Doing Business in Canada

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This Guide provides non-Canadians with an introduction to the laws and regulations that affect the conduct of business in Canada and, in particular, in the province of Ontario. In some cases, this Guide also identifies issues in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Because of Canada’s federal structure, the authority to make laws and regulations is divided between the federal and provincial governments by the Canadian Constitution although, in some areas of divided authority, both federal and provincial laws may apply.

For reasons rooted in history, Canada has two legal traditions, the civil law tradition of codified law in the province of Quebec, and the common law tradition of judge-made law in the other provinces of Canada. The province of Quebec, as Canada’s only province whose majority population is French speaking, has also adopted a Charter of the French Language making French the official language of Quebec. Quebec also collects its own income taxes and has shared jurisdiction over immigration to Quebec with the federal government. A more detailed discussion of the laws of the province of Quebec is contained in Blakes Doing Business in Quebec.

The discussion under each heading in this Guide is intended to provide only general guidance and is not an exhaustive description of all provisions of federal, provincial and local law with which a business might be required to comply. Particular businesses or industries may also be subject to specific legal requirements not referred to in this Guide. For this reason, the reader should not rely solely upon this Guide in planning any specific transaction or undertaking, but should seek the advice of qualified counsel. The law is stated as of September 1, 2014.

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