Windsor-Essex County Business Lawyers Advising Clients on Selling Products & Services in Canada
Selling a foreign product or providing an international service in Canada can create exciting business opportunities and boost local economies. However, operating within Canada’s borders requires a comprehensive understanding of provincial and federal business laws and regulatory requirements so as to avoid operational hiccups, legal consequences, and costly financial penalties.
The experienced business lawyers at Willis Business Law help entrepreneurs establish and create business structures to sell products and services in Canada. The firm helps new businesses navigate the complicated landscape of provincial and federal legal, tax, and regulatory considerations to lay the groundwork for a successful business venture.
Considerations for Selling Products & Services in Canada
Identifying a market for a foreign product or service in Canada can lead to innovative new business opportunities. However, multiple regulatory and legal considerations must be considered before embarking on a new venture.
Border Control – Taxes, Customs & Duties
Where a business (or its inventory) is located and where it provides its products or services can have significant impacts on the amount of taxes and duties applicable. Consulting with a qualified business lawyer and financial professional can help identify the best structure possible to minimize unnecessary tax and customs liability.
Environmental & Disposal Considerations
Some products, particularly those containing toxic material, will face strict provincial and federal regulatory requirements regarding their storage and disposal. Understanding the environmental landscape of the target geographical location can help avoid extensive regulatory fines and even criminal charges.
When importing and selling products within Canada, a business should determine whether it will store most of its inventory in the country or its country of origin. Additionally, identifying Canadian-based solutions for repairs, customer support, or accepting returns can help reduce unnecessary costs and complications.
Labelling & Safety Requirements
In Canada, product labels must follow certain guidelines before such products can be sold within the country. In addition to language requirements (i.e. that labels be displayed in both English and French), labels may also address other information for consumers, including:
- Ingredient breakdowns and nutritional information (in metric);
- Chemical composition;
- Compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, such as Health Canada regulations or energy-efficiency laws; or
- Safety cautions, such as hazardous ingredient warnings.
Conducting thorough market research helps businesses identify whether there is a demand for a particular product or service in Canada and, if so, in which provinces or communities such demand exists. Such research helps determine whether there is an underserved market or a gap in the competition that can create a profitable market.
Market research also assists in targeting a particular class of consumers or in determining whether the business should only market to other business who in turn will sell to the consumer.
With many businesses moving some or all of their sales operations online, operators must ensure they comply with provincial internet sales laws. These laws can cover a wide variety of rules and restrictions, including (but not limited to):
- Accessibility in the design of the website and online store;
- Applicable language laws;
- Prohibited terms and conditions that cannot be included on the website or in the company’s consumer agreements;
- Privacy laws and the requirements for the collection, handling, use, and disclosure of consumer information; and
- The remedies or penalties available to consumers if the vendor fails to meet its regulatory requirements under provincial laws and regulations.
Product Tariff Classifications
Product classification can vary significantly between different countries. In Canada, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) sets product tariff classifications and can determine the proper classification before a new business is underway. Depending on the nature of the product, testing by the CBSA may be required (for example, in cases involving pharmaceuticals, food or cosmetics).
Tax Obligations & Trade Agreements
Companies looking to provide goods or services in Canada must be well-versed in their federal and provincial tax obligations. Each Canadian province has its own tax registration system, and the applicable tax rates – including provincial sales tax and goods and services/harmonized sales tax – vary by province.
Having a business lawyer knowledgeable in applicable intercountry tax treaties will ensure the business is mitigating its tax liabilities and minimizing the risk of costly audits and penalties.
Contact Willis Business Law in Windsor-Essex County for Skilled Advice on Selling Products & Services in Canada
The business lawyers at Willis Business Law are dedicated to creating tailored, creative business strategies for start-ups and entrepreneurs looking to move into the Canadian market. The firm has comprehensive knowledge and experience in federal and provincial legal and regulatory requirements for selling products and services in Canada and provides first-rate legal solutions with a multi-faceted approach.
Willis Business Law has built long-lasting relationships with reputable businesses, financial institutions, and public and private organizations throughout Windsor-Essex County. Founded by the only certified corporate and commercial law specialist in Windsor-Essex County, the firm has developed a reputation for integrity and exceptional client service. To schedule a consultation, please contact the firm online or call 519-945-5470.