If you are reading this, then I’m assuming you have already decided to apply for Canada Startup Visa Program.
Before you can apply for your PR and Work Permit, you have to get a company registered in Canada. The best time to register a company is when you are already communicating with a few incubators and at least one incubator has communicated to you that they will be issuing you a Letter of Support.
To issue a Letter of Support, your incubator will send you a list of documents, which will also include your company information. This is where your newly registered company details will go.
Federal or Provincial Company
Before registering your company, you have to decide what kid of registration do you require. You have two options, Federal or Provincial Company. A Federal company allows you to conduct business anywhere in Canada except Quebec (separate registration process for Quebec).
A provincial company allows you to conduct business operations in a specific province. The two most common options are Ontario or British Columbia. This is where almost all the incubators are located, and as a technology company you would want to settle in either of these two provinces.
In my case, I registered a provincial company in Ontario. One because our incubator is in Ontario, and we thought that we can always upgrade to a federal company. If we want to open an office or hire people in another province.
Keep in mind that there is no compulsion from the IRCC or the incubator. But it is recommended that your company should be in the same province as your incubator. This way you will be able to get advice in licensing, taxation, accounting and other matters related to your operations from people in and around your incubator.
To register a company, you can do it yourself on Canada Govt website. Cost for Federal registration starts from $200. You can register a Basic or Custom Incorporation. If you want to give your company a name, then you need to do a name search before you incorporate.
For provincial incorporation there is a separate website for the Ontario which you can find here. Register in Ontario.
Similarly, for Ontario you first have to do a Nuans Name Search to see if your desired name is available and if it is, you can register your corporation.
For Federal company, majority or all owners can be foreign nationals. For a provincial company, there is some misinformation and not everyone is aware of the rules.
In Ontario, before 2021 you couldn’t register a company if all owners were non-residents and this is why some people recommended us to not register in Ontario. But it turns out in 2021, the law was changed, and non-resident foreigners can register and own a company in Ontario.
If you are registering in British Columbia, then there is no resident requirement, and you can easily register as a foreigner while owning 100% of your company.
Use an Agent
I did a lot of research before registering a company and I tried registering a company by myself also in Ontario. At the end, I ended up using a company registration service by the name of Ownr. The process was very smooth, price wasn’t too high also, and we got all the required documents in our dashboard in a few days. So I suggest, don’t waste a time in making this decision like I did and just use Ownr to register your company.
You will get all your documents, Ownr automatically sends it to everyone for signing. Another benefit was that after a few weeks some documents had to be updated and Ownr automatically notified us and sent us the docs for signing. All the documents are available in Ownr dashboard and I didn’t have to worry about anything.
I spent a few days doing all this research, and I hope this helps anyone looking to register a company for Canada Startup Visa.