Building a Business

Registering a Business in Canada

Paul Sharpe, CPA, CA
July 18, 2017

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As a business owner, there can be quite a bit of red tape and paperwork to churn through. We've created a list of important programs and licenses that a BC business owner should consider registering for.

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As a business owner, there can be quite a bit of red tape and paperwork to churn through. We've created a list of important programs and licenses that a BC business owner should consider registering for.

Register Your Name

Naming your business can (and should) be one of the most arduous parts of starting your business, but registering it is pretty easy. The BC Government has a name search and registration service. Follow the 4 steps on this site to register your business name.

Get a Business License With Your Municipality

Find out what municipality applies to your business and check their website for information on how to get your business license. Even if you just plan to run the business out of your home, it’s a good idea to get your license; operating a business without a license can bring pretty stiff penalties.

Get a Business Number with Canada Revenue Agency

If you incorporate your business in British Columbia through a lawyer, they will generally handle this for you. You will get your CRA business number with your incorporation documents. If you have not incorporated, you may still need a CRA business number. Generally speaking, you will need to register for a business number when you are required to start collecting GST or when you begin paying yourself or workers as employees.

Register to Collect Sales Taxes

You may have to register to collect GST and/or PST in British Columbia. We wrote an article to help you understand how sales taxes work and whether you should charge them. Plus we explain how you can easily register with the CRA's BRO Program.

Obtain a Payroll Account

If you pay employees, you will have to register for a payroll account with CRA. This can be done by sending CRA a Form RC1B, or it's often easier and quicker to call CRA General Inquiries at 1-800-959-5525 and they can complete the registration over the phone.

Register With WorkSafe BC

WorkSafe BC coverage protects employers and employees. For employers, it protects against lawsuits from workers who are injured on the job. For employees, it offers benefits and assistance to cover work-related injury, illnesses, and diseases. If your business hires workers (full-time, part-time, casual, or contract), you need to register so workers are covered in the event of a workplace accident or illness. Registering is pretty straight forward, and WorkSafe BC has a guide you can use.

Obtain Business Insurance

It is important to have business insurance to protect against unnecessary risk. We aren't insurance experts, so here is a link to a more detailed article from the Government of Canada describing types of insurance and why it is a good idea. If you need a place to start, we can recommend a few helpful folks in the industry to get you started.

These things can often slip through the cracks or get left on the back-burner which can cause future headaches. If you're not sure whether your business needs to be registered for something, you can always seek advice - we're happy to help!

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Article by
Paul Sharpe, CPA, CA
Originally published
July 18, 2017
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