Who is the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD)?markadmin2023-06-08T21:38:47-04:00

The Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) is a Not-for-profit started in 1999 and funded in partnership by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Regional Municipality of Durham helping facilitate economic growth and job creation in Durham Region.

We are Durham’s Small Business Centre and often your first point of contact for finding out all you need to know to start and grow your business!  We can help you get the resources, skills, tools and connections you need.

Whether you are looking to start your own business or grow your business, the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) can provide you with the roadmap, guidance, tools and resources to make it happen. Our team of certified business advisors are entrepreneurs themselves and passionate about supporting economic growth in Durham Region.

We are one of 54 SBEC’s (Small Business Enterprise Centres – SBC Ontario) in Ontario and we strive to inspire entrepreneurs to build successful businesses in Durham Region!

Our services to support you:

  • Business Advisory Services (free for Durham Region)
  • Business Training (Mentoring & Workshops)
  • Entrepreneurship Funding Programs
  • Business Resources and Tools
Where is the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) located?markadmin2023-06-08T21:52:43-04:00

3000 Garden Street, Suite 200 Whitby ON L1R 2G6

Monday – Friday, 8:30am -4:30pm
(Walk-ins welcome on Tue + Wed only)

Tel: 905-668-4949
Email: clientservices@bacd.ca

Can I just drop by?markadmin2023-06-08T21:54:02-04:00

Business advisory meetings are by appointment only.

If you are in the very early stages of getting started, before scheduling a meeting with an advisor, we recommend you attend a Startup Session held weekly.

Do you only help startups?markadmin2023-06-08T21:54:59-04:00

Not at all! You could be at any stage of business to access our services. We provide resources and guidance to all businesses.

How can I get started with you?markadmin2023-06-08T21:56:45-04:00

If you are in the very early stages of getting started, before scheduling a meeting with an advisor, we recommend you attend a Startup Session.

We host many workshops and events to help entrepreneurs to start, learn and grow. We also have a number of programs that may be a good fit for you.

Business advisory meetings are by appointment only.

Who can attend your workshops and is there a fee?markadmin2023-06-08T21:58:03-04:00

Anyone and everyone – no matter your level of experience or industry, all are welcome! Basic information workshops are free. There is a charge for workshops led by local experts.

Attending our workshops and events is also a great opportunity to meet or network with other small business owners.

Have a question or a suggestion for a workshop? Contact: clientservices@bacd.ca

How is the private sector involved in The Business Advisory Centre Durham?markadmin2023-06-08T21:59:31-04:00

The private sector is involved with The Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) in many ways: first, as clients, board members, sponsors, mentors, volunteers, subject matter experts, speakers  and facilitators. All volunteers are bound by a Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest agreement.

Can you sponsor my event?markadmin2023-06-08T22:00:58-04:00

The Business Advisory Centre Durham is a proud supporter of the entrepreneurial community. As much as we would love to sponsor all the great events in Durham Region, as a publicly funded entity, our funds are tied to program delivery and services. We are able to provide in-kind promotional support for a limited number of community events that directly align with our strategic plan and supported objectives and provide a specific value proposition to the small businesses and entrepreneurs that we serve. Inquire at clientservices@bacd.ca

Starting a Business

I want to buy a Franchise where do I start?markadmin2023-06-08T22:15:35-04:00

Starting a business from scratch can be overwhelming for first-time entrepreneurs. That’s why investing in an already successful franchise may be a good solution for your new business venture.

The original business owner (the franchisor) grants a license for the use of the trademark or trade name for a fee. The person who buys the franchise (the franchisee) is allowed to use the franchisor’s business name and operating system to set up the business. As a franchisee, you pay the franchisor a certain amount (royalties) from your franchise’s profits.

Provincial vs Federal Incorporation, what’s the difference?markadmin2023-06-08T22:16:33-04:00

The decision to incorporate your business either federally or provincially depends on its nature and your future plans. If you have a smaller local business and don’t intend to expand beyond your province, incorporating within your province may be more suitable. However, keep in mind that if you only register in one province, your business is only protected in that specific location. If another business in a different province is already using your chosen name, you won’t be able to register there. It’s advisable to discuss your long-term plans with an accountant or lawyer for guidance.

On the other hand, if your company regularly engages in business with other Canadian or international partners and you plan to establish operations in multiple provinces, federal incorporation may be the better option. Federal incorporation grants you the right to use your business name across all of Canada, offering protection even if another business in a different province shares the same name. Additionally, you may still require a provincial registration alongside federal incorporation.

What is a business number (BN)?markadmin2023-06-08T22:14:55-04:00

A Business Number relates to a business as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) relates to an individual. This is not a business registration. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), issues this nine-digit number when you register for any the of 4 CRA program accounts:

  • payroll deductions (Income tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance)
  • importer/exporter license
  • corporate income tax number

This number is designed to simplify and streamline interaction with CRA. Related information is available at the Canada Revenue Agency website.

FYI: A Business Number (BN) is not to be confused with a Business Identification Number (BIN). If you register your business name, you will receive a Business Identification Number as part of your Business Name Registration from the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. The BN number is issued by the Federal Government.

How do I search Business Names?markadmin2023-06-08T22:11:13-04:00

When selecting a name, it’s important to avoid using any existing business names, even if they are located in a different city, province, or country. Consider the impact of someone else using your chosen name – would you want that to happen to you?

How do I start a business?markadmin2023-06-08T22:08:58-04:00

Starting a business is easy – register a business name and you’re ready to go, but starting a successful business takes a bit more effort.

Over the years we’ve found most successful business owners have followed these simple steps.

Steps in Starting a Successful Business:

  • Have an idea
  • Research customers, competition, market & industry to determine if the idea is viable
  • Develop a business plan, estimate start up costs and cash flow for 1-2 years
  • Look for funding or financing
  • Create a marketing and digital marketing strategy
  • Talk to experienced entrepreneurs and potential customers
  • Obtain necessary registrations, licenses, permits and insurance

Implement your business plan = Open for business!

I am a newcomer to Canada. Which business should I start in Canada?markadmin2023-06-08T22:18:34-04:00

Starting a business as a new immigrant in Canada requires careful planning. Here are some essential tips for success:

  1. Build your credit score: As a newcomer, you may not have an established credit history. Building a good credit score is crucial to secure loans and financing from banks when starting your business.
  2. Embrace Canadian culture: Understanding the local culture is essential for running a successful business. Learn about your target customers, their preferences, and how they prefer to engage in transactions.
  3. Find a mentor: Starting a business can be overwhelming, especially as a recent arrival in Canada. A mentor with experience can provide valuable advice and guidance to help you navigate the challenges and make informed decisions.
  4. Set yourself up for success: Ensure you have sufficient personal funds to cover your living expenses during the initial stages of your business. It may take time for your business to become profitable, so having at least six months’ worth of personal expenses is a good starting point.
  5. Futurpreneur: If you’re new to Canada, are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have lived in Canada less than 60 months, between the age 18-39 you may be eligible to apply for a startup loan.


Do I have to apply in person for a Municipal license or permit?markadmin2023-06-08T22:42:58-04:00

The Municipality guides local business owners through this process, and provides them with a number of resources. Fees vary based on the license.

Do I require a business municipal license or permit license?markadmin2023-06-08T22:41:10-04:00
Does the government remind me when my Business Name Registration will expire?markadmin2023-06-08T22:37:31-04:00

No. Unfortunately, it is solely your responsibility to remember to renew it every five years. Think of this license like your passport, the burden is on you to know the expiry date and renew the license.

Do any of the Durham Region Town’s / Cities require a business license?markadmin2023-06-08T22:38:30-04:00

Some do and some don’t.  These licenses are to ensure the health, safety and the well-being of the public, consumer protection and nuisance control.

How do I change the name of the business or partners names listed on the business registration or Business Name Registration?markadmin2023-06-08T22:46:10-04:00

If you are a sole proprietor or general partnership with a Business Name Registration, a change to the following information will require a new business name registration.

  • business name
  • all partners in a partnership
  • business type (for example, changing a sole proprietorship to partnership)
Can I transfer my license if I move locations?markadmin2023-06-08T22:44:59-04:00

No. Changing your business’ location requires you to reapply for a business license.

What happens if I operate within the city’s or towns without a business license?markadmin2023-06-08T22:48:21-04:00

If staff of the city’s or towns become aware of a business that is operating without a license, their enforcement team are obligated to investigate the matter and enforce its bylaws. The bylaws do not give staff discretion or flexibility in this regard. All enforcement actions are kept confidential for the business owner’s privacy.

What permits, inspections, approvals or documents are necessary to start a business?markadmin2023-06-08T22:43:40-04:00

Any of the following may be required depending on the type of business:

  • Business plan
  • Site plan
  • Government-issued identification
  • CPIC (Canadian Police Check)
  • Fire department inspection and/or approval
  • Sign Permit
  • Health department inspection and/or approval
  • Zoning/planning department approval
  • Building department inspection and/or approval
  • Master business license
  • Tobacco retail or dealers permit
If I sell my business does my license transfer to the new owner?markadmin2023-06-08T22:46:48-04:00

No. Your business license will not transfer to new owners in the event that you sell your business. Change of ownership requires that the new owners undertake the application and approval process prior to opening.

Does my home business need a business license?markadmin2023-06-08T22:47:37-04:00

This depends. If you wish to operate a business which is listed under the “Do I require a business license?” question above, you must contact the zoning/planning department to verify zoning compliance.

Will the cities and towns contact all of the agencies that are required as part of the licensing progress?markadmin2023-06-08T22:44:18-04:00

No. It is your responsibility to reach out to each required department noted in the application. You are also responsible for providing supporting documentation and a site plan to these departments to provide specific required information to support the approval of your business license.

Does a Corporation need a Business Name Registration?markadmin2023-06-08T22:35:20-04:00

Under Ontario’s Business Names Act, you must register your business name with the Province if you are operating a business under a name other than the legal name of the owner of the business. Registration applies to:

  • Sole proprietorships who are operating a business that is different from the owner’s name
  • Partnerships (except for partnerships operating under the Limited Partnerships Act)
  • Corporations who are doing business under a different name than their corporate name

Registration provides you with a Business Name Registration that lasts for five years at a cost of $60.00.

How do I get a Municipal business license?markadmin2023-06-08T22:42:20-04:00

To get a business license and ensure you receive the information and application that applies to the type of business you are proposing, contact the City’s licensing, enforcement or Clerk’s office.

Zoning bylaws – Most importantly, you will want to start by considering zoning, as the property where your business will be located must be in compliance with the City’s zoning bylaw. Zoning rules apply to ALL businesses, including home businesses. See our contact sheet for zoning in Durham Region

Building permits – A building permit may be required for alterations to your property or for a change in use, even if you are not planning any construction. For more information contact Building departments at the various Towns and Cities.

Registering a Business

Do I need to register my business with the Municipal government?markadmin2023-06-08T23:12:04-04:00

If you are a current business owner or plan to open a business, some city’s and towns will require that certain businesses be licensed so their operations can be reviewed by all necessary departments to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the public.

What are the types of legal business registrations?markadmin2023-06-08T23:05:45-04:00

These are the 5 legal business structures for Canadian Businesses:

Sole Proprietorship

  • Provincial

General Partnership

  • Provincial


  • Provincial
  • Federal

Not-for Profit Incorporation

  • Provincial
  • Federal

Co-operative Incorporation

  • Provincial
  • Federal

More information on proprietors, partnerships and incorporating available at CanadaBusiness.

How do I legally register a business in Ontario?markadmin2023-06-08T23:06:42-04:00

This simplest legal registration is the Business Name Registration. This online Provincial site allows you to do a business name search, renew or register your sole proprietor, general partnership or corporate trade name go to Ontario Business Services. Register a business name

The easiest and most cost effective ($49) way to register is to use our OWNR registration code

The fee for each name search is $8, the registration fee is $60. First you have to apply for your Service Ontario ONE KEY (which you could receive immediately but also can take up to 10 days).

The Business Name Registration is valid for 5 years, after which you’ll need to renew at the above link. If your license has expired you have up to 60 days to renew after the 60 days of grace you will register as a new business but be aware you also get a new BIN number.

To change business information, address or cancel your Business Naming Registration visit your OWNR or Ontario Business Registry to make those changes.

To change the business name, all partners, or change from a partnership to a sole proprietor you must complete a new business registration.

How do I legally register a Provincial Incorporation?markadmin2023-06-08T23:08:28-04:00

These are  service delivery choices available to clients who wish to incorporate a business corporation in Ontario:

File Articles of Incorporation electronically via the Internet through one of the Service Providers under contract with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The fee is $300. Unless the corporation will have a number name, an original Ontario-biased NUANS name search report must be obtained from a private name search company and be submitted with the Articles of Incorporation.

The easiest option is OWNR.  We have an affiliate link below that offers a 20% discount on their fees for the corporation and $49 for sole proprietorship registrations.

For more information about service providers visit:

If the Corporation is registered Federally do I need to register Provincially?markadmin2023-06-08T23:09:53-04:00

Corporations are required to register in the provinces in which they will conduct business. When you incorporate your federal corporation online, you can, at the same time, register your corporation in Ontario.

What is an Extra Provincial Registration?markadmin2023-06-08T23:11:01-04:00

Extra-provincial registration is a process of incorporation in Canada that both Canadian corporations in Canada and foreign corporations have to go through when they seek to do business in Canada or in various provinces or territories throughout Canada. Form for Extra Provincial registration $330.

In general, an Ontario corporation is entitled to carry on business in Ontario under its corporate name. An Ontario corporation “doing business for the purpose of registration in another province” generally requires an extra-provincial license, as registration of your corporation is mandatory in the province where you do business.

“Doing business for the purpose of registration” typically means having employees, facilities or offices in the jurisdiction. Merely entering into contracts in Canada or selling goods or services in another jurisdiction, does not necessarily require registration in that jurisdiction” (some provinces have Reciprocal Agreements for Extra-Provincial Registration).

How do I register a Federal corporation?markadmin2023-06-08T23:09:16-04:00

When you incorporate federally, the cost is $200, at the same time you apply for many of the other registrations you need.

First complete a NUANS (name) search, $13.80, you will need the number on this search to complete the Business registration. Be prepared with a list of directors names and contact information. As part of the federal incorporation process, you can get:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Federal business number
  • Federal corporation income tax program account
  • Option to register for other federal tax accounts, such as GST/HST, payroll, import/export
  • Option for extra-provincial or extra-territorial corporation registration

Maintaining a Business

How do I change the address of my sole proprietor business?markadmin2023-06-08T23:14:04-04:00

You can do so through your Service Ontario One Key Access or if you registered on OWNR – through their portal.

Can I change my sole proprietor business to a corporation?markadmin2023-06-08T23:17:01-04:00

Switching from the Sole Proprietorship to an Incorporated company is easier than you think. You have a few options to add a legal ending to the business name: Inc., Incorporated, Ltd., Limited, Corp., Corporation:

  • Register an Ontario Numbered Corporation, then online you can register/connect a new corporation number to the sole proprietor Business Name Registration.
  • Register a new Ontario Corporation in the new name or the same name as your Business Name Registration then cancel the Business Name Registration.
  • Register a Federal Corporation in the new name or the same name as your Business Name Registration then cancel the Business Name Registration.

Before registering the incorporation a NUANS report is required. After the Incorporation has been completed you will need to change:

  • Bank account – incorporating puts your business in a new business category with most banks. A new bank account may be required Cheques / Credit Cards
  • Make sure to properly transfer bank, other licenses, assets, etc. into the new business.
  • Tax accounts – HST, Payroll, Corporate, WSIB, etc. will need to be set up or changed
  • Business cards, Letterhead, Signs, Invoices, Website and social media
Bookkeeping: how do I keep good records?markadmin2023-06-08T23:13:03-04:00

You are required by law to keep records of all your transactions, for 6 years, to be able to support your

  • income
  • expense
  • property

A record is defined to include an account, an agreement, a book, a chart or table, a diagram, a form, an image, an invoice, a letter, a map, a memorandum, a plan, a return, a statement, a telegram, a voucher, and any other proof containing information, whether in writing or in any other form.

Keep a record of your daily income and expenses. There are many record books and bookkeeping systems available. Or you can use a book or excel spreadsheet that has columns and separate pages for income and expenses.

Keep your duplicate invoices, deposit slips, bank statements, and cancelled cheques. Keep separate records for each business you run. If you want to keep computerized records, make sure they are clear and easy to read.

How do I change the Ontario Corporation information, Corporation Name, Address, Directors, Shares?markadmin2023-06-08T23:26:43-04:00

Please be advised we do not provide legal advice. This information is intended as a general guide only. For further assistance or legal information, please consult private legal counsel.

Changes to Ontario Corporation information;

Name Change
Articles of Amendment If your business Corporation wishes to apply to change its name or other provisions within its Articles, the corporation must file an Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act). The cost of this form is $150. The amendment must be accompanied by a NUANS name search report for the proposed new name (not required if the name is changing to a number name).

Registered Office Address
Whenever a corporation changes its office address, an Initial Return/Notice of Change, Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act must be completed and filed with the Central Production and Verification Services Branch within 15 days of the change (Section 4(1) of the Corporations Information Act).

Whenever the number of directors changes within the minimum and maximum number provided for in the Articles, an Initial Return/Notice of Change, Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act must be filed within 15 days after the change.

Any change to the board of directors of a corporation must be set out in an Initial Return/Notice of Change, Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act and filed with the Central Production and Verification Services Branch within 15 days after the change (S.4(1) of the Corporations Information Act).

Any change to clauses relating to shares, as set out in the Articles of Incorporation, must be clearly set out in Articles of Amendment.

If your business Corporation wishes to apply to change its name or other provisions within its Articles, the corporation must file an Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act). The cost of this form is $150.

How do I cancel a sole proprietor business?markadmin2023-06-08T23:18:40-04:00

An Ontario sole proprietor or general partnership business can cancel the business online. Have a copy of your Business Name Registration available to you when submitting the cancellation. The original information along with the BIN (9 Digit Business Name Registration Number) from your current registration is required when canceling.

How do I cancel an Incorporated Corporation?markadmin2023-06-08T23:20:07-04:00

If you decide to dissolve / close a corporation yourself, it’s called a voluntary dissolution. There are two ways to dissolve your corporation, depending on whether your corporation has started carrying on business or issued any shares or not. The requirements for each type of voluntary dissolution are set out in the forms below. Talk to a lawyer to determine which of the two forms below you need to fill out and other tax filings required at the time of dissolution.

How do I change the name of Provincial incorporation?markadmin2023-06-08T23:17:54-04:00

If you are not Incorporated and have a Business Name Registration (Sole Proprietorships, General Partnership, and Operating Names), unfortunately, cannot directly change their business name on the registration. You must register a new Business Name Registration for the new business name. Then close and cancel the old Business Name Registration. Make sure to properly transfer bank, tax, other licenses, HST, Payroll, WSIB, assets, etc. into the new business.

If your business Corporation wishes to apply to change its name or other provisions within its Articles, the corporation must file an Articles of Amendment (Form 3 under the Business Corporations Act). The cost of this form is $150.

How do I change the name of my business?markadmin2023-06-08T23:15:58-04:00
  • Changing the name of your business registration is considered a new registration and the relevant fee applies. … Alternatively, the registrant can amend or cancel a business name registration online through the ServiceOntario website at Ontario.ca
  • If a corporation decides to change the name you must advise the Canada Revenue Agency. and complete the provincial Articles of Amendment (Form 3 approved by the Minister under the Regulations to the Business Corporations Act ), completed in duplicate, bearing original signatures on both copies. Ontario-biased NUANS name search report if there is a change of name (not required if the new name is a number name); Fee of $150.00.(2018)
  • Federal corporations will register in Ontario where they carry on business

Not-for-Profit Business

What do I do after the not-for-profit corporation has been created?markadmin2023-06-08T23:32:12-04:00

Once the corporation has been created, a number of other items must be considered. Next steps following incorporation, this link provides information on what needs to be done after a corporation has been created and on how to operate a not-for-profit corporation under the NFP Act.

You will be required to file certain documents with Corporations Canada (see Your reporting obligations under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act).

At the first organizational meeting, the directors can make by-laws. This process can be simplified by referring to the Model by-laws – Not-for-profit corporations, which have been written to apply to a typical not-for-profit corporation.

Corporations Canada has also developed an online interactive tool called a By-law builder: not-for-profit corporations that allows you to generate the by-laws you want by choosing provisions that meet the specific needs of your corporation from a number of available options.

For further support you can look at the resources at the Community Legal Education guide on starting a non profit organization.

How do I apply to be a Registered Charity?markadmin2023-06-08T23:30:25-04:00

If your corporation intends to become a registered charity, click here. Also visit Charities and Giving (Canada Revenue Agency)  during the preparation of your incorporating documents. The Charities and giving web page provides valuable information about what must be contained in certain statements in your incorporating documents to meet the requirements to qualify for registration as a charity.

How do I register a Non-for Profit?markadmin2023-06-08T23:29:38-04:00

To register a Federal Corporation you will submit:

I want to start a Non-Profit where do I start?markadmin2023-06-08T23:27:57-04:00

Similar to a for profit business start with a plan. Research your competition and how you will generate revenue to pay the bills for the service you provide. You can structure your not-for-profit organization as a federal or provincial corporation. The process and requirements for setting up your corporation will vary based on the option you choose. Federal incorporation may be a good option if you need nation-wide business name protection or if you will be operating internationally. If you plan to be located in only one province, you may wish to incorporate provincially. You may wish to consult a lawyer when choosing the best option for your organization.

What happens after I submit my Not-for Profit Application?markadmin2023-06-08T23:31:14-04:00

An application is complete if:

  • it includes all necessary documents;
  • the forms are complete and signed; and
  • the fee is included.

If any of these things are missing, your application will be considered incomplete. Since Corporations Canada cannot properly examine your application without these things, an initial scan is done to make sure they are all there.

If your application is incomplete or invalid

  • it will be returned to you along with a letter that tells you what is missing or explains why it is invalid;
  • you must send a complete and valid application within four months or else your application will be considered abandoned and the fee, if any, will be refunded.

For more information click here.

Other Types of Businesses

What is a B-Corp?markadmin2023-06-08T23:35:43-04:00

The B-Corporation certification is a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B-Lab, a global non-profit organization with offices in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.

Companies must meet social sustainability and environmental performance standards, meet accountability standards, and be transparent to the public according to the score they receive on the assessment. Over 230 Canadian B Corps companies are leading the charge in using business as a force for good in Canada.

How do I register a Co-operative?markadmin2023-06-08T23:34:52-04:00

Co-operatives are set up as either federal or provincial corporations. Your needs, the needs of the members and the business location can help you determine which option is best for your co-op.

Provincial Co-op Incorporation

If you plan on opening a location(s) only in Ontario, you may choose to incorporate your co-op provincially.

There are three major parts of applying for provincial incorporation:

  • Complete a NUANS name search, which will confirm if your chosen business name is available.
  • Send the appropriate forms and documents to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The documents provide the co-op’s name, purpose, share structure, directors and incorporators. Approval is needed before you can start doing business.

Pay the appropriate fee.

Who is the Ontario Co-operative Association?markadmin2023-06-08T23:33:56-04:00

Co-operatives are a different kind of business model that are driven by people, planet and profit. The Ontario Co-operative Association (OCA) is the provincial trade association for Ontario’s 1,500+ English-speaking co-operatives. OCA ensures that people across the province understand the benefits and versatility of the co-operative business model, and to promote the member-owned co-operative businesses. OCA supports groups wanting to build new or develop established co-operative businesses.

What is a Co-operative?markadmin2023-06-08T23:33:01-04:00

A co-operative (co-op) is a type of incorporated business that is owned by a group of people (known as members) with common needs and/or a common goal.

Some other differences include:

  • Each member has an equal vote regardless of their capital contribution (one member equals one vote)
  • The primary purpose of a co-op is to meet the common needs of the members, not to maximize profits for shareholders
  • At least two-thirds of the board of directors must be members that are elected at the general meeting
  • Payment of profit or surplus is often limited or distributed to the organizational reserve

Co-operatives are set up as either federal or provincial corporations. Your needs, the needs of the members and the business location can help you determine which option is best for your co-op.

What is a Social Enterprise?markadmin2023-06-08T23:37:40-04:00

Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses (operated by a non-profit organization or by a for-profit company) having two goals: to achieve social, cultural, community economic and/or environmental outcomes; and, to earn revenue.

On the surface, many social enterprises look, feel, and even operate like traditional businesses. But looking more deeply, one discovers the defining characteristics of the social enterprise: mission is at the centre of business, with income generation playing an important supporting role.

It is essential to note that ‘social enterprise’ is not defined within Canada’s Income Tax Act. There is no certification or other program to enable a venture to be officially deemed a social enterprise.

Other definitions include:

Social enterprise applies an entrepreneurial approach to addressing social issues and creating positive community change.

  • A social enterprise is a business that uses entrepreneurial methods to accomplish social goals and/or feed profits to a parent charity or non-profit to enable it to fulfill more of its own social mission.
  • A social enterprise is a revenue-generating business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to deliver profit to shareholders and owners.

Are you running a Social Enterprise?

  • One test for a non-profit or charity that believes it is operating a social enterprise: what are you selling? It could be that you are operating with an entrepreneurial mindset within your organization, but if you are not selling a good or service into the marketplace, you aren’t running a business: you may be running a social program, but not a social enterprise.
  • A test for a traditional business that believes it is operating a social enterprise: to what degree do social / environmental goals steer your ship? If profit is paramount (and particularly if individual owners or shareholders are personally benefiting), you may be engaging in socially conscious purchasing or corporate social responsibility, rather than operating a social enterprise.
  • Another possible definition: A social economy enterprise operates like a business, produces goods and services for the market, but manages its operations and redirects its surpluses in pursuit of social and environmental goals.
  • An equally noble goal of social enterprise (aside from generating revenues to pursue a mission) is the training and/or employment of people who are typically excluded from the mainstream economy, thus creating capacity and self-sufficiency for individuals, and impacting their communities and lessening reliance on the social safety net. This element alone can denote a social enterprise.

Examples: Habitat for Humanity & the Restore – the Restore provides training and employment for people who are typically excluded from the main stream, it generates revenue from the donated products and materials, and redirects its surplus to address poverty and housing.

Learn more about how to start a social enterprise

HST & Taxes

What are the requirements for online or ecommerce businesses?markadmin2023-06-08T23:43:35-04:00

Canada is the largest G7 country with a growing population of 37 million people and.  We are also the United States’ largest trading partner.

As an online or ecommerce business in Canada, there are tax implications.

Both domestic and international e-commerce sellers should be mindful of two types of tax consequences when selling and shipping products to Canada:

Sales Tax Implications and Income Tax Implications and CRA guides on Ecommerce and sales taxes.

Do I need to charge my International customers sales tax or HST?markadmin2023-06-08T23:41:36-04:00

If you sell goods or services to customers outside of Canada, you are not required to collect GST/HST or PST, provided they take delivery of the goods or services outside of Canada. The service must be wholly used outside of Canada. If non-resident customers, such as tourists, make purchases within your province or territory, they are required to pay the GST/HST and PST. In some cases, they may be eligible to receive a GST/HST rebate.

What taxes do I charge for out of province sales?markadmin2023-06-08T23:42:39-04:00

When you sell and ship or deliver taxable goods and services to out-of-province/territory customers, the sales tax that applies in your customer’s province or territory is generally applicable.

Link to HST / GST/ PST Table for all Provinces

Should I charge HST, how do I get an HST number?markadmin2023-06-08T23:40:29-04:00

Most businesses that operate in Ontario and have sales (revenues), totaling more than $30,000 over 4 consecutive quarters must register for and charge HST. If your total annual sales are less than or equal to $30,000, you are considered to be a small supplier and are not required to register and charge HST (including International sales). Depending on the nature of your business you may still choose to register as you will be able to claim input tax credits (ITCs) to recover the GST/HST you pay or owe on your business purchases. You may also find that some clients may only do business with businesses registered for HST.

When you register for HST you are given a unique Business Number (BN). If you have not obtained a BN, you do not charge HST. Once you have registered you have to remit at the required intervals even if you have zero sales.

For further information, visit the CRA web site or call +1(800)959-5525

What income Tax Form do I use for my business?markadmin2023-08-11T11:49:33-04:00

A sole proprietor pays taxes by reporting income (or loss) on a T1 income tax and benefit return.  You will need to file a T1 so that you can pay income tax for the year, want to make CPP and EI contributions and if you disposed of a capital property.

Read more here

All resident corporations (except tax-exempt corporations need to file a corporation income tax (T2) return every tax year even if there is no tax payable. This includes:

  • non-profit organizations
  • tax-exempt corporations
  • inactive corporations

Read more here

Do I charge HST / GST to indigenous people?markadmin2023-06-08T23:44:57-04:00

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants you to be aware of GST/HST requirements that apply to you as an Indian, an Indian band, and band-empowered entity, under the Indian Act. We recognize that many indigenous people in Canada prefer not to describe themselves as Indians. However, the term Indian is used because it has a legal meaning in the Indian Act.

See how HST/GST is applied to purchases

How do I file HST to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?markadmin2023-06-08T23:44:16-04:00

Starting a new business? Watch videos that can help you understand the basics, from GST/HST to filing your returns. CRA Business Video Gallery

What expenses can I “write off”?markadmin2023-06-08T23:47:03-04:00

You can generally deduct business expenses – if they are incurred to produce income. If you claim expenses, you must be able to back up your claim. You do this by keeping all your business-related vouchers and receipts, and by recording all your expenses in a journal. Examples of expenses you can deduct and a full list from the CRA.

  • accounting/legal fees
  • advertising expenses
  • professional fees and dues
  • license costs
  • interest and bank charges
  • meals and entertainment* (check rules)
  • maintenance, repairs and vehicle expenses
  • use of a workspace in your home
  • inventory and costs of goods sold

Related information is available at the CanadaBusiness website. See also the CRA’s ‘Business and Professional Income T2125’ tax guide. This form is attached to your Personal Income Tax Return.

Incorporations file T2 form on their fiscal year end.

Go to Top