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September 15, 2023 by FH&P Lawyers
Starting a business in Canada? You might think that diving into business law is about as fun as watching paint dry. But hang tight! This guide aims to make the subject at least as exciting as a plot twist in your favourite TV series. But with the charm of a documentary voiced over by Bradley Cooper.
It’s time to “put on your big kid pants and think about the future of your company, not just the issues of today” warns Ava Aslani, Associate lawyer and our resident business law ninja.
Business Structure: Choose, but Choose Wisely
First off, you need to decide on a business structure. Think of this as choosing your character in a video game:
Business Licenses and Permits: Your Golden Ticket
Think of licenses and permits as the ticket to the business show. Don’t have one? Expect to be escorted out by the stern-faced usher known as the Government.
Contracts and Agreements: Because a Pinky Swear Isn’t Enough
Formal contracts are the grown-up version of a pinky swear. Make sure you outline who is responsible for what, how much, and when—basically, the "who, what, when, where, and why" but for grown-ups.
Intellectual Property: Your Brainchild Needs a Bodyguard
Have a ground-breaking idea or a catchy business name? That's your intellectual property, and it needs protection. Think of it as putting a lock on your diary but much, much more critical.
Employment Law: Finding the Sweet Spot
Before you consider hiring your first employee, brush up on employment law. You don’t want to be the boss who accidentally violates a labor law because you didn’t know any better. It's like accidentally stepping on a rake—painful and easily avoidable.
Tax Obligations: The Uninvited Guest
Tax time is like that dinner guest who always overstays their welcome—you can't avoid them, and they always show up when least convenient. From GST to PST and income tax, keep your affairs in order so this guest doesn't become a permanent resident.
Liability and Insurance: Better Safe Than Sorry
No matter how careful you are, things can go sideways. Like when you’re cooking and accidentally mistake salt for sugar. Insurance helps ensure that one mistake doesn’t ruin the whole recipe—or your business.
Dispute Resolution: Choose Your Battlefield
If a legal issue arises, you’ve got a few options. Mediation is like couple's therapy for businesses, arbitration is like asking your wise Aunt Gertrude to settle a family dispute, and litigation is the courtroom drama you never wanted to star in.
There you have it, business law in Canada with a pinch of humour. While this guide may not be a laugh riot, hopefully, it makes the topic more palatable. As always, the law is a moving target, so consult a professional for advice tailored to you.
“Reactive legal advice will always cost more than proactive legal advice. If you take the steps we’ve set out in this guide, you’ll create a solid legal foundation for your new business—not only giving you street cred, but also reducing the likelihood of needing to resort to dispute resolution.”
~ Ava Aslani,
Associate Lawyer, Specializing in digital & Business law
Disclaimer: This blog post is meant to be entertaining and educational but should not be considered as legal advice.
With a basic grasp of Canadian business law, you can navigate the entrepreneurial waters with a little more swagger and a lot less stumbling. And remember, when in doubt, consult a legal expert. They might not be comedians, but they sure know how to keep you out of trouble.