Boris Mann

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Canadian Incorporation as a non-resident

  • Last Edit: September 28, 2020

Setting up a company in Canada as a non-resident

Note: a lot of this is relevant to setting up any kind of corporation in Canada. See StartupStartup
Startup and small business operations and efficiency
“Startup” is this weird phrase that means lots of different things. For me, one of the things that it means is really internalizing a couple of different concepts.
One is the [[Lean Startup]], which has lots of baggage associated with it today, but at its core there is the Build - Measure - Learn loop.
You start with a hypothesis (another key concept), like “adding an ecommerce channel will lead to more sales”, and then you build the minima...
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I was asked:

have you come across any entrepreneur-friendly turnkey upstart-administrartor-as-a-service that does it all (similar to Stripe Atlas, Gust, Clerky (registration, virtual address/mailbox scanning, bank account opening, tax filings, proxy directors, renewals) — or do you still have to cobble together piecemeal clerks and law firms?

There is no turn-key service.

Ownr https://www.ownr.co/ is relatively new, from RBC Ventures. Haven’t used it myself, but looks like it can be done pretty simply.

There are no virtual address / mailbox things in Canada that are usable / price effective. Just searching this again to see if anything changed, and it turns out one of the providers is just up the street from me https://www.esnail.ca/box.html/

You can’t open a bank account anywhere in Canada without being physically present with the major banks. You might be able to open a KOHO https://koho.ca or Tangerine https://tangerine.ca (got started by ING, now owned by Scotiabank).

However, TransferWise https://transferwise.com might fill the gap of not having a Canadian bank account at all for now.

The list of Canadian banks that more directly integrate with TransferWise is probably a good starting point for “innovative” forward looking banks.

My friend Mike runs Sprout Accounting https://sproutaccounting.ca and I use him personally, for all my businesses, and recommend him to startups generally.

I would recommend Xero https://xero.com for your accounting since you’ll need to deal with multi-currency, and just do your own basic book keeping.

Get some setup consulting from Sprout, and then have them do your corporate taxes at year end.

For a consulting oriented corporation (i.e. you’re not a startup who is going to take in outside investors) you really won’t need much for ongoing legal work. As needed, I use Samuel Osei https://soseilaw.com/ for my personal corporation, and he’s been good. For more “startup law”, I have people I can recommend at Osler and LaBarge Weinstein.

A “regular” corporation is going to be the easiest. In Canada, BC doesn’t have a residency requirement for Directors. We’re the closest to the “Delaware” of Canada. There are no LLC-like structures in Canada.