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Non-Canadian Residents Starting a Canadian Business

Are you a non-Canadian who has an established business in your own country and would like to start a business in Canada? Or are you a non-Canadian who would like to open a company in Canada? Then this article is for you.

Starting a Business in Canada When You Already Have a Business

Expanding into Canada for an already-established foreign business is straightforward: each province has registration procedures (and fees) for extra-provincial incorporation.

Start a Business in Canada by Immigrating

First, if you wish to live in Canada, you could apply to come to Canada as a business immigrant. This is the only way that you will be able to both start a business in Canada and live here.

To come to Canada as a self-employed person you must have either:

  • relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics, and
    • intend and be able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada, or
  • experience in farm management, and
    • intend and be able to buy and manage a farm in Canada. 

Start a Business in Canada Without Living in Canada

 If you do not immigrate to Canada, and are not a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant (have permanent resident status), you can still start a company in Canada by setting up a partnership or a corporation with one or more Canadian citizens or landed immigrants.

Obviously, as a non-Canadian, if you are setting up a partnership with one other person, that other person would have to be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.

When you start a company in Canada, if that company is a partnership, you will need to register your partnership in the province or territory you are going to do business in. Contact the provincial registry of the province you want to do business in and go through its required procedure.​

If the company you are starting is a corporation, you will first need to decide whether you are going to incorporate your business federally or provincially.