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4.2 Opening My Business Account
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If I decide to make my own product using my own recipe or formula than I need to go through some additional legal steps to sell my product in Canada. All the legal documents for my product will be my intellectual resources. In this section I will learn about:

  • Branding
  • Patents
  • Labeling



Naming your product is known as branding. It is different from the business name. One can use the same branding name as the business name.

Branding is done through Trademark. Trademarks are words, designs, tastes, textures, moving images, modes of packaging, holograms, sounds, scents or images used to define your product. In Canada, a brand name or trademark is registered for 10 years and will then need to be renewed.


Process of Branding

Step 1

  • Decide on a name for your product
  • Decide on a logo design and text for the label
  • Decide how you will market the product
  • Check the Canadian Database of Trademarks on the government website. This is to check whether the trademark is available and to ensure that there is no similar brand name

Step 2

  • The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) provides the trademark E-filing service
  • Present the business documents to the representative of the City of Calgary for review
  • Prepare and file the following documents for the application: The name and mailing address of the applicant
  • A picture or description, or both for the application
  • Application fee between $150 to $350 (varies case by case). All fees are paid online along with the application
  • Any statement or text that the applicant wishes to use with the design, the text lines for advertising, etc.
  • Consider filing a separate application for each of the trademarks. One application can cover a number of goods or services for a given trademark.



A patent is an intellectual resource for manufacturing businesses of items for direct use by humans or animals. This is legal protection that no one can make, import, or claim of inventing a similar product.

  • Most patents are for a limited period of years (approximately 20 years) 
  • There is an annual fee to keep a patent in Canada
  • Application within one year of publicly disclosing an idea. If the application is not made within the one year period, the investor may lose his/her rights to the patent
  • All patents are valid only in the country they have been applied for. Example: Patents registered in Calgary or from any other Canadian city are valid in Canada only
  • Patents protect an invention. The invention may be a product, apparatus, composition of matter or, a process with a function or purpose
  • Getting a patent is not a compulsory step for the manufacturer but considered safe to avoid any future legal problems.


Process of Getting Patents

Step 1

  • Visit the website Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)
  • I will fill in a free online patent search. The search will tell me whether someone else has already patented or disclosed something similar to my invention. If I will know which related inventions are patented, it will help me to decide the scope of what I may claim as my own and avoids any conflicts.
  • I can also find the city-wise office information for the patent issuing office, for example, the Calgary office is at Alastair Ross Technology Centre Suite 438, 3553 – 31 Street N.W. T2L 2K7 Phone 587-333-639

Step 2

Find the list of registered patent agents in Calgary

  • Obtain an application form
  • Complete the application and requirements such as details on idea, recipe, formula, etc.
  • Submit the application and fee for processing. More detailed information about the Canadian Patent system and its requirements can be found at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) website.

Step 3

Patents are made public 18 months after the application is filed. The purpose of the publication is to share knowledge with the public so that society can benefit from this advance in technology and knowledge.


Getting Labels and Nutritional Facts for Food Items

If I decide to make and pack food items to be sold in the market than I need to have proper labeling of the product on the package. Nutrition labeling was made compulsory in Canada in 2007 for all prepacked food. All prepacked foods must have the following details:

  1. A nutrition fact table 

  2. An ingredient list which includes priority food allergens


Process of Getting Labels

Step 1

  • Finalize your recipe, product, and formula that needs to sell as a packed item
  • Define Packaging – container, bag or in any other form
  • Identify the food nutritional testing and labeling laboratory in your area. I can also ask for support and area-specific information form the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Step 2

  • Write to the concerned lab to test your product for nutritional analysis, possible allergies and useful shelf life. Always select the lab which has the capacity to develop a Nutritional Analysis label according to the FDA labeling laws.
  • Labs ask for the detailed ingredient list along with the quantities used of each of the ingredients, recipes, and places where the product will be manufactured. For certain products, labs recommend sending more detailed information instead of the sample.
  • Labs generally accept the samples in small quantities up to 500 grams. They charge between $500 to $700 for developing the nutritional label for each product.
  • Most of the label providers print pre-barcoded labels.

Step 3

  • Once you receive the labels make sure you have the name of your product
  • You can also request for the printing of the product labels from the nutritional testing and labeling laboratory 
  • Based on useful shelf life information you can either print or stamp the expiry date of the product


Labeling Cosmetics

The labeling of cosmetics is governed by two acts and their associated regulations:

  1. The Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations, and
  2. The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations

The Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations govern the classification and labeling of cosmetic products with regard to the:

  • Expression of the product's identity on its label
  • Name and address of the principal place of business of the manufacturer indicated on the label
  • Listing of ingredients on the label
  • Avoidable hazards presented by the cosmetic
  • The Cosmetic Regulations under the Food and Drugs Act allow a designated Health Canada inspector to inspect:
  • Cosmetic products
  • Locations, where cosmetics are manufactured or stored. The name and address may appear in English, French, or both official languages and
  • Any labeling or advertising material related to a cosmetic product



  • Like food products, labels identify the cosmetic testing lab that follows the regulation requirements
  • Send the detailed ingredient list and sample of the product for a safety test, useful shelf life, and possible allergies
  • Labs will issue the label details according to regulatory requirements.
  • Labs charge between $500 to $800 per product based on the type and complexity of ingredients used in the manufacturing of the product


For Calgary contact 

Calgary Regional Product Safety Office Room 282, Harry Hays Building 220 – 4th Avenue South East   Calgary, Alberta T2G 4X3 

Phone: 403-292-4677

Toll-free: 1-866-662-0666 (Canada and U.S. only. Calls will be routed to the closest regional office.)  

Teletypewriter: 1-800-465-7735 (Service Canada)

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the government agency responsible for handling taxes in Canada. CRA manages tax laws, collects and refunds taxes and provides tax benefits.

Many business need to set up a CRA account

Types of CRA Program AccountsFeatures
  1. Good and Services Tax (GST)
  2. Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)


The rate for HST is different in each province. Alberta has no HST.

  • In Canada, any business selling taxable goods or services must register with CRA for GST and HST
  • Businesses which have annual sales equal or less than $30,000 are not required to register for GST
  • A sole proprietor business does not need to register for GST
  1. Payroll Deductions (RP)


  • Payroll deductions are mandatory for all businesses with one or more employees
  • Register for payroll deductions for all full time and part-time employees
  1. Corporate Income Tax (RC)
  • Corporate taxes are paid by any business registered as a corporation
  1. Import- Export (RM)


  • Businesses engaged in the import and export of goods and services must register an Import-Export account


Importance of CRA accounts

  • The CRA provides a Business Number (BN). The Business Number is the identification required by the Federal and Provincial Government.
  • CRA accounts are mandatory for all businesses that have annual sales of more than $30,000
  • Businesses must register with the CRA within 29 days of sales exceeding the $30,000 annually
  • Businesses can register for CRA accounts voluntarily based on future expected business or staffing. Voluntary registrations must report annually
  • Tax reporting varies from monthly to quarterly and annually. Businesses must report annually if annual sales are less than $1,500,000.
  • Businesses must report to the CRA first if they are charging GST/HST to customers. All tax added sales must have invoices with the company name, date of sales, amount of sales before taxes, tax amount and paid amount after taxes by the customers.
  • Keep all sales invoices safely organized for audits and tax returns
  • Tax collection money must be kept separate from sales money, as this is payable to CRA
  • Businesses registered under the CRA are eligible for certain benefits and support by the government

Call the helpline at 1-800-959-5525 for business-specific information and the process of receiving benefits


Process of Opening CRA Accounts

Step 1

Gather all the required documents to open CRA accounts such as,

  1. Complete and legal name(s) of the business owner/s
  2. SIN number of the owner(s)
  3. Phone number of the owner(s)
  4. Occupational details of the owner(s)
  5. Business name (legal)
  6. Address and postal code of the business
  7. Major business activity details
  8. Specify three products and services that generate revenue
  9. Details on types of employees (full time, part-time, seasonal)
  10. Details on salary payment frequency (daily, weekly, monthly)

Step 2

Fill in the RC1 form for CRA accounts. By submitting the RC1 form I can get:

  • A business number
  • ST/HST program
  • Payroll deduction (RP)
  • Information Return (R2)
  • Import-Export (RM)

The RC1 form is available in the Forms and Fee Section of the tool and may also be downloaded from You may complete the form online or print and deposit the RC1 form at the nearest tax service office or tax center.

For more details and clarification on CRA accounts call 1-800-959-5525, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm


Taxable supplies

  • Sales of new housing
  • Sales and rentals of commercial property
  • Sales and leases of automobiles
  • Car repairs
  • Soft drinks, candies, and potato chips
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Advertising
  • Taxi or commercial ride-sharing services
  • Legal and accounting services
  • Franchises
  • Hotel accomodation
  • Barber and hairstylist services


Non-taxable supplies  

  • Basic groceries such as milk, bread, and vegetables
  • Agricultural products such as grain, raw wool, and dried tobacco leaves
  • Most farm livestock
  • Most fishery products such as fish for human consumption
  • Prescription drugs and drug-dispensing services
  • Certain medical devices such as hearing aids and artificial teeth
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Exports
  • Many transportation services where the origin or destination is outside Canada


Permits and licenses are required to open a business in Calgary. Business Permits are legal permissions to perform certain activities and businesses. In Canada, three government bodies provide permits.

Municipal PermitsProvincial Permits Federal Permits 

The municipal government issues 12 different types of permits for businesses. In Calgary, the City of Calgary is the municipal government

The provincial government of Alberta issues 7 different types of permits for businesses.

The federal government issues 4 different types of permits for businesses. The Government of Canada's government is the main authority with many departments.

  1. Building permit
  2. Charitable organization license
  3. Demolition permit
  4. Development permit
  5. Electric permit
  6. Gas permit
  7. Hoarding permit
  8. Home occupation permit
  9. Mechanical permit (heating, air conditioning)
  10. Ventilation permit
  11. Plumbing permit
  12. Sign permit
  1. Asbestos worker card
  2. Business name registration
  3. Certificate of Inspection (boiler or pressure vessels)
  4. Certificate of operation and construction (elevating devices)
  5. Vehicle registration
  6. Road development application
  7. Sign application
  1. Agreement to implement emoloyment equity
  2. Federal business registration
  3. Federal incorporation of a business
  4. Federal incorporation of a not-for-profit corporation

All businesses must have a Business Name Registration and a Building Permit in Alberta.


Business Licenses

Business licenses legally allow operation of certain trades, which have specific rules called protocols. Some businesses have licenses given or issued by a regulatory organization, not the government.

Businesses that require a Business License to operate in AlbertaOther Licenses and Registrations in Alberta
  1. Auctions
  2. Cemeteries
  3. Charitable fundraisers
  4. Charitable organizations
  5. Collection agencies
  6. Collectors
  7. Cooperatives
  8. Debt repayment agencies
  9. Debt repayment agents
  10. Direct sellers (door to door)
  11. Employment agencies
  12. high-cost credit agencies
  13. Home inspectors
  14. Marketers of gas and/or electric
  15. Payday loan businesses
  16. Prepaid contractors
  17. Retail home sellers
  18. Time-share and poitns sellers
  • All automotive businesses, such as sales, leasing, repair and consignment sales are included in automotive
  • Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council regulates automotive businesses
  • Alberta funeral service regulator board regulates all funeral service businesses
  • All gaming businesses, such as casinos, raffles, bingos, and pull tickets are included in gambling
  • The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission regulates gambling businesses
Real Estate
  • All real estate specialists, such as agents, brokers, mortgage brokers, property managers are included in real estate businesses
  • The Alberta Insurance Council regulates the insurances and real estate businesses


How to get Permits and Licenses?

Step 1

  • Have your business registration certificate
  • Have the address, phone number and email address of the business
  • Have proof of identification (Drivers license, Alberta ID, Passport, PR Card or any other valid picture ID )

Step 2

  • Visit the City of Calgary office, on the 3rd floor of 800 Macleod Tr. SE. Go to the counter area. It is best to book an online appointment with the representative at, or, call 311 for appointments
  • Present the business documents to the representative of the City of Calgary for review
  • The City of Calgary will review the business and inform you of the required permits and licenses
  • Submit forms and fees as advised by the City of Calgary office


  • The City of Calgary will visit the business site for land use approval. This is required for all businesses in Calgary.
  • Home-based businesses must have the Alberta Fire Code Business License. The Calgary Fire Department issues this license. See the Links to Important Websites section