Do I need a lawyer to incorporate a business in Ontario? Can I set up a corporation without a lawyer?

Clients with lawyer looking at legal documents answering the question, do i need a lawyer to incorporate in ontario

Disclaimer: This article discusses incorporating a business in Ontario.  It is intended for the purposes of providing information only and is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice and does not purport to be exhaustive.

So you’re growing your business, and it’s time to consider incorporation. (If you’re unsure if it’s time to incorporate, we have an article on the pros and cons of incorporating your business.) 

Now, you’re likely deciding whether or not you need a business lawyer. After all, that is an expense in your business and every dollar counts. The question arises: do I really need a lawyer to incorporate my business? Instead, can I use my accountant or an online service like Ownr?

As with most legal matters, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on various factors unique to your situation and business goals. This article explores some guiding principles and scenarios to help you make an informed decision.

However, we understand that each business is different, and generic advice may not fully address your needs. We encourage you to book a complimentary consultation with our team. By discussing your specific circumstances, we can provide personalized guidance tailored to your business.

What are the drawbacks of incorporating online? 

While online incorporation services are simple to complete, their simplicity can actually be their downfall. They often provide basic, one-size-fits-all solutions, overlooking the nuanced intricacies of your business objectives.

Without a nuanced, strategic look at your business and future goals, your company may struggle to adapt and thrive in an evolving landscape. This can limit your future growth and long-term success. 

As with many of our clients, your business will change over time. As it evolves, you’ll likely encounter situations requiring adjustments to your initial incorporation documents. These changes could include updating shareholder agreements or modifying corporate structures. In such cases, you’ll need legal advice to make these amendments correctly. Therefore, while online incorporating services offer convenience, they may not provide the comprehensive support required to navigate the complexities of business growth and legal compliance over time.

When do I need a lawyer to incorporate a business in Ontario?  

Complexity and Growth

Incorporating with a lawyer becomes essential when anticipating business growth or encountering complexity in the business structure. As your business expands, you may require different classes of shareholders or undergo corporate restructuring to maximize tax benefits and accommodate evolving needs.

Strategic Planning:
Lawyers provide invaluable strategic planning that online services lack. They delve into your long-term business goals, ensuring that your incorporation aligns with your aspirations. By asking critical questions about your business’s trajectory, they help tailor the incorporation process to your specific needs and objectives.

Coordination with Accountant
Accountants often recommend incorporation to optimize tax planning. Involving a business lawyer allows for seamless coordination between legal and financial strategies, making sure you get the most out of your incorporation.

When might you not need a lawyer for your incorporation? 

It’s not to say that every single incorporation requires that you hire a lawyer; nor is it a legal requirement under the Business Corporations Act. There are a few instances where you wouldn’t need to speak to a lawyer or law firm specializing in corporate law. 

For some new businesses that are simple and have no plans for growth, you may be able to get away with legal services provided by an online provider (such as Ownr). In other instances, experienced entrepreneurs may have a history of successful business ventures. They may have already worked with a business law firm and are well-versed in the incorporation process. They may not require the personalized assistance of a lawyer for each specific business venture. 

How will a business lawyer help you after you’ve filed your articles of incorporation? 

Think of a business lawyer as a trusted ally, not just during the initial incorporation phase but throughout your business journey. They’re there to help with all your legal needs, from drafting contracts to ensuring compliance and even guiding you through expansion plans. Plus, they’ll make sure your minute book is always up to date, keeping all your critical corporate documents in order.

As your business grows and evolves, you’ll encounter many legal situations. That’s where your lawyer steps in, offering expert advice on everything from business operations to contract negotiations. Whether you’re sealing deals or resolving disputes, their legal expertise ensures you’re always on the right track. With their help, you can navigate the complexities of business and contracts with confidence.

More Resources for Ontario Business Owners 

At Beeksma Law, we have prepared several blogs designed to help business owners. Perhaps you are deciding between a sole proprietorship and a federal or provincial corporation. You might need answers to common questions, like how to register my business name. Or you may be wondering what resolutions and other legal documents you need to keep in your minute book. If so, please look at our previous blog articles for more information.  

Beeksma Law:  Strategic legal advice for small business owners 

In conclusion, when considering whether you need a lawyer to incorporate your business in Ontario, it’s essential to weigh the benefits of legal assistance against the potential drawbacks of going it alone. While it may be possible to incorporate a business without a lawyer, especially for simple structures or experienced entrepreneurs, Ontario’s business regulations and the advantages of strategic planning underscore the value of hiring a law firm specializing in business law.

A lawyer specializing in business law can provide invaluable guidance throughout the incorporation process, ensuring compliance with the Ontario Business Corporations Act and other regulatory requirements. From drafting resolutions to navigating legal considerations such as tax planning and shareholder agreements, a lawyer can offer expert advice tailored to your business needs.

To explore how Beekma Law can assist you in incorporating your business in Ontario and provide ongoing legal support, we invite you to book a call with our team. Our experienced lawyers are here to help you establish the proper legal structure and entity for your business, providing peace of mind and strategic legal guidance every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to contact us for personalized assistance with your business incorporation needs.

Leave a Reply