Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about starting your business?

The following is a list of frequently asked questions and answers on how to start a small business in Mississauga, Ontario.  Please contact the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC) if you require more information.


1. How to Choose a Business Idea

Where can I find a good business idea?

Many people think that all you need to start a business is one good idea. While that can sometimes be true, the best foundation for business success is to have several possibilities for creating profits. It is a worthwhile exercise to explore additional products, services, procedures and processes that may enhance your initial idea. The best and most successful businesses are often the ones that are unique or innovative.

Many entrepreneurs take a planned approach by starting a detailed search for business opportunities such as:

  • Supply shortages
  • Market gaps
  • Business ideas that have been successful elsewhere
  • Ways of selling special, unique or rare personal skills and abilities
  • Products or services that will make life easier for people

Before you start your business, consider the following

  • Is your idea original?
  • Will people be willing to pay for your products / services?
  • Is your product / service able to compete in the marketplace?
  • Do you have a product or idea that requires intellectual properties protection?
  • Are you manufacturing your product or importing your product?
  • What resources do you need to do your business?
  • Is there a way to evaluate your idea?

Learn more

 

 

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2. Conducting Market Research

How can I learn about Mississauga population and demographics?

Mississauga Data is our corporate open data website. Historical planning data including key statistics on Mississauga population, demographics, census, development, monitoring/activity, growth forecasts, housing employment, office, land use, vacant lands and the environment can also be found here.

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Is there a map showing places of interest in Mississauga?

Mississauga’s Interactive Online Mapping Service allows you to: browse and explore the City’s mapping; overlay current and historical aerial photography; locate a street address or property; print maps to scale and more.

    • browse and explore accurate, regularly maintained mapping data
    • view current and historical aerial photography
    • search and locate an address
    • search and locate a street intersection
    • search and locate points of interest, such as parks
  • measure distances and areas
  • view the location and details of survey monuments
  • view the location and details of City-planted trees
  • rotate the map and click an Arrow button for true-north

Can I find a list of businesses in Mississauga?

The Economic Development Office, in partnership with Planning & Building Department is proud to announce the new, free and interactive 2016 Mississauga business directory. The Mississauga Business Directory shows the geographic location of the businesses within Mississauga.  It lists only the businesses that agreed to be included in the Business Directory.

Learn More

 

 

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3. Regulations and Licenses

Taxes and Regulations


What is a Business Number?

A Business Number (BN) is a federal government numbering system. Canadian businesses that register for one or more of the following accounts will receive a BN:

  • Corporate Income Tax;
  • Importer/Exporter account number;
  • Payroll (source) deductions (Trust accounts);
  • Goods and Services Tax

There is no fee for a BN. For further information or to register a business number, visit:

Business Window, Canada Revenue Agency
5800 Hurontario Street
Mississauga, ON L5R 4B4
1-800-959-5525
http://www.businessregistration.gc.ca

What is Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)?

Most goods and services sold or provided in Canada are taxable at the rate of 5% (GST) or 13% (HST). The HST applies in the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, British Columbia and Ontario. All businesses with annual GST taxable revenue of $30,000 or more must register for GST with the Canada Revenue Agency. Firms with less than $30,000 annual revenue may opt to not collect the GST/HST but should contact the Canada Revenue Agency for details. Businesses must register to obtain a Business Number with a GST/HST account. There is no fee to register for a GST number. To register in person, visit:

Business Window, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
5800 Hurontario Street
Mississauga, ON L5R 4B4
1-800-959-5525
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/

Do I have to pay Employers Health Tax?

All employers are required to pay the Employers Health Tax. The first $500,000 of the payroll is exempt. The Employers Health Tax on self-employed income has been eliminated. For more information contact:

Mississauga Regional Tax Office
77 City Centre Drive, 1st floor
Mississauga, Ontario
L5B 1M5
Toll-free: 1-800-265-9969
Telephone: (905) 273-9490
Fax: (905) 949-3388

What Corporate Tax numbers do I need?

For those business registered as an incorporation in Ontario, the follow numbers are assigned.

Ontario Corporations Tax Number

The Ontario Corporations Tax Number is assigned when a corporation has incorporated with the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services (MCBS). This number is required for filing your combined CT23 Corporations Tax and Annual Return. Once registered with MCBS you may obtain your Ontario Corporations Tax number generally 14 days after registration with MCBS by calling in Toront 416-920-9048 or 1-800-263-7965.

Business Number (BN)

The Federal Business Number (BN) is issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This number is required for filing your federal tax return as well as your combined CT23 Corporations Tax and Annual Return.


The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a number of FREE videos and recorded webinars that present information about CRA programs and initiatives, including HST, Payroll and keeping proper tax dcoumentation. For more information visit their website at: Government of Canada / Businesses Video Gallery 

How do you report income tax for sole proprietorship or partnership?

You report your business and professional income on your individual tax return.

The fiscal period for most new businesses is the calendar year. Your fiscal period can be less than 12 months in some instances, but it cannot be more than 12 months. Business expenses are costs related to your business activities. You can usually deduct any reasonable expense related to your business activities. But remember that you can ONLY deduct business expenses. You cannot deduct personal expenses.

For further information it is recommend that clients read the CRA publication “Business and Professional Income” or contact the Business Window of CRA for further information.


The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a number of FREE videos and recorded webinars that present information about CRA programs and initiatives, including HST, Payroll and keeping proper tax dcoumentation. For more information visit their website at: Government of Canada / Businesses Video Gallery 

How do I register for an HST number?

There are three ways to register for GST/HST account:

  1. Online: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/registering-your-business/business-registration-online-overview.html
  2. Telephone: 1-800-959-5525
  3. Mail or fax:

Do I need business insurance?

Although business insurance is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you consider business insurance. The types of insurance available include liability, building, contents, business interruption, marine cargo, employee injuries, miscellaneous coverage, automobile insurance, and home-based business insurance. If you operate a home-based business, it is recommended that you review your home insurance policy for the home-base business clause. To obtain insurance, please contact your local insurance agent.

Do I need to register for HST?

If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a Business Number to charge and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

You have to register for a GST/HST account if both of the following situations apply

  • You provide taxable supplies in Canada (unless your only supplies are of real property sold other than in the course of a business) and have annual taxable revenue of $30,000 or more.  Firms with less than $30,000 annual revenue may opt to not collect the GST/HST but should contact the Canada Revenue Agency for details.
  • You are not a small supplier.

You cannot register for a GST/HST account if you provide only exempt goods and services.

For more information about GST/HST requirements visit canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses 

What is WSIB? And Do I need it?

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

If you employ workers on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis in an industry or business covered under the Worker’s Compensation Act, you must register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within ten (10) days of employing your first worker.

It is voluntary for self-employed persons to contribute to the WSIB. Contact the nearest WSIB office to obtain a registration kit, which includes information on assessments, coverage, accident reporting requirements and appeals procedures. Call the WSIB at: (416) 344-1013 or www.wsib.on.ca.

Licensing


Do I need a Business License?

Business Licensing may be required for your business. To help determine if you need a business licence, please contact one of the following:

BizPaL

BizPaL is an online service that simplifies the business permit and licence process for entrepreneurs, businesses and governments. Users simply answer a series of questions on their type of business and BizPaL will automatically generate a list of permits and licences from all levels of government with basic information on each, as well as links to government sites where users can learn more and, in some cases, apply online.  Visit: mississauga.ca/portal/business/bizpal

Also available – Canada Business Network online permit search tool

Business Licensing at the City of Mississauga

The Business Licensing Section issues operating licences for various types of businesses in the City of Mississauga. A business licence application is required for each new business starting up, or for existing businesses that have had a change of name, owner, location or type of business category. For more information visit http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/business/businesslicensing or call 311.

Visit, e-mail or call the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC) office.

Our staff can provide guidance on what licences and/or permits your business may require.

Where can I get a Business License?

To get a business license, please contact one of the following:

Business Licensing at the City of Mississauga

The Business Licensing Section issues operating licences for various types of businesses in the City of Mississauga. A business licence application is required for each new business starting up, or for existing businesses that have had a change of name, owner, location or type of business category.

For more information visit http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/business/businesslicensing or call 311.

 

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4. Hiring Employees

Do I have to pay Employers Health Tax?

All employers are required to pay the Employers Health Tax. The first $500,000 of the payroll is exempt. The Employers Health Tax on self-employed income has been eliminated. For more information contact:

Mississauga Regional Tax Office
77 City Centre Drive, 1st floor
Mississauga, Ontario
L5B 1M5
Toll-free: 1-800-265-9969
Telephone: (905) 273-9490
Fax: (905) 949-3388

What is WSIB? And Do I need it?

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

If you employ workers on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis in an industry or business covered under the Worker’s Compensation Act, you must register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within ten (10) days of employing your first worker.

It is voluntary for self-employed persons to contribute to the WSIB. Contact the nearest WSIB office to obtain a registration kit, which includes information on assessments, coverage, accident reporting requirements and appeals procedures. Call the WSIB at: (416) 344-1013 or www.wsib.on.ca.

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5. Choosing a Business Location

Am I able to operate my business from home?

The following Home Occupations are permitted to operate from a Detached Dwelling: tutoring, music instructions, artist or artisan and a general office use, provided the Home Occupation complies with all the restrictions indicated in Subsection 4.1.16 of the Zoning Bylaw. A physician, dentist, drugless practitioner or health professional may also establish a business from their home provided the use complies with all the applicable Zoning By-law restrictions. Please contact the Zoning Section for further information by calling 3-1-1, or if calling from outside of Mississauga, dial 905 615-4311.

More information can be found at

How do I apply for a building permit?

If your Mississauga business location requires renovations or new construction, please contact the City of Mississauga Planning and Building.

You will find a great combination of information and services to help you through the development process. This portion of our eCity portal is designed to serve both the resident and builder/developer alike.

Learn More

 

Is there a map showing places of interest in Mississauga?

Mississauga’s Interactive Online Mapping Service allows you to: browse and explore the City’s mapping; overlay current and historical aerial photography; locate a street address or property; print maps to scale and more.

    • browse and explore accurate, regularly maintained mapping data
    • view current and historical aerial photography
    • search and locate an address
    • search and locate a street intersection
    • search and locate points of interest, such as parks
  • measure distances and areas
  • view the location and details of survey monuments
  • view the location and details of City-planted trees
  • rotate the map and click an Arrow button for true-north

Can I find a list of businesses in Mississauga?

The Economic Development Office, in partnership with Planning & Building Department is proud to announce the new, free and interactive 2016 Mississauga business directory. The Mississauga Business Directory shows the geographic location of the businesses within Mississauga.  It lists only the businesses that agreed to be included in the Business Directory.

Learn More

 

Where is Downtown Mississauga?

Downtown Mississauga is a dynamic, urban neighbourhood that attracts creative and talented people to live, work and play. It is a place where you can share and embrace new ideas, cultures and experiences. Downtown Mississauga is located in the heart of the city with easy connections to the rest of the city, the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and beyond. In downtown Mississauga, we are open to new opportunities and ready to welcome the world. Access to and from the economic hotbed is as barrier-free as it gets anywhere on the planet.

Approximately 4 million sq. ft. of existing (Class A & B) office space and approximately 60 acres of land ready to be developed, downtown Mississauga is a growing centre for the “new economy” with 70% of residents of working age (16 – 64). Need more information on doing business in Mississauga

Learn More

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6. Writing a Business Plan

Why should I prepare a Business Plan?

A business plan is a valuable tool for every business owner, whether you are starting up, have been in business for years, or are ready to grow. Your business plan is essential if you are seeking funding, to rent or lease a location and by many suppliers and potential customers. It will also help you identify goals, needed resources and employees as you grow your business.

The benefits of preparing a business plan
  • Provides an outline of your short term and long term business goals
  • Helps to identify your customers, your market, your pricing strategies and the competitive conditions under which you must operate to succeed.
  • Identifies the amount and type of financing or outside investment required.
  • Makes it easier for a lender or investor to assess you and your proposal.
  • Improves your ability to manage your business.
  • Encourages realism.
MBEC suggests the following resources to help you prepare a business plan:

Related links

  • FAQ – What is a Business Plan?

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a written document which describes who you are, what you plan to achieve, where your business will be located, when you expect to get under way, and how you will overcome the risks involved and provide the returns anticipated.

Business plans are a recognized management tool used by successful and/or prospective businesses of all sizes to document business objectives and to propose how these objectives will be attained within a specific period of time.

Related Links

  • FAQ – Why should I prepare a business plan?

Do I need a Business Plan to start my business?

Beyond creating a business plan for the sake of lenders and investors, it is also a necessary exercise to help you map out the growth and progress of your business. The success of your business depends on your clear vision of the future:

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7. Financing and Funding Options

What Funding is Available?

Limited funding is available for starting a small business. When funding is available, it is usually directed at key employment sectors or for businesses that are considered as innovative or high-tech.

The success of your business depends on having enough money to purchase the equipment, buying inventory, pay overhead costs such as rents and salaries, and have a large enough amount set aside for additional ongoing expenses. It is essential to assess the costs of start-up and doing business, and determine the money required before you begin. This is an important part of the initial business planning process.

Due to the diversity and size of the local business economy, neither the federal or provincial levels of government provide extensive financial support for start-up businesses.

More information can be found at

Are there any government grants to help me start my business?

Due to the diversity and size of the local business economy, neither the federal or provincial levels of government provide extensive financial support for start-up businesses.

Government loans, grants, subsidies and other forms of financial assistance are available to small and medium-sized businesses in Ontario. Your business type, industry, location and activities will all determine which programs will apply to you. The amount of money that you can invest in the business could also determine your eligibility for government financing.

Government of Canada Grant Resources

A database of all possible government loans, grants, subsidies and other forms of financial assistance are available here –  canadabusiness.ca/grants-and-financing 

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8. Types of Business Ownership

What is the difference between a sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporation?

sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person. The owner of a sole proprietorship has sole responsibility for making decisions, receives all of the profits, claims all losses, and does not have separate legal status from the business.

partnership is an association between two or more people who join together to carry on a trade or business. Each partner contributes money, labour, property, or skills to the partnership.

Corporation is an incorporated entity with its own rights and responsibilities as a distinct person under the law. A corporation is owned by the shareholders and managed by directors chosen by the shareholders. The owners of a corporation are not personally responsible for the debts of the corporation. The corporation is responsible for its debts.

What is an incorporation?

Corporation is an incorporated entity with its own rights and responsibilities as a distinct person under the law. A corporation is owned by the shareholders and managed by directors chosen by the shareholders. The owners of a corporation are not personally responsible for the debts of the corporation. The corporation is responsible for its debts.

Fees for Federal Incorporations (Canada wide) are $200 for online filing or $250 for using the printed forms. Federal Incorporations forms are available from the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC). Internet filing is available at: www.ic.gc.ca/corporations.

Fees for Provincial Incorporations (Ontario wide) are $300 for online filling or $360 for using the printed forms. Provincial Incorporations forms are available for a fee from Staples or Grand & Toy. If you incorporate electronically you must use the services of either online primary service provider: OnCorp at www.oncorp.com or ESC Corporate Services www.eservicecorp.ca (primary service providers are under contract with the Ontario Ministry of Government Services ) to complete the online Articles of Incorporation. The primary service providers may charge their own service fee.

PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE FROM AN ACCOUNTANT AND LAWYER IS RECOMMENDED IF YOU DECIDE TO INCORPORATE.

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9. How to Register a Business

What is a Business Registration?

business name registration refers to a registration under the Business Names Act. It expires after 5 years and must be renewed. The Companies and Personal Property Security Branch, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services (MCBS) does not send reminder notices. There are two types of business name registration in Ontario.

How to register a sole proprietorship or partnership?

The cost to register a sole proprietorship or partnership is $60 plus $8 per name search if completed at a Service Ontario location or via the Internet.

To register in-person

Service Ontario
1 Gateway Boulevard, Brampton, Ontario
Hours: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Phone: 1-800-267-8097

Call for an appointment

To register online:

The cost to register a sole proprietorship or a partnership in person at the Companies Branch or by mail is $80 plus $12 per name search.

Companies Branch
375 University Avenue, 2nd floor Toronto, ON M7A 2H6
(416) 314-8880

What is the purpose of a Business Number?

Your Business Number is your single account number for dealing with the federal government regarding taxes, payroll, import/export and other activities. If you plan to hire employees, or if you will be importing and/or exporting products or services, you will need to get a business number. If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to charge and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

Can I change or update my Business Activity or Business Address after Registering my Business?

Changes/updates to Business Activity and/or Business address through using the Change of Business Information (COBI) tool online.

How to change your Business Information

Access Change of Business Information (COBI) online tool at ontario.ca/business-name-registration  and select 8. You can also change other business information online.

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