Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade recently announced the introduction of a new Business, Workplace, and Economy website to help entrepreneurs start new businesses in the province. The site provides access to information and services to support business growth and job creation.
Entrepreneur Website Part of Fewer Fees, Better Services Act
The Business, Workplace, and Economy website connects entrepreneurs to resources and free personalized help in applying for funding, tax credits, and registering their business. The website was created under the initiatives developed by the Fewer Fees, Better Services Act, which received royal assent on March 3, 2022. The preamble of the Fewer Fees, Better Services Act states:
“Ontario is committed to reducing administrative burdens for those seeking permits, licences, information or any other type of government approval and improving the overall experience for the user by making it easier to access required information and services.
Ontario is dedicated to increasing predictability and keeping government accountable.”
The website is part of the provincial government’s efforts to cut red tape and reduce burdensome administrative and regulatory requirements. Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli stated that the site demonstrates that the province has “listened to business owners” and will raise the bar for customer service.
As per Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Nina Tangri:
“With the launch of the new website, we’re taking the first step toward a holistic, start-to-finish approach to allow entrepreneurs to more effectively interact with government in meeting the requirements to get their business up and running.”
Helping Entrepreneurs Start a Business
The Business, Workplace, and Economy website connects entrepreneurs to information and guides about:
- Choosing a business structure
- Registering a business name in Ontario
- HST number registration, including rebates
- Obtaining a business number for business tax purposes
- Setting up payroll and benefits
- Permits, licensing, and insurance
- Employer Health Tax
- Provincial tax credits
In addition to helping Ontario business owners start an enterprise, the website also provides information about issues relating to closing a business, including succession planning, selling a business, account closures, and bankruptcy.
Small Business Enterprise Centres
Small Business Enterprise Centres are located throughout Ontario and offer advisory services and workshops on foundational entrepreneurial skills. These centres provide support, mentorship, training, and grant opportunities to new business owners. Entrepreneurs can search by postal code to determine the location of the nearest Small Business Enterprise Centre.
Information About Funding Opportunities
Depending on the type of business and services offered, Ontario business owners may be eligible for various programs, grant opportunities, and funding relating to:
- Indigenous economic development
- Student summer businesses
- Tech start-ups created by students and recent graduates
- Employee training
- Digital Main Street assistance for brick-and-mortar businesses seeking to go digital
- Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (R.A.I.S.E)
The website also offers financing advice, mentoring, and support for aspiring business owners between the ages of 18 and 39.
Funding for businesses looking to expand or bring business to their community is, in some cases, specific to the region in which the company seeks to operate: Eastern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Southwestern Ontario, or Rural Ontario.
Employment Laws & Workplace Insurance
Ontario entrepreneurs can use the new website to access information about their rights and obligations as an employer under the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
To ensure compliance with accessibility laws, the site provides free training about employee accessibility requirements and standards, including mandatory accessibility reporting for businesses or non-profit organizations with 20 or more employees.
Businesses can also determine whether they need workplace insurance for wage-loss benefits, medical coverage, and support for employees suffering work-related injuries or illnesses. Additionally, entrepreneurs can research business insurance to protect against loss or damage to physical property or the loss of operation and income.
Indigenous Business Development Toolkit
The Indigenous Business Development Toolkit aims to provide support and resources to Indigenous persons in Ontario looking to start or expand a business. The toolkit includes a list of Indigenous financial institutions that can assist with business planning and instructions for bidding on government contracts that benefit Indigenous people and communities.
In addition to the toolkit, Indigenous entrepreneurs are encouraged to read the First Nations Community Economic Development Guide for practical advice, case studies, and economic development resources for boosting their community’s local economy.
Export and Trade
In addition to provincially-focused business matters, the Business, Workplace, and Economy website provides information on growing a business nationally and internationally. It offers information about international trade programs and events, including exhibitions, seminars, and workshops, across multiple sectors and market regions.
Ontario-based businesses can use the site to find trade missions, market research, trade insurance options, and funding opportunities.
Contact Baker & Company in Toronto for Trusted Business Law Advice
The knowledgeable corporate and commercial lawyers at Baker & Company provide reliable advice and innovative legal solutions to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business. Whether you are a new or seasoned business owner, we help navigate the business law landscape and ensure your company is structured to maximize profitability and avoid risk. To speak with a member of our business law team, please call 416-777-0100 or contact us online.