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Small Business BC: Call 1-800-667-2272 for general business inquiries.

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Starting a Business


Know the Regulations

If you are thinking about starting your own business, it’s important to know the legal requirements. The website can help. There are a lot of rules you have to follow to run a business in Canada.

To set up a business, you will need to let the government know about it. You’ll need to find out about the regulations for specific business activities. You might need a licence or permit, depending on your type of business. The Canada Business Network website contains a search tool that will help you learn more about permits and licence requirements. You can also get helpful information at

To operate a business in BC you may need to do the following:

  • Check the availability of the proposed business name
  • Register the business name
  • Get a bank account for the business
  • Apply for an HST number (or GST number), depending on business income
  • Apply for a Payroll Account (if you are planning to have employees)
  • Apply for an Import/Export Account (if you are planning to trade with other countries)
  • Apply for a Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Account (mandatory if you have employees)

The Canada Business Network website describes the key requirements for registering new businesses. The Business Development Centre provides complete registration services for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships in BC. You can also use the Doing Business in BC checklist on the BC Registry Services website.