Starting a Business in Ontario

No better time than now to start a small business or corporation in Ontario. Business grants are freely available and Canada’s startup wizard, BizPal, gives you easy access to everything you need. Axess Law has affordable business lawyers near you and can guide you to successfully starting a business in Ontario.  


Why BizPaL?

BizPal is just that, your partner in planning a business startup. It’s free and lets you search for permits, business licences and government regulations for businesses of all kinds, all over Ontario and Canada. 

Best of all, because it’s online, BizPal is at your fingertips 24/7, whenever you have time and energy to get planning. You can find almost anything you need, without leaving home or office.

If your community is not on BizPal, just contact the local town office. Permits vary by municipality and business type. Registering a corporation costs about $300 and up — more if you get a business license to sell goods or services outside Ontario. 


Decide on Your Business Structure

You could be a sole entrepreneur or proprietor, or take in partners, limited or otherwise. You could start a corporation or, for the especially ambitious, a cross-border company. 


Sole Proprietorship 

A quick and easy way to register your business. Renewals are due every five years. Re-register every five years. Con: You and any partners are personally liable for the business and your business name is not protected.


General Partnership

When you have multiple partners and want to share the financial and business risk around, a general partnership can do it. It’s easy to start and costs less than a corporation. Con: Partners have no legal protections. They are joint and severally — all or any one partner if the others disband — responsible for bills and liabilities, although you can get professional liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance. 


Limited Partnership and Limited Liability Corporation

Want to limit liability for debts and actions? Axess Law can arrange a limited partnership or limited liability corporation. They’re separate legal entities, with directors and officers liability insurance. While partners or shareholders may depart, a LLC or LLP goes on indefinitely. Con: An appointed board of directors runs your company. You may have to give up some autonomy because of it.



Corporations qualify for lower tax rates and the company name and trademark are protected by federal legislation. Set up costs more, about $400, but your personal liability is limited if the business goes under. Con: CRA requires annual filings and can ask to see the corporate records.

Axess Law has a business registration lawyer for businesses of any size, whether you go it alone or staff up quickly. Our virtual lawyers (Toronto or area and Ottawa) advise you on registering a business name in Ontario or across multiple provinces. 

We write bylaws and articles of incorporation and help you allocate shares to corporate directors. You can arrange to have a business partnership lawyer video call with you. Or in Toronto area or Ottawa, we can meet you in person to discuss how to incorporate your Ontario business and answer questions you may have about starting a small business. Our Wills and estates lawyers can even help you with succession planning.


Pick a Business Name

Your business name and brand are essential to your success. Think:

  • short and descriptive of what you’re selling
  • professional — it’s your brand and image 
  • unique to stand out and avoid confusion.

You can have a numbered company, instead of named. Unless you are strictly using your company to hold assets, Axess Law recommends a named company for brand recognition.


Registering Your Name and Trademark

Before you register, confirm your business name is not already in use. You can search the Internet, check provincial and territorial databases and try NUANS, Canada’s corporate names and trademarks database.


Doing Business As

Sole proprietors don’t need to register their business name unless they want to add the types of services they offer or use a different name from their own. For example, John Smith Shoes or John Smith dba (doing business as) Stilettos.


Corporate Registrations

Corporations register wherever they operate — federally to use your name Canada-wide or provincially or territorially for exclusive use in a specific area. Registration prevents other businesses from infringing on your corporate name.


Trademarking Your Firm

You can register a trademark (or logo) to make your company stand out. Axess Law advises you on how to register your name and trademark in Ontario. Our business lawyers are skilled and experienced at helping small businesses get going.


Get Ready and Go

Check out Starter Company Plus, Ontario’s regional entrepreneurship program that helps business owners start, purchase or grow a business with:

  • training and business skills
  • coaching
  • advice and mentorship 
  • business plan writing to get grants and financing
  • a potential $5,000 grant to fund new or expanding businesses.

It’s for Ontario residents 18 and over who can contribute 25% in cash or kind (supplies, equipment or other). When you find a business location, call our real estate lawyers (Toronto, Ottawa or virtual lawyers anywhere you are). Axess legal services safeguard your financial interests before you sign a commercial agreement of purchase and sale. You can ask us anything — and you do!


Find Entrepreneur Resources

If that’s not enough, Ontario’s Small Business Enterprise Centres offer free consultations with business consultants, lawyers and accountants. They review business plans and give workshops and seminars on business planning. Local centres can connect you to government grants and other funders.

In-depth help is available through 12 Business Advisory Services offices. They’re a top notch resource for info on grants, market intelligence and support for innovation or new technology. When you need networking and marketing advice, Business Advisory Services is for you.


Why You need a Lawyer

Axess Law gives you a head start by explaining business structures, preparing professional incorporation documents and organizing your minute book.

We make incorporation as painless as possible. You get documents professionally prepared, so you don’t have to worry about being turned away by Service Ontario. Our business lawyers prepare a minute book and advise on planning share positions, satisfying Canada Revenue Agency requirements.

Your business records are orderly and organized, ready to show lenders, venture capitalists and shareholders. Axess Law’s business legal services make it easy to find corporate articles, bylaws and shareholder certificates. All for the very affordable price of $299.99 and up. 


Professional Ontario Real Estate Lawyers

Ask about Axess Law’s flat fee legal services for business owners and startups. We have open law offices in Toronto and area and Ottawa. Book appointments online or phone our 1-877-402-4277 or 1-647-479-0118 lawyer lines to meet in person. Our open law offices nearby you have long, flexible hours, with day or evening appointments, 7 days a week. We do virtual video calls throughout Ontario. Call us today to ask about setting up your business.