Establishing a business

Establishing your business is a pivotal step. A number of elements must be taken into account, such as the choice of legal structure, the name, registration, and the permits and licences that you need to legally begin activities.

All businesses are operated under a legal form. It is important to find out about these main forms in order to choose the one that is best suited to your needs and objectives. There are a number of legal forms in Québec, including:
  • Sole proprietorship

  • General partnership

  • Firm with capital stock, called a “company” if it is established under the Québec provincial regime or a “corporation” if it is established under the federal regime

  • Limited partnership

  • Cooperative

  • Non-profit organization


A number of factors may influence the choice of a business’s legal form:
  • The number of people involved

  • The income-producing nature or the name of the business

  • The forecast sales figures

  • The implications inherent to each form

  • And other factors

Choose a legal form

No matter what legal form you choose for your business, you will have to comply with the legal requirements of the following statutes when you choose your name :

● Act Respecting the Legal Publicity of Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, and Legal Persons;

● Charter of the French Language of Québec.

Comply with the requirements

In Québec, the majority of businesses must register, depending on the case, with the Registraire des entreprises and declare their legal form. Registration is obligatory except for sole proprietorships operating under a name that contains the first and last names of the owner.

Registration protects the name that you have chosen for your business. A fee must be paid each year to keep your registration in force. Once the procedure is completed, the Registraire des entreprises assigns the entrepreneur concerned a numéro d’entreprise du Québec (NEQ) or Quebec enterprise number.

Register your business

The business number (BN) is a number assigned by the federal government that businesses must have when they interact with the Canada Revenue Agency concerning corporate income tax, the goods and services tax and the harmonized sales tax, deductions at source, and import/export accounts.

Obtain your federal business number

In the national business environment, three tiers of government (municipal, provincial, federal) have enacted laws or regulations likely to affect your business at various levels. As a whole, this legal documentation is important. Businesses that do not take account of it or neglect to comply with various legal requirements do so at their risk and peril. Here are some legal or regulatory requirements.



You must comply with the laws and regulations with regard to exports (permits and licences for regulated goods, business number import/export account, export declarations, customs tariffs, harmonized system code [HS code], etc.).

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You must comply with the laws and regulations with regard to imports (customs laws, harmonized system code, import permits and controls, declarations, sanctions, etc.).

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Hiring and managing personnel

Comply with the statutes and regulations regarding the hiring and management of personnel (social insurance number [SIN], Employment Insurance [EI], records of employment [ROEs], and protection of personal information).

Learn more about it


Certificate of occupancy

When you have a business, no matter its location, you must obtain your certificate of occupancy from your municipality or borough.

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