Our service now covers areas all across Canada
Last modified: 2021-11-10 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
If the pandemic offered us insight into anything, it’s that home renovation and construction have plenty of public interest. This interest doesn’t seem to be fading. The construction industry is a booming one, as a contractor or entrepreneur (or both), you may be curious about starting and registering your own business.
The demand for skilled contractors is definitely there, but what are the logistics when it comes to registering a construction company?
If you’re looking to transition into owning your very own business in Canada, now is as good a time as any to jump right into this venture. As our economy grows, your business can grow alongside it. This article will list the primary steps and considerations that you should take in order to turn your construction company business dream into a reality! Moreover, we’ll be looking specifically at Ontario and Alberta.
Regardless of the province where you’re located, if you’re registering a business in Canada, it will need to be recognized by the Government of Canada as well as the Canada Revenue Agency. This means you’ll have to obtain a legal license for your business.
This process will involve deciding whether you want to register as a small business or an incorporated company. We’ll go over the pros and cons below but would like to note that many of the larger Canadian construction companies choose to be incorporated for the reasons we’ll detail below.
When you register as a small business, you are personally liable for the actions of your business alone. This means that any liabilities your business incurs will be charged to you. When it comes to incorporation, the business will be separate from you and thus, will have its own liability risk that’s separate from your individual person.
Unfortunately, a small business license will not offer you name protection, so it’s easy to have your name or something similar used with no real recourse. In contrast, when incorporated you do have name protection and may be able to seek infringement recourse if someone decides to register a similar business name.
With a small business, you’ll be taxed at a personal income level as registering a business means that it’ll automatically become part of your personal tax account. With an incorporated company, the corporation has its own tax account independent from yours. Do bear in mind this will require you to file both a personal and business tax return each year. Corporations are privy to lower tax rates and other tax concessions.
The length of your business registration will depend on the province you’re in. In Ontario, a business license will be valid for 5 years and once this time is up you’ll be able to register your business for another 5 years. Otherwise, the Ontario Government will automatically cancel it. In Alberta, your business license will be active indefinitely and remain valid unless you choose to dissolve the business.
In regards to an incorporated company, it’s continual. In Ontario, the corporation has no yearly filings. However, in Alberta, you’ll be required to file an annual return in order to remain active.
In Canada, there are specific licensing requirements when it comes to skilled trades. In many cases, each Province has their own rules and you can determine this by checking with the College of Trades or the equivalent to figure out what these are.
For Ontario specifically, there are trades referred to as compulsory trades which need licensing or certifications to legally operate. Here is a brief list of some of the trades that do require specific licensing:
For the very specific trade licensing specifications check here for Ontario and here for Alberta. Do keep in mind that for certain cities you’ll need municipal licensing to practice certain construction projects.
Health and safety are very important considerations when it comes to registering a business. You want to make sure that your workers are protected. In regards to the many trades covered under the construction sector, you’ll need to register with your provincial Workers Safety Board. It’s also recommended to look into the workplace safety regulations as defined by the Ministry of Labour, Skills and Training Development. For construction companies, there is a long list of considerations as this is a career with many risks. This includes covering areas such as fall prevention, hazardous substances, scaffolds, and so forth.
In the construction industry, trade associations are a useful tool to connect with others in the field locally as well as internationally. Some options are:
If you're just getting started in this industry, registering with a trade association comes with many benefits. These include: saving money, gaining guidance, networking, learning from others in the field, maintaining the best construction and renovation practices, boosting your company reputation.
Insurance is a crucial consideration for any business, but especially in the construction industry where you’ll need protection against various risks. Without insurance, you’ll be liable for every and all costs related to the workplace including injuries, broken equipment and so on. To do this, contact an insurance company and obtain construction liability insurance that covers both general and property liabilities. In some instances, you’ll also want to cover any vehicles your business is using.
In specific cases and with specific clients, you may require additional types of insurance including workers compensation insurance, disability insurance or unemployment insurance.
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