Valley First

Legal & Regulatory Considerations

You have an idea and a plan to make it profitable. But there are some legal and regulatory issues involved in starting a business and your choices can make the difference between success and failure.


Protecting your ideas

You probably know that it's essential to get a Patent for any invention that will be exclusive to your business. You may also need a Trademark, Copyright or Industrial Design to protect any original words, symbols, photographs, etc. Make sure you legally protect all of your ideas from being copied by others.


If you plan to operate your business as a proprietorship, partnership or limited company, you'll need to register the name with your provincial Corporate Registry. That way, you aren't using a name already in existence.

The three types of business

  • Proprietorship is the simplest kind of business to set up and is the type of business for you if you are the sole owner of your business. You run the business and you keep all profits and assume all losses.
  • Partnership is the way to go if you’ve got a business with two or more people combining their abilities and knowledge to run the business. A partnership agreement needs to be established, but it's still fairly easy to set up, and there can be additional sources of money to rely on.
  • Incorporation is the most expensive and most difficult type of business to start. The advantages, once it's set up, are the ease of getting capital and running the business while maintaining limited liability.

Getting a license

  • Municipalities require you to obtain a license for the location of your business. You may also need separate licenses if you conduct business in several municipalities, as well as licensing for any commercial vehicles. Any kind of licensing will include fees, and the fees can vary from place to place.
  • There are dozens of other federal and provincial licenses that you may need depending on the type of business you're in. For example, if your business is food service related, you'll need to become familiar with the Food Inspection Act as well as several other acts that will apply to you. Make sure that you have all applicable licenses for your business before you begin.


A legal buy-sell agreement enables the business you start to keep going if you pass away. It will protect your family from being burdened with outrageous taxes and ensure that the money from the business will be there for them to use in the future.


Become familiar with how you are required to file Federal Income Tax as a business person.

  • If you are sole proprietor, you must file a personal income tax return once a year.
  • If you are in a partnership, you are only taxed on your share of the income the business makes each year.
  • A corporation must remit taxes every month, as well as file an annual corporate income tax return.

If you are buying goods for retail or wholesale you must apply for a Social Service Registration Certificate; if your annual revenue is more than $30,000, you also need to register for the Federal Goods and Services Tax. For full information on taxes, and how they apply to your business, contact the .

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