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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 who are 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. See the Immigrating to Canada page to learn about the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program, the Start-up Visa Program and the Self-Employed Persons Program and find links to more information on these programs. 

Kingston Economic Development (KED) helps new businesses get started in the Kingston community. KED's Entrepreneurship Centre helps prospective business owners find a location for their business and learn about financial assistance programs and other useful resources.

KED 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

Ontario Business Program Guide
A guide to government-funded programs and services for Ontario businesses.

Kingston Economic Development (KED)
Information for businesses about the Kingston labour market, available properties, support services, programs and resources.

Where can I get help to start a business?
A list of services and websites with information to guide newcomers interested in starting their own business.

What do I need to know about licensing and regulations to start a business in Ontario?
Information about the laws and regulations governing large and small businesses in Ontario: registering a business, legal forms of business, workplace insurance, and municipal zoning and licensing.

Investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons
Investors are among three classes of business immigrants that also includes entrepreneurs and self-employed persons. The criteria are different for each one.

Canada Business: Starting a Business
Information about developing a business plan, buying a business, choosing a business structure, financing, and choosing a location. Includes checklists and guides for starting a business.

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. Includes an explanatory video explaining how the Ontario government is ready to help you do business in Ontario.

Information about Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) programs, premiums, policies, resources, partners, and employer obligations.

Canada Small Business Financing Program
Information about programs to extend loans that will help establish, expand, modernize and improve small businesses.

Starting a Business — resource list
A list of federal programs that provide guidance and financial assistance to help people create jobs for themselves by starting a business. Includes programs specifically for Francophones, Aboriginal entrepreneurs, and people with disabilities, as well as inventors, women and young entrepreneurs.

ServiceOntario: One-Source for Business
All the information and forms you need to set up and run a business in Ontario. Includes details on greening your business, selling to government, obtaining financing, filing taxes, and much more. Also includes online tools and wizards for financing and permits and licensing, as well as a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

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.

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.

Downtown Kingston! — Business Directory
An online searchable directory of the over 750 businesses that offer goods and services in the core commercial area of downtown Kingston. Includes anything from shopping, dining and entertainment to accountants, dentists and engineering firms.

Not-for-Profit Organizations in Ontario
This new bilingual website outlines everything to do with not-for-profit organizations in Ontario - including how to set one up and run one. Created by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade this site offers the first Ontario-wide funding directory that lists Ontario government grant opportunities; research about the sector; and provincial programs that support this sector.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
Sets out the rights and duties of workers, supervisors, employers and others for safe and healthy workplaces.

Learn to work safe
Training tools to help you learn how to work safely – several available in different languages.

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