one of the world's best investment climates for small and medium-sized businesses. In particular, the local laws for the protection of property rights are known to be of the highest quality and advantageous to entrepreneurship.

It is, therefore, no surprise that many entrepreneurs from all over the world would like to open a business in Canada. For this, certain requirements must be met.

First of all, if you are a Canadian (citizen or immigrant with permanent resident status), then all you need to do to register a company is a Canadian address (not just a post office box, but a real Canadian residence). In this case, you can register: your business as an individual entrepreneur, or any other form of business permitted in Canada: this can be a partnership or a company.

Registration as an entrepreneur or company can be done as per below, depending on the needs of your particular type of activity:

  • - directly at the registered address location of the entrepreneur/founder of the company;
  • - in one or more provinces of Canada, depending on where you will be doing business operations. But you need to take into account that registration will have to take place in each province separately;
  • - throughout Canada. This is called federal registration.
The details of the procedure for registering a company and brand in Canada will differ depending on the location (province).

If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanently residing immigrant, then you have the opportunity to register a business in Canada, but your options here will be somewhat limited.

Business Registration Options in Canada for Non-residents

If you are creating a new business, for example, in the IT sector, there are two options to follow:

  • * Creation of a Limited Partnership, hereinafter LP, in cooperation with a Canadian citizen residing in Canada. An LP resembles the commonly known LLC (limited liability company), with one significant difference that LP does not have to pay income taxes from revenues received outside Canada. Also, there are several deductions from the tax base applied to income received in Canada, if spent directly on living, medical services, and education.
  • * Registration of a Corporation (Similar to a Joint Stock Company).
You will need a Canadian address anyway to benefit from Canadian corporation tax incentives. The Canadian Federal Law requires 25 percent of directors to be Canadian residents. If there are fewer than four directors, the CBCA (Canadian Business Corporations Act) requires one director to be a resident of Canada.

Canadian Business Corporations Act
Canadian Business Corporations Act

Each province, however, may have its own residency requirements. For example, some provinces do not impose residency requirements for directors. For example:

  • New Brunswick
  • Quebec (Montreal)
  • Nova Scotia
  • Yukon
  • British Columbia (Vancouver).
An interesting example in this regard is the law of British Columbia, which has the most flexible rules for non-resident businesses. In this province, anyone can start a sole proprietorship, partnership, or company, regardless of whether s/he is a Canadian citizen or not.

British Columbia
British Columbia

For both the Corporation and LP, your Canadian partner address is used as the basis for starting your business in Canada. This is a very important step for a successful registration.

If you already have a working business, then registration of two types of legal entities is possible: [list] * A branch of your company in Canada. This is done through the registration of an Extra-Provincial or Foreign Company. * Subsidiary. A subsidiary differs from the registration of a branch in that the shares of the subsidiary are held by a foreign parent company. At the same time, unlike a branch, registering a subsidiary may protect the parent company through a mechanism of limited liability against the actions of the subsidiary.

Registration in both cases is carried out either in each province individually or at the federal level.

Business and Citizenship of Canada

The incorporation of a company in Canada, in itself, is not giving any advantages for a permanent residence. Everything described above assumes that you are intended to remain a resident of another country. This means that if you are not a Canadian citizen or an immigrant, then you cannot just come to Canada and register your business here on your own.

If you want to live and do business in Canada, you need to apply for immigration to Canada through one of Canada's immigration programs.

Business immigration is the only way you can combine obtaining Canadian citizenship and developing your project.

There are two types of business immigrants:

  • * Startup visas for entrepreneurs
  • * Self-employed visas, either self-employed or providing services.
  • * A startup visa is issued, as a rule, for a year. To get it, you must obtain approval from one of the business accelerators, incubators, or university entrepreneurship centers in Canada.

The main advantages for the IT sector startups are as follows:

  • - availability of investment financing at various stages of the startup
  • the Government of Canada issued some measures to attract high-tech projects. For example, the creation of the Canadian Silicon Valley between Toronto and Waterloo, or the issuance of several government orders in the field of IT solutions
  • - visa-free visits to the United States for business development with such global corporations as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc.
  • - support for all types of projects related to the processing of big data, neural networks, and artificial intelligence.
A self-employed visa implies that you have extensive experience in the following areas:
  • * culture
  • * sports
  • * agriculture
It is very important to demonstrate that you don't just have a certain experience in this area, but that you would like to make a significant contribution to the cultural, sportive, or rural/farming life of Canada. In the case of farming, you must also prove that you have the ability to buy and successfully operate a farm in Canada. Fortunately, there are farms there that cost practically nothing. Located in remote provinces, they do not require significant funds to be purchased.

Other factors affecting your acquisition of Canadian citizenship as a self-employed person are:
  • - education
  • - age
  • - adaptability and language ability. You must be able to listen, speak, read and write in English or French to live in the country.

How to Start the Non-resident Company Registration in Canada?

If you are not Canadian but would like to start or register your existing business project in Canada, then you have 2 options:

  • - Immigrate on a business visa and live in Canada by running your own company
  • - Search for Canadians who should be your partners in a new business.
If you take a closer look, from the point of view of saving time and money, you may want to choose the second option using services of a business registration company which are numerous. They can help answer the below questions:
  • - What type of company is right for your business
  • - Who can be your business partner in Canada
  • - How to become a resident of a Canadian accelerator, business incubator, or University Center for Entrepreneurship
  • - What type of account can I open with a bank, payment system, or financial company?
  • - Where to find a mentor to draw up a business plan

Canadian Business Opportunities
Canadian Business Opportunities

Canada is one of the best places to live and develop your business due to its stable economic and regulatory system and legal stimuli. Using its beneficial laws and banking/financial system, your business can become a success and source of your living.

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