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Moving Your Business to Canada- Guide for Foreign Business Owners

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Two coworkers discussing the idea of moving your business to Canada

There is a growing number of business owners who consider moving their companies to Canada. Being the world’s eighth-largest economy, Canada already stands out as a location worth considering. This is not the only reason to move your business to Canada, though. Some reasons include its proximity and common language with the U.S., and a favorable business environment, together with a diverse talent pool. You just have to choose a location for your office, and Number 1 Movers Van Lines will deal with the relocation. Expanding your work to Canada, however, requires more than moving logistics. Here are a few steps that every business owner needs to be aware of before starting a business in Canada!

Consider the regional differences and the country’s economy before moving your business to Canada

Knowing some basic facts about the country’s economy will help you make an informed decision before hiring office moving companies Hamilton and moving your business to Canada. First of all, Canada with its vast territory cannot be seen as a place of singular cultural or geographic characteristics. The five economic regions of Canada are Northern Canada, Western Canada, Ontario Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. There are 10 provinces and 3 territories within these regions. Every region’s development and contribution to the country’s economy relies heavily on its natural features which include not only natural resources and access to farmland, forests, and shores but also proximity to other markets and development of technology. 

Landscape of Canada
Canada has beautiful natural resources that greatly contribute to its economy

Having a similar economic system to the USA, Canada is a country with a high level of economic freedom, but with a more developed social welfare system. Ontario, Quebec, British Colombia, and Alberta are the most populous provinces with populations of 14.45, 8, 5, and 3 million respectively. Quebec is the largest province by area and has the largest French-speaking population in Canada. Also, the service sector accounts for 70 percent of the country’s GDP. 

Business ownership structure for foreign businesses

As a foreigner bringing your business to Canada, you could decide between the following ownership structures:

  • Branch office of your foreign company
  • Subsidiary, parent, or affiliate relationship with your foreign company
  • Acquisition 

Setting up a branch office in Canada is not any different than opening a branch office in your country. It necessitates the establishment of a physical location that offers the same service. This is essentially part of an already existing business but regulated by Canadian laws.

Setting up a company that will be a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate is a more complicated alternative. However, your Canadian and foreign companies will be separate business entities with separate assets and no liabilities attached. A simpler taxation process is an added benefit to this option. Finally, the acquisition is a common way of making yourself present on the market in Canada and using already established systems.

Business requirements and immigration rules you should be aware of

Moving your business to Canada is not a one-sided decision. You must ensure that your company is eligible to operate in Canada. Depending on your business history, financial sustainability, and reasons for expanding to Canada, you either fulfill or fail to meet the requirements needed for registering your business in Canada. In case you are relocating staff too or moving to Canada yourself, you must get a work permit. This might take from 2-4 months, depending on your nationality and other factors. Applying for permanent residence in Canada is also possible, but only after being employed there for a period of 12 months.

Various papers you'll need for moving your business to Canada
Check what papers and permits will you need for moving your business to Canada

This process might be nerve-racking, especially while you fill in paperwork and wait for permits. It’s highly recommended that you hire a law firm to handle this frustrating bitOnce you get the green light, you will need all the support you can get to physically settle. An all-in-one moving company like commercial movers Oakville will be able to take care of your special requirements.  

Choosing a place to set up your office after moving your business to Canada

When deciding on the place where you want to set up your office in Canada, you have to be mindful of factors such as provincial tax, office rent, and proximity to the desired market opportunities for growth. Even though Canada has favorable taxation for companies in general, you should be aware that, apart from federal taxation, there is also provincial taxation. Provincial taxation varies between provinces, so this could determine your choice of place for doing business. The provinces with the lowest corporate taxes however don’t usually come with the best business opportunities. Or, at least they are not as close to buzzing business areas.

DIfferent tax forms
When moving your business to Canada, consider the costs of setting up your office in different provinces.

How much will you pay for office space in Canada?

Finding an office space in Canada is quite a challenge too. Office rent and vacancy vary across provinces. The most expensive commercial spaces per square foot in 2022, according to Statista, were in Vancouver with 51.5 CAD, followed by Toronto with 41.9 CAD. Prices downtown and in the outskirts can differ significantly, however. It is on you to make the decision on where to open your offices, but once you have this figured out, you should leave the rest to moving professionals. According to Brampton office movers, having an experienced moving company that can handle everything, from IT equipment to storage, is the key to a good start. 

Do what’s best for your business from the very beginning

You have to make sure that you find the local support you need to execute the first steps which are necessary for your relocation. A PEO (Professional Employment Organization), an experienced law or accountant firm will help you go through all the legal processes and give you the peace of mind that everything is done according to the local laws and regulations. Hiring a trustworthy moving company will ensure that the relocation will be done in the fastest way possible. Commercial movers Mississauga suggest that you should focus on what you do best –running your business and hiring others to do what they do best. 

Like all big decisions, the decision related to moving your business to Canada should come with a lot of preparation and a good plan laid ahead. Whether you are looking for a fast-growing tech hub or a place in an economy that benefits from trade agreements with the USA and the European Union, in Canada you will find an opportunity to grow your business in a meaningful and lucrative way.