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Forms of enterprise in Canada

Forms of enterprise in Canada

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In Canada, you must register your business with the Enterprise Registrar to start your business. There are several legal forms and your choice will have an impact on taxes, costs and the legal side. Here are the most common ones: 

Sole proprietorship 

The sole proprietor operates his or her business alone, also known as a ‘self-employed worker’. It has no legal existence separate from its owner. In short, the entrepreneur is subject to the profits and losses of the business on his personal tax return. 

The corporation 

Also called ‘company’, is a separate legal entity. As such, it has rights and obligations of its own. In Quebec, business corporations are incorporated under the Business Corporations Act. Its purpose is to carry on a business in order to realize profits that will be distributed among its shareholders. 

General partnership 

A general partnership is a group of people, called ‘associates’, who agree, in a spirit of collaboration, to carry out a common activity. The purpose of the partners in a partnership is to operate a business, to contribute to it by pooling property, knowledge or activities and to share the resulting profits and losses among themselves. (e.g.: law firm/accountant, etc.)

Non-profit organization

A non-profit legal entity is a group that carries out non-profit activities in the cultural, social, philanthropic, national, patriotic, religious, charitable, scientific, artistic, professional, athletic, sports, educational or other fields. It has no share capital and its members do not incur any liability in respect thereof. (ex: community organization, sports association, etc.)

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