Starting Your Own Business
Many newcomers decide to start a new business after arriving in Canada. You may have difficulty finding work in your new community and need to support yourself and your family. Starting a new business can provide an opportunity to use the skills and education you bring to Canada.
The Canadian government welcomes immigrants in a category called the "business class." Business class immigrants include investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed people who are expected to help the Canadian economy grow by investing in a business or starting a new one.
Note: As of July 1, 2012, investor and entrepreneur stream applications are on hold until further notice while the programs are under review. This restriction does not apply to self-employment stream applications.
The Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) helps new businesses get started in the Kingston community. KEDCO's Entrepreneurship Centre helps prospective business owners find a location for their business and learn about financial assistance programs and other useful resources.
KEDCO staff can also introduce newcomers to the local labour market and the laws and regulations governing the operation of businesses in Ontario. For example, businesses and organizations in Ontario must be fully accessible to people with disabilities. Employers must also pay a provincial health tax and register for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Goods and Services Tax and Provincial Sales Tax.
Newcomers interested in starting a business can enrol in the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program, a four-week business skills course which is followed by four weeks of business coaching to help develop a successful business plan (see also Self-Employment). A viable business plan can lead to 32 more weeks of income support and business counselling for participants.
The Ontario Business Program Guide contains information about government-funded programs and services for Ontario businesses and is a useful resource for startup businesses (see For More Information links below).
For More Information
Working in Canada Guide
Individual sections of the Guide to Working in Canada can be viewed and printed from this site. Includes chapters on starting a business, labour market contacts and networking, communication skills, taxes and benefits, worker rights and minimum rate rates, immigration representatives and pre- and post-arrival steps.
Ontario Immigration: Start a Business
How to register or incorporate a business, business laws and regulations, how to get government advice, financing a business, workplace rights and an online information service for businesses just starting up.
What options do I have to start a business in Ontario
Information about starting a business, buying an existing business or starting a franchise. Includes links to sites with information about taxes, licensing, importing, exporting, and federal and provincial programs and services for businesses.
Invest in Ontario: Business Immigration
Business immigrants have access to a variety of services and support before and after arriving in Ontario, including multi-lingual seminars, networking events, programs and an opportunity to explore other communities. Also includes information on the Provincial Nominee Program/Opportunities Ontario and success stories.
Information about Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) programs, premiums, policies, resources, partners, and employer obligations.
A federal program that provides financial assistance to help people create jobs for themselves by starting a business.
Queen’s Business Consulting
Senior commerce students at Queen’s University offer year-round, cost-effective consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit and public organizations. Services include business plans, marketing strategies, financial management and production planning and control.
Canadian Company Capabilities (CCC)
This searchable database of 60,000 Canadian businesses contains comprehensive information on contacts, products, services, trade experience, technology and business opportunities. With hundreds of specialized manufacturing, service and product-specific business directories this tool can help connect you to buyers, distributors or partners.
Global Talent, Local Business 2011: Kingston’s Immigrant Entrepreneurs
A Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) initiative, this document profiles 13 entrepreneurs in the Kingston area. Coming from all corners of the globe, these individuals have established diverse businesses — in manufacturing, consulting, the restaurant and retail industries, graphic design, and social work — as part of making Kingston their home.
KIP Business Network
A Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) program for aspiring, new, and established entrepreneurs who have immigrated to Canada. The network meets once a month, and is an opportunity for immigrant entrepreneurs and business people to network and share experiences and insights. This group is also available on Facebook
Global Talent, Local Business 2012: Hiring Immigrants Works in Kingston
A Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) initiative, this document profiles the experiences of 10 businesses in the Kingston area that have hired immigrants. It explores the reasons why they did, what they expected and how the experience was a success and benefited everyone involved. All reasons why Kingston welcomes immigrants and why immigrants would chose to make Kingston their home.