Starting a business in Canada: the steps to follow

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Define your implementation strategy

As with setting up a business in France , the first step to adopt in Canada is to define your strategy. Carrying out a market study and building your business plan are essential to soak up the local market and assess the level of competition .

In addition, be aware that there are several ways to get started in Canada . A local presence is not mandatory, it is possible to start without creating a company in Canada . A foreign startup can easily position itself on the Canadian market via a web platform in English and French. This option can be supplemented by the presence on site of a representative , responsible for meeting customers and making the company known. Finally, the last option is to simply embark on the creation of a company on the spot .

Thus, there are several modes of establishment on Canadian territory. A lawyer specializing in business law (lawyer) will be best equipped to advise and support you throughout your implementation process. He will guide you on the strategy to adopt, on the management of the various legal constraints, through the drafting of all your legal documents such as your statutes.

Obtain a work visa

As with the United States, Canada requires a visa to set up your business there.

Canada, in its quest for seduction, offers foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to apply for a “business start-up” visa

Obtaining this visa requires several criteria

– present a letter of support from an angel investor group, a Canadian venture capital fund or a business incubator.

– fulfill certain requirements for holding voting rights within the company.

– demonstrate language proficiency by obtaining at least 5 (NCLC) in English or French.

– have sufficient reserves of money to establish themselves and ensure their first needs and expenses as an entrepreneur.

Create your business in Canada

Canada leaves the choice between multiple social forms. Three of them are the most appreciated by foreign entrepreneurs:

The sole proprietorship (self-employed worker) The entrepreneur and his business are considered as one and the same person. Consequently, the entrepreneur is fully responsible for the acts carried out in his business. His personal assets will therefore be committed in the event of loss. This is the main drawback of this social form.

The general partnership (SNC) This social form allows the exercise of an activity by several people. The company’s resources are shared between the various partners. The SNC is simple and inexpensive to operate and offers certain tax advantages.

The joint-stock company or company This is the social form most commonly used by entrepreneurs who settle in Canada. With this status, the company is considered a legal person and therefore has its own rights and obligations. The main advantage remains the limited liability of shareholders to the amount of their contributions. In addition, this status offers a lower tax rate. On the other hand, the creation costs are relatively high and its operation can be complicated.

Anticipating labor law issues

The creation of a business in Canada can be accompanied by hiring and therefore by human resources problems. Setting up a business and hiring local employees involves carrying out a number of formalities specific to the North American market.

The main difficulty lies in the application of labor law. Indeed, each province has its own right . Thus, the rules will not be the same depending on whether you plan to hire in Vancouver or Montreal.

Each province has its own specificities in terms of labor law . It is therefore strongly recommended to use the services of a specialized lawyer to assist you in your relations with your employees.

Protect your business relationships

In France, contract law is governed by the provisions of the Civil Code and the Commercial Code. The rules are therefore the same throughout France.

On the other hand, in Canada, a contract will always be subject to provincial law. Thus, although this provincial law must respect Canadian laws, charters and case law, the contract may be subject to different interpretations depending on the place in which it was contracted.

Consequently, the French entrepreneur installed in Canada will have to conclude a considerate and complete commercial contract in order to avoid any risk of unfavorable interpretation in the event of a dispute.

It will be interesting to have two versions, one responding to the rules of the major English-speaking provinces and the other subject to Quebec law for French-speaking customers.

These rules apply in the same way to the general conditions of sale and the conditions of use of websites , as well as contracts for the provision of services and partnerships.


To conclude, although the environment of Canada seems conducive to the creation of society , some essential steps must be followed if you decide to migrate to this country. This project should therefore be prepared in advance by collecting as much information as possible. Therefore, do not hesitate to seek the services of a lawyer who is familiar with corporate law in Canada to support you and facilitate your professional establishment as quickly as possible.


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