How to Open a foreign Business in Canada

 Question: Can I Start a Small Business in Canada When I’m Not Living in Canada?

General answer:
Yes, starting a business in Canada when you’re nonresident in Canada is possible – but certain requirements have to be met.

Answer #1:

The short answer is that in order to come to Canada and start a business per regulations, a  non -Canadian must:

1. Prove that business immigrant have at least CDN $400,000 net worth or confirmation that you have access to a similar amount of funds from other sources; or $500,000* USD in special cases (see below).

2. Willingness to invest a minimum of$200,000 to establish a new enterprise (or to purchase no less than 33% of an existing business).

3.Plan a business that will clearly increase the Canadian Economy (no nonprofits).

4.Create at least 10 permanent full-time paycheck jobs for people that are already either Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.

5. Intend to become a Permanent Resident or Canadian Citizen. Provisions can be made for the immigration of spouse and dependents in the immigration package as well, but they cannot be workers in the 10 new full-time jobs created. Check this “open house” in the provinve of Alberta  or check the  Self-Employed Farmer Stream *

Answer # 2:

As a non-canadian you need  a Canadian address (not a Post Office box, but a real Canadian address). Then you can start registering your new business in the province that it’s located in.

Then proce to which structure your business is going to be (sole proprietorship, partnership, etc). Or you could form a partnership with a Canadian living in Canada; then you can use his/her address for starting your business in Canada.

Another approach is to start an incorporated business. You would still need a Canadian address to enjoy the tax benefits of having a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (see Types of Corporations in Canada and Corporate Tax), as well as have the correct number of Canadians on your Board of Directors and meet all the other requirements for such a corporation.

The correct number of resident Canadians depends on the jurisdiction you incorporate in. In Canada you may incorporate federally or provincially for starters. How to Incorporate Your Business in Canada Consultancy  explains the advantages and disadvantages of each of these forms of incorporation and the basic procedure.

“Foreign investors need to be aware of the residency requirements imposed on the directors of companies incorporated in Canada. The federal statute requires that 25 per cent of the directors be resident in Canada. In case there are fewer than four directors, then the CBCA (Canada Business Corporations Act) requires that one director be resident in Canada. Each province has different residency requirements and an investor wishing to incorporate in Canada should consider this issue. For example, some provinces do not impose residency requirements for directors (e.g.: New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Yukon).” ( See also  Invest In Canada)
These residency requirements for the directors of companies incorporated in Canada apply to all types of Canadian corporations, not just Canadian Controlled Private Corporations.

See Forms of Business Ownership in Canada for more on the differences between sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations.

Everything written above assumes that you are going to continue to be a nonresident. If you are not a Canadian citizen you cannot just come to Canada and start a business. Instead, you would have to apply to immigrate to Canada through Canada’s Business Immigration Program or stay where you are but team up with one or more Canadian citizens or landed immigrants to start a business in Canada.

British Columbia and then Ontario  leads the country in the number of new business start-ups.  Seeking out business opportunities in Canada?  Contact Us 

Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Creating New opportunities

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