The small business industry currently accounts for about 30% of Gross Domestic Product in Canada – a proportion that is continuously growing. Small businesses also account for over two-thirds of employment in five large Canadian industries. 


Small businesses are all around us — whether it’s a retailer, service provider or vendor. Small businesses greatly impact the Canadian economy and are often a large part of the communities they work in. 

What exactly is a “small business”?

Industry Canada’s simple definition of a small business is any firm that has fewer than 100 paid employees. All categories of business are defined as:


  • Small business: 1 to 99 paid employees
  • Medium-sized business: 100 to 499 paid employees
  • Large business: 500 or more paid employees

Micro Businesses

Although there are 1,1141,351 small business employers in Canada, Industry Canada separates small businesses into two categories: micro and small. 


The difference between the two is that micro businesses have between 1 and 4 paid employees whereas small businesses have between 5 and 99. However, micro businesses are a subset of small businesses and are considered part of the same group.   


Micro businesses account for 54.3% of all employer business establishments in Canada and together with small businesses, they account for 97.9% of Canada employer-based businesses! 

How do I create a small business in BC?

Creating a small business can be rewarding, but it does require a significant amount of work. Preparing in advance can save you time and confusion. We’ve broken down the first few steps for you:


  1. Choose a business structure — sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation
  2. Decide on a business name and have it approved by BC Registry Services
  3. Register for GST and/or PST accounts with the CRA
  4. Apply for a business license in your city

For more information on creating a successful small business, take a look at our tips here

Hiring a small business lawyer

To ensure your process runs smoothly, consider working with a small business lawyer, because no matter what type of business you run, at some point you will likely require some legal guidance. 

Three of the most important topics your business lawyer will help you navigate include:

  1. Business structure — the structure of your business (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) can impact tax incentives, how you’re paid and your personal liability, and may require legal guidance. 
  2. Contracts — employee contracts, client and supplier contracts, and commercial lease agreements are recommended to be drafted early and reviewed by a lawyer.
  3. Intellectual property — copyrights, trademarks and other intangible assets may require protection, and a lawyer can help with that.

If you are starting your own business journey, we are here to help. We have locations in Vancouver and Langley to serve you – please contact us today!