Home/ Starting/ Checklists and guides for starting a business Business start-up checklist
When you're setting up your business, you need to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Consider the following steps as you navigate through the business start-up phase.
Planning your business
Creating a solid business plan is vital to your success; you need to know where you expect to go long before you get there. Before you start writing your plan, you'll want to make a number of key business decisions.
Market research and statisticsLearn more about market research, how to conduct it, and where to find free information and statistics to support your market research project. Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or co-operative?Find out which type of business structure is right for your business: incorporation, a partnership, a sole proprietorship or a co-operative. Naming your businessChoose the right name for your business. Your business name should be unique and easy to remember, and should describe the products and services you provide. Choosing and setting up a locationTrying to decide where to locate your business and how to arrange it once you get there? Consider your options. Marketing and salesHow well you market your business and interact with your customers can vastly influence your success. Regulated business activitiesLearn about regulations that apply to key business activities such as exporting, importing, marketing, and managing employees. Regulated industriesFind out how certain industry sectors are regulated and what some of the key business obligations are in those sectors. Organizing your finances
Your business success will depend on how well you plan and manage your finances. If you will be seeking financial help, either from a start-up loan or from a government grant, it is imperative that you have a well-developed business plan.
Writing your business planKnow what elements are considered essential in any business plan and the key points that should be included in each section of your plan. Grants and financingFind out how to access funding for your business. BenchmarkingHow does your business measure up to others in your industry? Benchmarking allows you to evaluate your performance and ensure that your business is operating at an optimum level. Managing your financesYou can use these resources to help you understand financial concepts and learn about tasks like budgeting, financial analysis and bookkeeping. Registering your business
Be proactive — take care of all your registration and licensing requirements with your municipal, provincial and federal governments early on in the process. Once you complete these steps, you will have the necessities such as a Business Number, registered business name and a
Canada Revenue Agency's
Business Registration Online is the one-stop shop for all of your federal business registration requirements. If you operate in the province of Quebec, you will need to register using Revenu Québec's Businesses Portal. Provincial and territorial business registration
Most provincial and territorial governments require you to register your business with them.
Access Nova Scotia
Only Applies to : Find out how to register your business, obtain required permits and licences, and get information on provincial government programs and services.
Nova Scotia BC Business Registry
Only Applies to : This website will guide you through the steps of registering your sole proprietorship or general partnership business in
British Columbia BC. Business registration in the Yukon
Only Applies to : In order to register your business in the Yukon, you will need to contact Corporate Affairs.
Yukon Companies Office — Business name registration and provincial incorporation (Manitoba)
Only Applies to : Find out how to register your business, and what you need to know about provincial incorporation.
Manitoba Corporate Registry
Only Applies to : To conduct business in Alberta, register your cooperative, corporation, extra-provincial company, non-profit company, society, trade name and/or partnership.
Alberta Corporate Registries — Business Corporations — Extra-Territorial
Only Applies to : Are you interested in expanding your company into the Northwest Territories? Learn the requirements for registering your business in the Territories.
Northwest Territories Corporate services — Business name registration
Only Applies to : Register your business name in Prince Edward Island to prevent other organizations from using the same business name.
Prince Edward Island Creating a non-profit corporation or organization
Only Applies to : Learn the major steps for establishing a non-profit corporation or organization in Quebec.
Québec Enterprise register (Quebec)
Only Applies to : If you operate a business in Quebec, you must register with the enterprise register and declare your organization's legal form.
Québec Register my company to do business in P.E.I.
Only Applies to : Are you looking to do business in
Prince Edward Island P.E.I., but are incorporated elsewhere? If so, you must register as an extra-provincial corporation.
Start, run and change a corporation
Only Applies to : Learn about the requirements for starting a corporation, limited partnership or not-for-profit and how you can make changes to your current business.
Ontario Registration / Declaration of a limited partnership (New Brunswick)
Only Applies to : Find out about the rules, procedures and fees to form a limited partnership or register your extra-provincial limited partnership in NB.
New Brunswick Business name registration information (Ontario)
Only Applies to : Register your business name online, in person or by mail.
Ontario Legal registries (Nunavut)
Only Applies to : In order to do business in Nunavut, you must register with the territory, even if you live in or have a business established in another part of Canada.
Nunavut NEQ — Quebec Enterprise Number
Only Applies to : Simplify and speed up your dealings with the various Quebec government departments and organizations by registering with the
Québec Registraire des entreprises [Quebec enterprise registrar]. Forming a co-operative in Saskatchewan
Only Applies to : Find out how to register a co-operative in Saskatchewan, including information on fees and required forms.
Saskatchewan Registration of a charitable organization
Only Applies to : Find all the information you need to register a charity in Quebec.
Québec (in french only) Registering a sole proprietorship in Saskatchewan
Only Applies to : Find out how to register your business name as a sole proprietorship in Saskatchewan, including the fees, the forms required and the turn-around time.
Saskatchewan Registration of an extra-provincial corporation (New Brunswick)
Only Applies to : Find out about the rules, procedures and fees for registering an extra-provincial corporation in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick Registry of Companies (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Only Applies to : In Newfoundland and Labrador, you must register with the Registry of Companies if you decide to incorporate provincially.
Newfoundland and Labrador Registry of Joint Stock Companies
Only Applies to : Register your business or research existing corporations and partnerships.
Nova Scotia Revenu Québec — Business Portal
Only Applies to : Is your company based in Quebec? If so, learn about your fiscal obligations including taxes and deductions.
Québec Setting up a cooperative
Only Applies to : Do you want to create or start a cooperative? If so, learn more about the laws, programs, policies and tools related to starting a cooperative.
Québec (in french only) Provincial tax information
Get information on provincial tax benefits and find out how to collect sales tax from your local and out-of-province customers.
Overview of charging and collecting sales taxAs a Canadian business owner, it's important to know how and when to charge sales taxes for the goods and services you sell and supply to your customers. Tax and Revenue Administration
Only Applies to : As a business owner, find out about your responsibilities with regard to Alberta taxes.
Alberta Register to collect and pay PST – eTaxBC
Only Applies to : Register your business to collect
British Columbia PST, obtain your PST number, and then report and pay the tax online. Taxation Division
Only Applies to : Learn about your tax collection and remittance obligations as a Manitoba business owner.
Manitoba Employer Health Tax (Ontario)
Only Applies to : Find out if you are required to pay the Employer Health Tax in Ontario.
Ontario Revenu Québec — Business Portal
Only Applies to : Is your company based in Quebec? If so, learn about your fiscal obligations including taxes and deductions.
Québec Provincial tax obligations
Only Applies to : Learn about your obligations concerning provincial tax registration, collection, and remittance when doing business in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Taxation in the Yukon
Only Applies to : Find out about the taxes your business needs to pay and the tax breaks you can get in the Yukon.
Yukon Taxation in the NWT
Only Applies to : Learn about the taxes your business will be responsible for collecting and paying while doing business in the Northwest Territories.
Northwest Territories Nova Scotia Provincial Tax Commission
Only Applies to : Find out about your responsibilities in regards to Nova Scotia taxes.
Nova Scotia Newfoundland and Labrador Taxation
Only Applies to : Learn about your taxation obligations in Newfoundland and Labrador and discover what credits, incentives, and benefits you could qualify for.
Newfoundland and Labrador Harmonized Sales Tax ( HST)
Only Applies to : Get information regarding Harmonized Sales Tax (
Prince Edward Island HST) in Prince Edward Island. Hiring and managing employees
Your employees are the key to the day-to-day functioning of your business. You will want to determine how many employees you require, and what qualifications they need. Then you will need to recruit the best and brightest, and create a working environment that they want to be a part of.
Hiring employeesKnow your obligations and opportunities when it comes to hiring employees. EmployeesDiscover how to recruit, hire and effectively manage your employees. Workplace health and safety
You have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of all of your employees while they are working. This requires that you comply with certain regulations and standards for the safety of your workplace.
Employer and Employee Duties — Occupational Health and Safety (Federally Regulated Employers)Read about the obligations that you and your employees have under the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Tools and toolkits for employers on occupational health and safetyNo matter what jurisdiction your organization is regulated in, these tools can help you comply with workplace health and safety requirements. Workplace Hazardous Materials Information SystemEnsure safe handling of hazardous materials in your workplace. Learn how to use, store handle, label and dispose of these materials. PRIME Employer Incentive for workplace health and safety
Only Applies to : Minimize your workers' compensation claim costs and receive refunds for good occupational health and safety and return-to-work practices.
Newfoundland and Labrador Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission
Only Applies to : If you are an employer in Newfoundland and Labrador, you must register with this organization to receive no-fault work injury insurance.
Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety (Nova Scotia)
Only Applies to : Find out about your rights and requirements as an employer under Nova Scotia's
Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act. Application for WorkSafeNB Coverage
Only Applies to : If you have 3 or more people working for you, you need to register for workers' compensation insurance.
New Brunswick Registration with the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail
Only Applies to : You are required to register with the
Québec CSST if you have paid employees and your business is located in Quebec. (in french only) Ontario Office of the Employer Adviser
Only Applies to : Get free expert advice and representation on workplace safety and insurance issues.
Ontario Modular training
Only Applies to : Find out about on-the-job training requirements for employees in the mining, forestry and construction industries in Ontario.
Ontario Safe Manitoba
Only Applies to : Spot the hazards, assess the risks, and find a safer way every day. Access a multi-partner website working towards a strong workplace safety and health culture in Manitoba.
Manitoba Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba
Only Applies to : Access information and help for implementing an injury and disability insurance system to protect your business and your workforce.
Manitoba Safety in the workplace — Saskatchewan
Only Applies to : As an employer, you have the obligation to ensure the health and safety of your employees. Access resources that can help you make your workplace as safe as possible.
Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board
Only Applies to : Find out if you need to register for workers' compensation insurance to protect you and your employees from work-related injuries or death.
Saskatchewan Workplace Hazardous Materials Information — WHMIS — Saskatchewan
Only Applies to : Reduce the risks from hazardous products in your workplace. Find out how to determine what is a controlled product and the rules and regulations that apply to them.
Saskatchewan Certificate of Recognition — contract requirement
Only Applies to : Get your occupational health and safety certification to be able to bid on large government construction contracts.
Yukon Workplace health and safety (Alberta)
Only Applies to : If you operate a business, you should be aware of safety laws. Did you know that partnerships in health and safety can help your business?
Alberta Workers' Compensation Board Alberta
Only Applies to : Get information on protecting your business and your workers from injury and illness while on the job.
Only Applies to : This service helps you comply with the legal requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to ensure healthy and safe working conditions.
British Columbia WorkSafeBC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Related Materials
Only Applies to : Find out the legal requirements that must be met by all workplaces under the jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC.
British Columbia CHOICES workplace safety incentive program
Only Applies to : You may qualify for insurance rebates for improving your workplace health and safety and return-to-work outcomes.
Yukon Small Business Primer — A Guide to the Workers' Compensation Board
Only Applies to : Access information about Workers' Compensation in British Columbia. Find out about paying premiums, preventing accidents, what to do if there is an accident, and more.
British Columbia Additional resources
Whether you are a new or experienced entrepreneur, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.
Contact the Canada Business NetworkThe Canada Business Network has centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success. Business support organizationsSeeking the advice of peers, professional business counsellors and coaches can help you transition from new business owner to experienced entrepreneur.