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Immigrant’s Guide to Starting a Business in Ontario



Immigrants in Canada have numerous opportunities to own businesses and achieve success. These businesses contribute significantly to the Canadian economy, creating more jobs for Canadians and attracting more entrepreneurs than Canadian-born individuals. To start a business in Ontario, learn about financing, incentive opportunities, beneficial resources, and licensing and permitting requirements in the province. Fastway Taxes and Payroll brings another guide aligning with our aim to provide top-notch business setup services in Ontario

Business Options for Immigrants in Ontario

Ontario is the most common province for Canadian immigrants, with nearly half of new immigrants in 2023 settling there. Immigrants often establish businesses in various industries, including construction, retail, transportation, professional services, accommodations, food services, and healthcare and social assistance. These industries are prevalent among immigrants to Canada.

Business Incentives and Financing in Ontario

• Canada-Ontario Job Grant Program: Offers grants for business owners to cover employee training costs.

• Digital Main St ShopHERE Grant: Grants for independent, small businesses to launch websites and start selling online.

• SmartStart Seed Fund: Grants up to $30,000 for startups and an additional $5,000 loan for permanent residents aged 18-29.

• Save On Energy: Offers up to $2,000 for eligible lighting and $2,500 for other eco-friendly equipment.

• Co-Operative Education Tax Credit: Provides a refundable tax credit of 25-30% for businesses hiring undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. students.

• Ontario Innovation tax credit: Offers an 8% refundable tax credit of up to $3 million for businesses engaged in scientific research and experimental development.

• Customized Working Capital Loans: Offers loans ranging from $250,000 to $35 million for immigrant-owned tech companies.

• Futurpreneur Newcomer Financing: Offers business loans of up to $60,000 for immigrant-owned startups.

• Regional Development Funds: Offers loans and grants for small businesses based on location.

• Angel Investors: Offers funding in exchange for an ownership stake in startups and established businesses.

Business Licenses, Certificates, And Permits In Ontario

In Ontario, entrepreneurs must obtain necessary registrations, licenses, certificates, and permits for their industry to operate a business legally. Standard requirements for small businesses may vary based on location and industry.

Getting A Business Registration

Businesses in Ontario must register with the Ontario Business Registry online using an ONe-key account. The registration fee varies based on the business structure, with sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and limited partnerships paying $60 and corporations paying $300. A nine-digit Ontario Business Identification Number (BIN) is required for provincial tax payments.

Provincial Licences, Permits, and Certificates

Ontario's provincial laws mandate businesses to obtain business or professional licenses, with requirements varying by industry. Additional licenses, business permits, environmental permits, and zoning permits may be mandatory. For businesses in other municipalities, contact local government offices for more information. The website helps startups find the necessary credentials for their startup.

Tax registration

Ontario businesses selling taxable goods and services must register with the Canada Revenue Agency to collect Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). The agency offers an online reference guide for determining registration needs. Additional federal and provincial taxes, such as payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, excise duties, and insurance premium taxes, may also require registration.

Other Business Support Resources

Ontario entrepreneurs can access resources and join organizations for business support, including finding immigrant business support services online or using the provided list of resources.

• Small Business Enterprise Centers: Offer free business consulting, business plan writing assistance, workshops, seminars, legal advice, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

• Chambers of Commerce: Advocate for the business community and provide networking and educational opportunities.

• Regional Innovation Centers: Support scientific and tech startups and new businesses, offer mentorships, training seminars, workshops, market research services, and investor introductions.

Final Thoughts

Ontario's small businesses, from local coffee shops to tech startups, showcase the entrepreneurial spirit. They provide goods, services, and jobs while fostering community values, local culture, and regional development. Understanding these business essentials and resources is crucial for both new immigrants and experienced entrepreneurs, offering valuable insights for growth.

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