What To Consider When Starting An eCommerce Business In Canada

If you are thinking of starting an e-commerce business in Canada there are a number of points that you need to consider.  Some of the business regulations in Canada will only apply to traditional businesses and not an online business.  However, there are other regulations that will still apply to your online business. 

Provincial Registrations

To sell to people within Canada you will need to register your business and in some cases get a business license ;  the exact permits and licenses that you need will vary depending on your location and they type of e-commerce business you are going to start.  If you are going to be selling to people outside of your province or territory then you may be required to register your business in the province your customer resides in.  It should be noted that this is something only a few provinces require, but it is a legal requirement that you need to be aware of. 

Consider Incorporation

Incorporating your business may provide a number of benefits that you could use.  It is recommended that you get professional advice about incorporation.  A professional will be able to tell you about the benefits and whether or not they will apply to your business. 

The Consumer Protection Acts

Each territory and province of Canada will have their own consumer protection act.  This is very important particularly if you are going to be selling to a customer in a different province.  You will need to abide by the act in use in the province your customer resides in, even if you are selling a guide on how to talk dirty or something similiar.

Have Terms And Conditions

When setting up your business you need to draft a terms and conditions that customers have to agree to.  These should be detailed and accurate offering information about the conditions of the sale, the price, shipping, method of payment, warranties and refunds.  Having a clear and concise terms and conditions agreement will protect your business. 

Register For Taxes

There are a number of taxes that you need to register for.  As you are likely to sell to a customer outside your province you need to register for Provincial Sales Tax.  This is particularly important when selling in provinces that do not have harmonized sales taxes.  Many provinces will have harmonized sales tax which is combined with the federal Goods and Services Tax.  If your business makes less than $30,000 you will not have to register for the Goods and Services Tax.