Checklist to set up your business

Use this handy checklist to make sure your business is set up properly and compliant with relevant government regulations.

It’s the dull part of starting a new business – the administrative tasks. Use this handy checklist to make sure your business is set up properly and compliant with relevant government regulations.

What you need to do

Once you’ve written your business plan, secured start-up money, sourced suppliers and feel ready to serve customers, it’s time to open required business accounts and make the standard arrangements necessary to conduct business in this country.

Complete the following activities to set up your new business in Canada.

Business registration.

You’ll have to decide on a form of business structure for your new business. Your choices are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation.

Each carries distinct advantages, disadvantages and costs. Check with your lawyer or accountant regarding the best choice for you and your business.

Depending on your business structure, your business must be registered with different levels of government for different reasons. For help with any of these matters, visit the Canada Business Network for assistance.

Permits & licenses.

Trying to figure out what types of permission you need to open your business can be challenging.

Thankfully, Canada’s provinces, territories and municipalities have collaborated to create one source where you may find the permits and licences required to start and grow your business. Simply go to

Government accounts.

Canadian businesses must follow certain rules set out by federal, provincial and municipal governments and other agencies. For example, if you plan to hire employees you’ll need to open a payroll account with the Canada Revenue Agency(CRA).

Bank account.

If you are operating a business with a name other than your own, you’ll need to open a business bank account so you can make deposits and issue payments.

Promote credibility by ordering cheques featuring your business name, and consider establishing commercial credit history by obtaining a business credit card. Choose a financial institution that will provide you with the best mix of products, services, pricing and support.

Next steps

Find content for your business stage

Planning my new business

If you have not yet started your business, let us help you determine the feasibility of your new idea.


I’ve started my business

If you've been in business up to 2 years select this option to identify how to run your business more effectively.


I’m growing my business

If you have been in business for more than 2 years, determine the crucial next steps for growth.