Are you thinking of starting a business in Quebec? Congratulations! Starting a business can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding the various rules and regulations that apply. As a new business owner, you might have a lot of questions and concerns about what steps to take and what permits and licenses you need to acquire. Don’t worry, in this article, we’ll provide you with a general overview of what you need to know to get started.

Choosing a Business Structure

First things first, you need to decide on the legal structure of your business. In Quebec, the most common business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Each type has different legal and tax implications, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Registering Your Business

Once you have decided on your business structure, you need to register your company with the government to ensure that your business is recognized as a legal entity and can operate legally in Quebec.

Depending on the industry you are operating in, you might require specific permits and licenses to start your business. It’s crucial to research the requirements for your industry and ensure that you have all the necessary permits and licenses before starting your business.

Permits and Licenses

The PerLE (permis et license) website is a great resource to look up what permits and licenses are required to operate a business in Quebec. This website provides detailed information on the permits and licenses required for different industries and types of businesses. Make sure you check it out!

Other Business Requirements

If your business involves the exporting or importing of goods, you will need to register for a Business Number (BN) account through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This Business Number is required in order to submit import/export declarations to the Canada Borders Services Agency (CBSA).

Are you planning to lease an office or make any leasehold improvements or renovations? If so, you will need to apply for a construction/transformation permit. Similarly, if your business intends to affix a sign to the exterior of a building or adjacent to a parking lot, you will need to obtain a certificate to install commercial signage. And if you’re opening a cafe, bar, or restaurant with a patio/terrasse, you must apply for a construction/transformation permit.

Some industries require specific permits, such as the MAPAQ Restaurant and Retail permits. If you are a restaurant, a bakery, or a butcher shop, you will need to apply for a permit with the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ). Similarly, if you are operating a gym or fitness studio, a travel agency, or a car dealership, you will need to register with the Office de la protection du consommateur. And if you are launching a beauty product or a natural health product, you will have to register with Health Canada.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to note that depending on the business you are in, there will be different permits, regulations, and requirements that you will have to follow. The PerLE website from the Government of Quebec is a useful tool to look up the permits you will require to operate your business. And if you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak to a Legal Information Officer or your YES Business Coach.

Starting a business can be a challenging process, but with the right preparation and research, you can ensure that your business complies with all the necessary regulations and is set up for success. We wish you the best of luck in your entrepreneurial journey!