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Open a Business in Ontario

Starting a business in Ontario implies that the foreign or local businessman will follow the same steps for company incorporation in Canada that are applicable at a national level. Even though the incorporation steps are very clear, the process itself can be rather complex if we refer to the number of documents that have to be registered with the local institutions or the certificates, permits and other papers that will be issued by the competent authorities. 

 Quick Facts  
 Types of companies

– sole trader,

– partnership,

– corporation (the equivalent of the limited liability company),

– co-operative

Minimum share capital for LTD Company


Minimum number of shareholders for limited company


Time frame for the incorporation (approx.) 

1-2 days to maximum 7 days 

Corporate tax rate

– standard rate 11.5% ;

– reduced rate 3.2% 

Dividend tax rate 


VAT rate  13% 
Number of double taxation treaties (approx.)


Do you supply a registered address? 


Local director required   No
Annual meeting required 


Redomiciliation permitted


Electronic signature 


Is accounting/annual return required? 

Yes (for both accounting and annual returns) 

Foreign-ownership allowed  Yes 
Any tax exemptions available? 


– certain employers are exempt from the Employer Health Tax,

– certain exemptions on the payment of the Harmonized Sales Tax,

– exemption from paying tax on boats and aircraft at the point of registration, etc.)  

Tax incentives Refundable tax credits for trainings, for regional investments, for research and innovation, etc. 

This is why, those starting a small business in Ontario or a large one can address to our consultants in company formation in Canada. This is advised for all foreign investors who are not familiarized with the local requirements, but also for those who want to speed up the process, as being represented by local specialists will ease various legal formalities. 

Alike, we advise local young entrepreneurs starting a business in Ontario to contact our specialists in the case in which they set up their first company; the lack of experience can have a negative impact on various registration steps and legal advice is always recommended. Below, we have prepared a short description on the main aspects to consider when opening a company in Canada in the region of Ontario

Select a legal entity and a company name in Ontario

Some of the basic aspects that should be clarified from the beginning of the process for company registration in Canada refer to the legal entity under which you will develop your business activity and the company name of your Canadian company

These steps are also equally important when starting a business in Ontario; here, investors can choose from corporate bodies, meaning companies that have their own legal personality, that can own properties, be sued, and, more importantly, taxed based on the corporate tax system applicable here, or partnerships and other structures. 

The partnership also represents a legal entity, but the taxation system will differ and its founders can have full liability for the company’s debts, depending on their function in the business (limited partner or general partner). Then, investors interested in starting a small business in Ontario can register a sole proprietorship, which is especially designed for small companies, in which there is only one founder who develops a business activity for his or her own benefit. 

In order to be able to open a company in Canada in the province of Ontario, you will also need to have an unique business name, that will comply with certain legal requirements. Registering a suitable business name is done in accordance with the regulations of the Business Name Act. The obligations that you have can be presented by our team of consultants in company formation in Canada; you can also verify such rules with the Integrated Business Services Application

If you want to start a company in another country, such as France, we can put you in touch with our local partners. They can help you open a company there in 2 weeks since you submit the required documents.

What is the data on foreign direct investments in Ontario?

One of the main reasons for which investors will be interested in starting a business in Ontario refers to the quality of the economy; an indicator in this sense is the foreign direct investment (FDI) level of the region; in this sense, it is necessary to know that Ontario is a highly competitive region, rating amongst the top Canadian regions. Below, you can find few highlights regarding the FDI in Ontario:

  • in 2018, Ontario ranked as the 1st Canadian region on FDI, accounting for more than 20% of all the investments;
  • in 2017, Ontario accounted for 259 investment projects, while in 2018, they increased to 315;
  • in 2019, Ontario retained the 1st rank on FDI with regards to the job creation, accounting for more than 10,000 new jobs created due to FDI;
  • in 2018, the main investors in Canada were the United States of America, accounting for 52.3% of all FDI, and the United Kingdom, accounting for 5.4%;
  • between 2010-2019, the total FDI value is estimated at $51 billion. 

You can also rely on our lawyers in Canada if you want to move to Ontario.

What other steps are necessary for starting a business in Ontario?

Regardless if you are in the process of starting a business in Ontario or opening a company in Canada elsewhere in the country, you will have to conclude other mandatory steps. For instance, it is required to prepare the company’ statutory documents (the articles of association and memorandum, for corporate bodies, and the partnership agreement, for limited or general partnerships). 

Also, if you are starting a small business in Ontario or a large corporation, you will have to register for various taxes, and you will have the obligation to pay employment taxes. For more details on the process for company formation in Canada, you can always contact our team of consultants. Our team can advise on the types of licenses and permits you may need for your company in Ontario