Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Ever thought about earning some income off that hobby of yours? Well, you’re not alone! Every day, many Canadians take the leap that is starting your own business. It an be an exciting and life-changing experience, but at the same time, a challenging one. This is because starting a business in Ontario is one thing, but ensuring it’s a successful one is a whole different story. Luckily, isure has you covered! This is our guide to putting yourself on the right track when starting a successful business in Ontario.

1. Do your business research

Before you begin the journey of starting a successful business, there is some research to be done first. It is smart to begin with some market research to understand the area in which you will be operating in. Take the time to figure out who your target market is, who your competitors are, and what the best location will be. During this time, you also get to make some deciding decisions, such as figuring out a name for your business and creating a website.

During this step, it is also crucial to conduct a business plan. This will generally consist of both your short- and long-term business goals. On top of this, it is a good idea to begin thinking about different resources you can use to give yourself a head start Talk to your local bank and see what tools they have to help you (such as a loan), or visit a local Small Business Enterprise Centre for help on writing a plan!

2. Figure out your business ownership structure 

Generally, people will have their ownership structure figured out early on. However, if you don’t yet, now is the time to do so! Ontario has three main types of business structures: Sole proprietorships/partnerships, corporations and co-operatives. Since you are only beginning, you will likely be starting as a sole proprietorship/partnership. Each have different pros and cons. Additionally, they will also bring different legal and tax needs. So, it is smart to think through how you want to move forward. Some pros and cons to sole proprietorships and partnerships are as follows:

Sole proprietorships

A business owned by one person. Generally, this is the most common, as it is the easiest! It is also beneficial because you have the option to incorporate people or expand in the future. This offers you full control of the company with all profits going to you. However, you are also responsible for all debts and losses you may incur.


This is basically a business ran by two or more people. These are easy and affordable to set up, and your debts and losses will be shared between you and your partners. However, it can sometimes prove difficult to find the right partner who will agree on business decisions with you.

3. Register your business and licenses

So, you’ve got a name, plan, and maybe a partner, too! Congratulations, it is time to register your business. This is mandatory in Ontario if you have employees, facilities or offices within the province. Luckily, this can be done online. All you need is a valid email address or credit/debit card for the fee that takes place. You can register online through the provinces website! 

Once you are registered, it is a good idea to get your permits and licenses in order. In many cases, you will require one or the other according to federal, provincial or municipal regulations. There are many online tools, such as BizPal, that will let you know which licenses and permits are mandatory for your business.

4. Learn your business regulations

When opening a successful business in Ontario, there are many different regulations that must be followed. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with accessibility regulations, employment standards and workplace health and safety.

Accessibility Regulations

In Ontario, more than 2.6 million people are living with a disability. As a business owner, it is your obligation to make your business accessible to them. This is done by identifying and removing any barriers for people using walkers, strollers or wheelchairs. By removing these barriers, you make people with disabilities feel welcomed and thus, urging them to return to your business for the products and services they need.

Employment Standards

As a business owner, it is mandatory to familiarize yourself and follow the Employment Standards Act. By doing so, you will familiarize yourself with topics, such as minimum wage, hours of work limits, termination of employment, etc. You will also be able to learn about parental leave, which public holidays you must give your employees off, and overall how to provide them with a fair and legal work environment.

Workplace Health and Safety

It is also crucial that you familiarize yourself with the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. By doing so, you will familiarize yourself with what is needed in order to make your workplace safe and healthy for people to visit and work in. The Health and Safety Act will go over topics, such as how to properly act in case of a fire, and how to overall deal with and prevent workplace hazards. Not only is this mandatory to do, but it helps provide yourself (and your workers) with the comfort of knowing they are in a safe environment.

5. Business insurance

Although business insurance isn’t mandatory, it is absolutely recommended! Even if you operate a business from your home, some business insurance policies can protect you and your business’s operations and income. You don’t take risks with your family, so why take them with your business? Also known as commercial insurance, this refers to an insurance policy and coverage that is directly catered to businesses. This can be crucial when it comes to protecting yourself and your business from a potential loss due to an unfortunate or unforeseen circumstance. Start a successful business, protect yourself, your employees and your assets with adequate insurance coverage.

At isure, we believe that all businesses are unique and should be treated as such! We take pride in being able to help you with an insurance policy that will properly reflect you and your needs, making sure you are secured and protected. On top of this, we have some of the cheapest premiums on the market along with top-tier customer service. So, if you are a new business owner looking into insurance, or just want to learn more about what isure has to offer, contact us or request a quote with us today!

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