Evoking emotion and influencing action through clear, clever content

Transitionistas Unite to Support Each Other Through Change

If you didn’t attend the most recent Avanti Women gathering, Women in Transition, you missed out on one heck of an empowering, knowledge-packed evening.

Chill, though: I rounded up my key takeaways for women going through transitional career periods—hence the term ‘transitionista’—from each leading lady to share with you, my enterprising readers.

Siobhan Brown, the keynote speaker, hosted a lively presentation entitled ‘Myths and Monkeys of Tough Transition’. She reminded the ladies that they can’t expect their transitions to happen overnight. “When you look at somebody else’s life and think, ‘I want to be where they are’, know that there were probably many sacrifices that had to be made to get to where they are,” she explained. “Oftentimes, they’ve been working towards their goals for 10, 15, or 20+ years, while you’re just starting off from ground zero and comparing yourself to them—that’s not a fair comparison.”

Alosha Paranavithana gave advice to help young adults transition smoothly into the workforce in her Goddess Lean-In Circle, ‘Backpack to Briefcase’. Her key piece of advice for our women’s group centred on setting goals, yet being flexible with the prospects.”Do you know what you want? That’s a big question,” she said to the crowd. “You need to know the answers to those sorts of questions but not have the expectation that things will go exactly the way you planned them because there will be obstacles and challenges down the road.”

In the Goddess Lean-In Circle ‘Immigrant Story to Success’, Maha ElHindawy shared her experiences and insights on selling international work experience to the Canadian job market. “Study when you get to Canada, and I don’t mean necessarily going back to school—study the society, study the community and scan the field that you’re getting into,” she advised. “Be resilient because you will get a ton of ‘nos’ before you get a ‘yes’.”

Lisa Mitchell talked our women’s group through the experience of moving through fear and uncertainty to pursue their true professional passions in her talk,’Discover Career Possibilities’. She told her Lean-In Circle attendees to stay focused on the potential positive outcomes of their career transition, rather than psyching themselves out by the possibility of failure. “When we’re considering a transition, we’re wired to start our thought process with, ‘what if it’s just a disaster?'” she said. “Flip it! Start by asking yourself, ‘what if it all works out?'”

In Lissette Edward Copperi’s Goddess Circle on ‘Branding’, she stressed the importance of being mindful of what you publish on social media. “Every single posting you make really shapes people’s perceptions of you, one way or the other,” she warned. “And now more than ever, it is common practice for employers to check out candidates on social media first to weed out the people who are not a good fit.”

Kate Hodgson taught women how to shape their professional stories in a way that engages potential clients and future employers in her ‘Storytelling’ Lean-In. “When you’re telling your story in a professional sense, the end should always demonstrate the lessons that you learned,” she shared. “How do you reflect back on your experience? What are the things you don’t do any more?” she posed to the group. “What lessons came out of the entire experience that you now absorb as a part of who you are and can offer to somebody else.”

In the Goddess Lean-In Circle, ‘Advancing your career’, Teresa Gabriele spoke to our women’s group about the importance of knowing themselves thoroughly and using that information to enhance their job searches. She stressed the importance of being authentic and consistent in way you present yourself. “Make sure any employer that’s going to be creeping on you—and I’m sure they will—is going to see the same story that you’re selling on your resume, in your interview, or at an informal meeting at a coffee shop,” she advised. “It’s amazing how many people you will meet just randomly that will check your LinkedIn profile, so have the right communication theme about who you are and what you bring to the table.”

Your Turn to Share

Did you find these transitionista tips useful? If so, be sure to leave a comment below and share socially with your friends and colleagues!

***

This post originally appeared on the  Avanti Women blog. Avanti Women empowers women to develop themselves professionally and personally so they can move forward in their careers and lives. As a volunteer on the communications committee, I contribute content of relevance to the membership monthly.

~Write-or-die girl

 

The Avanti Woman’s Guide to Dating in the Digital Age

Laura Bilotta

With all the digital resources available to help us meet smart, funny, cute and compatible mates, many women find themselves feeling disconnected in today’s hyper-connected society.

Laura Bilotta, founder of Single in the City and one of the GTA’s top matchmakers and dating coaches, attributes this lack of love luster to what she calls the “paradox of choice.”

Why should I limit myself to dating one man when I can date 10? Why settle for the first man who I connect with when I have access to so many?

So What Gives?  

“We’re bombarded by dating apps, online dating sites and social media,” she says. “When we have so much choice, we’re almost reluctant to make a choice because we’re afraid to make the wrong choice.”

The dating game can also be downright dubious. “There are plenty of people on dating sites that are just out there to waste your time,” Bilotta explains. “They’re bored at home on a Friday night, and they want to see how many people they can talk to and what kinds of reactions they get.”

Oftentimes, though, we’re too weary from bad past experiences or unaware of the impressions we’re making that we sabotage ourselves. For example, Bilotta recently helped a young lady understand why her online dating profile wasn’t generating more interest from the opposite sex.

“First of all, she led with the tagline, ‘No games. No bullsh*t.’, and her entire bio read like, ‘This is what I want, and this is what I don’t want,” Bilotta recalls. “Most guys who read that will think, ‘Whoa, this girl’s jaded. Too much drama—I’m outta here.’”

Learning to Spot the Spotty Profiles

With 15 years of industry experience, Bilotta has helped 1000s of people overcome their dating shortcomings. This Valentine’s Day, Avanti Women shares Bilotta’s top tips on navigating the murky waters of the web dating pool.

  • Don’t wait to be approached online. “A lot of women still have that old school mentality about waiting for men to make the first move,” she says, “but great guys don’t stay single for long, especially as you get older.”
  • When sending your introductory message, mention something you read in his profile. “So often, people send messages that are empty, like simply ‘Hi’,” she explains. “Remarking on information that is shared helps to break the ice and is more conversational.”
  • Avoid people with incomplete bios. “Partial bios usually indicate that a person is not serious about meeting someone,” she says. “They may also be new to online dating or just testing the waters, in which case it’s best to let them test the waters elsewhere.”
  • Don’t choose someone based on a picture. “Some people just don’t photograph well,” she shares. “I’ve met several people throughout my career that may not have had the best profile pictures but looked great in person.”
  • Stay away from profiles with only one or no photo.  “And if they refuse to send you any photos, chances are they might be a scammer or not who they say they are,” she advises.
  • Avoid anyone who brings up sex right away. “It’s clear that’s what they’re looking for,” she warns.
  • Limit your messages to two or three before suggesting to meet. “You’re just wasting your time sending messages back and forth for weeks,” she says. “Get on it, if you’re serious about meeting someone.”
  • Move on from someone who refuses to meet in a timely fashion, keeps cancelling plans, or doesn’t keep his word—for example, “he says he’ll call or text you but doesn’t,” she illustrates. “Don’t waste time with people who are just wasting your time.”

Courting Counsel

“If you understand the red flags, online dating won’t be as exhausting,” Bilotta reassures.

Stay in the know on the evolution of dating, sex, love, relationships and everything in between by tuning in to Bilotta’s Dating & Relationship Radio Show on Sundays at 9 p.m. on AM640 and checking out her book, Single in the City: From Hookups to Heartbreaks to Love & Lifemates, Tales & Tips to Attract Your Perfect Match.

This post originally appeared in the February 14 Avanti Women blog. Avanti Women empowers women to develop themselves professionally and personally so they can move forward in their careers and lives. As a volunteer on the communications committee, I contribute content of relevance to the membership monthly.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 😉

~Write-or-die girl

 

Discover a Colourful History

Daniel Rotsztain

Toronto’s vibrant history is characterized by its historic buildings. As part of the City’s TO Canada with Love celebrations, Toronto’s iconic historic sites have been captured in the pages of a beautifully rendered colouring book.

The initiative was inspired by artist and cartographer Daniel Rotsztain, a self-proclaimed “urban nerd” but fondly known by the public as The Urban Geographer.

Rotsztain previously drew all 100 branches of the Toronto Public Library in a colouring book project he describes as a “love letter to the library system.”

Although his library sketches began as a personal project three years ago, they proved so popular that fans pushed him to produce a trendy adult colouring book. Drawing Toronto’s historic sites seemed like a natural next step.

“I have always been interested in historical spaces; they may be old, but they’re very much alive,” he explains.

Rotsztain’s mission was no small feat. From July to early September of last year, he biked across the city and sketched all 95 buildings that comprise Toronto’s historic sites.

“I was intent on cycling to each site so I could explore the lesser-known boroughs that make up our picturesque city.”

Rotsztain also hopes to teach Torontonians with his colouring book.

“As I conducted research on the project, it was very important to me to delve deeper into the sites’ histories and tell the diverse stories associated with the site, not just the ones about the men whose names are in the history books and enshrined on street signs and park benches,” he explained.

Visit the gift shops of the Toronto History Museums to pick up your
copy of A Colourful History Toronto, a fabulous Christmas gift for the cultured and creative individuals on your Christmas shopping list.

This article originally appeared in the City of Toronto’s fall/winter 2017 edition of Toronto History Museums magazine.

How one family caregiver used grief to reinvent self & help society

In her mid 40s, Mary Bart became the primary caregiver for her mother, with Alzheimer’s, and father, with cancer. For 10 years, often seven days a week, Mary drove 40 minutes south to her parents’ home where she did “all the things that daughters do,” she explained.

A day in the life of Mary included taking her folks to medical appointments, cleaning the house, doing laundry, keeping the home stocked and meds on track, and generally ensuring her mom and dad were as clean, healthy, safe and comfortable as she could.

“Sometimes I’d take a day off, usually a Sunday,” she said. “And when I did, my dad would be very upset, and all kinds of guilt would be thrown my way.”

Needless to say, maintaining full-time employment while fulfilling her caregiving obligations was not an option for Mary. She left her corporate gig in the technology field to focus on caring for her parents.

A woman’s job

Caregiving has been described as one of the world’s most challenging jobs. Yet, many are thrown into it with little warning and no training, on top of demanding 9-to-5s.

Women bear the brunt of this burden, as two-thirds of all caregivers are female, many of whom feel that they sometimes have to choose between being a good employee and being a good daughter.

It is estimated that, every year, Canada loses the equivalent of nearly 558,000 full-time employees from the workforce due to the inability to manage the conflicting demands of paid work and care.

Mary’s alternative

Many days, Mary felt honoured to care for her parents, as they once had for her. But other days, she nearly went out of her mind. She also dealt with a common caregiver issue: guilt.

“Early into my caregiving journey, I freed myself from any guilt,” she explained. “Today, I miss them dearly, but I have no guilt; I can clearly separate grief from guilt, two very different things. I did the best I could, based on my energy and resources.”

About a year before her mother passed, Mary knew her mom’s path would soon end. In her 50s, and out of the workforce for a decade, she decided to reinvent herself to find ways to add purpose to her life.

“I had no desire to go back to the corporate world,” she said. “I thought, ‘there must be other caregivers out there who are experiencing what I have.’”

Caregiving Matters

Like any purposeful pioneer, Mary identified a need in the current market and sought to fill it with her expertise. In 2008, coupling her 18-year professional technology background with a recent decade of personal, hands-on caregiving experience, she founded Caregiving Matters, an internet-based registered Canadian charity offering education and support to family caregivers.

Ninety per cent of the charity’s efforts are driven through its website, which features full-length articles on relevant topics, blog posts, video workshops, podcasts with industry experts, and more.

“We leverage technology in everything we do to ensure a greater reach and sustainability,” Mary explained. “Users from more than 64 countries visit our site.”

The other 10 per cent of the charity’s resources are focused on live educational events in the GTA and surrounding regions.

“We tend to deal with tougher topics and ones that don’t get a lot of attention, like financial and legal issues among families,” said Mary. “We are honoured to work with lawyers and accountants who volunteer their time to share their knowledge.”

Caregiving Credibility

Eleanor Silverberg, owner and director of Jade Self Development Coaching, has been a grief specialist helping family caregivers cope for nearly 20 years, 10 years as a social worker for the Alzheimer Society of York Region.

She, too, was the primary caregiver for her mother and father, while raising teenagers—a circumstance she refers to as being a part of the “sandwich generation.”

An author and a recurring guest speaker on Caregiving Matters podcasts, blogs, and at live events, Eleanor finds the Caregiving Matters platform beneficial to industry professionals, in addition to caregivers in need of assistance.

“I just referred a podcast to my support group last week because we were talking about financial and estate matters,” Eleanor explained.  “It’s great that there’s a resource where I can send people to get answers on issues like that.”

Care for the Caregivers

Canada’s aging population is growing and fuelling caregiving needs across the country. By 2030, seniors are projected to account for close to one in four people.

Mary’s long-term goal is to raise awareness about Caregiving Matters and build upon its pool of resources to meet the growing demand for family caregiving support.

As Mary explained, “it’s a grassroots effort based on love and giving back, and it reaches a lot of people at a challenging time in their lives when they really need it.”

If you or someone you know is providing primary support to a family member, spouse, or loved one, visit the website and join the social communities:

I am a volunteer for Caregiving Matters. If you’d like to get involved, view volunteer opportunities.

~Write-or-die girl

The Market Gallery: Where Toronto’s Art, History & Culture Intersect

Nestled on the second floor of St. Lawrence Market, overlooking bustling crowds of shoppers, is The Market Gallery. This multi-purpose space occupies what was once Toronto’s original 1845 council chamber. Part of a network of municipal museums, The Market Gallery is a treasure trove of artworks collected by the City since the late 19th century.

“We have records that go back that far, starting from about 1855,” explained Neil Brochu, supervisor of Collections and Outreach at The Market Gallery.

“When anyone requests artwork from us, either for publication in a catalogue, to display in a civic building or office, or to borrow for another exhibition, we can easily pull those files and usually provide quite a deep historical record related to each piece.”

The gallery debuted its collection of more than 2700 works in 1979 to demonstrate Toronto’s rich artistic history. A large portion of the collection is comprised of official portraits of mayors and public officials. Also featured are landscapes, streetscapes, and works that capture the spirit of the city.

“Our mandate has always focused on collecting works about Toronto,” said Brochu. “Most of the artists are from Toronto and, by and large, the vast majority of pieces depict historical figures or places which document the changes in our city over time.”

The top floor of the gallery is devoted to administration and storage, including a work room where the team frames and mats pieces for display, and a purpose-built vault which houses pieces too large or valuable to display in municipal buildings. Also onsite is The Market Kitchen, a special-programming venue.

Currently on display at The Market Gallery until late November is Maple Leaf Forever: Toronto’s Take on a National Symbol. It features classic sportswear and Toronto memorabilia, military objects, items crafted for British royalty, and much more. It is presented as part of the City of Toronto’s TO Canada with Love program, marking Canada 150, and is funded in part by the Province of Ontario.

For new exhibits, tours, and special events, check toronto.ca/marketgallery for updates.

This article originally appeared in the City of Toronto’s fall/winter 2017 edition of Toronto History Museums magazine.

Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats

Canada has a unique flavour that differentiates it from all other nations. In Toronto, this essence is best exemplified by the diverse cuisines and unique culinary experiences that have become synonymous with its culture.

As part of the TO Canada with Love program, marking Canada 150, the City of Toronto will host Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats, a participatory celebration of Canadian food culture.

All Canadians are invited to share their most appetizing recipes, interesting culinary and dining traditions, and unique feasting experiences on the City’s dedicated blog, torontoeats150.tumblr.com.

Participants can also submit their recipes in person at any of Toronto’s History Museums, before or after discovering some of the incredible stories and stunning artifacts that illustrate the city’s history.

In addition to having their recipes memorialized on the blog, some lucky participants will have their entries published in an electronic cookbook, making Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats the perfect opportunity to share and preserve those special family recipes for generations to come.

As the icing on the cake, the City of Toronto is offering all Canadians the opportunity to taste the country’s rich heritage food for free. On the weekend of November 4 and 5, drop by any participating museum site to enjoy samples of recipes from the blog, live cooking demonstrations, and presentations. Each site will feature a different theme inspired by the museum’s historical time period and surrounding communities.

Keep an eye on the Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats blog for recipe submissions, information about downloading the e-cookbook, and the November food-themed weekend event.

Until then, bon appetit!

A version of this article originally appeared in the City of Toronto’s fall/winter 2017 edition of Toronto History Museums magazine.

Squash Unforeseen Co-Owner Contentions with a Shareholders’ Agreement

Alex Koch

This week on Write-or-Die Girl, lawyer Alex Koch schools small business owners on preventing future shareholder squabbles by firming up company terms in writing.

All individuals starting a business set out with best intentions. However, most businesses go through both good and bad times, as circumstances change along the way.

When a company is owned by more than one person, preparing a shareholders’ agreement can help business owners ensure a smoother resolution to any issues and reduce the impact of these issues on their business.

The best time to set a road map for how to deal with disputes is at the earliest possible time — when the co-founders are on the same page.

How do I know if I need an agreement?

A shareholders’ agreement isn’t simply an issue to be considered by a company with co-founders. In certain circumstances, even solo business owners should consider having a shareholders’ agreement (or a shareholder’s declaration) prepared—for example, when a business owner is preparing for future expansions or is trying to provide clarity on what happens should the solopreneur pass on or become permanently disabled.

There is no legal requirement for any company to have a shareholders’ agreement; however, it is in the best interests of the shareholders, as well as the business itself, to have one in place.

Shareholders’ agreements typically cover the following areas:

  • Company decision-making
  • How disputes are to be handled
  • How additional individuals can become shareholders
  • How existing shareholders can exit the company and transfer their shares
  • How dividends are paid by the company
  • What happens when existing shareholders pass on, become permanently disabled, are bankrupt, or go through a divorce proceeding

The cost of preparing a shareholders’ agreement will be insignificant if it helps prevent or diminish a future dispute. There is no such thing as a “model” shareholders’ agreement, as these documents are flexible and allow shareholders to negotiate their rights and obligations.

Contact Insight Legal if you’d like to learn more about shareholders’ agreements and whether your company needs one.

Alex will be at the CNE’s Innovation Garage this weekend, August 18-20, ready to answer questions about the legal aspects of your small business. Drop by, and be sure to tell her Write-or-die girl sent you. 😉

The Change Leadership Conference: Responding to Change Better & Faster

A diverse group industry leaders recently flocked to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to hear two of this planet’s most in-demand speakers on leadership and innovation—John C. Maxwell and Jeremy Gutsche—as well as some of Canada’s foremost change agents, discuss leading change successfully in today’s business environment.

“Without change, we remain stagnant, expose our organizations to financial losses, and lose our relevance in the marketplace,” explained the event’s host Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, CEO at OliveBlue Incorporated, which presented The Change Leadership series.

“Change is dynamic and unending, and now it’s happening at such a fast pace.”

Key learnings

Seven speakers and panellists took to the stage to share their experiences and insights on change leadership. Here is a roundup of some of the most impactful thoughts that were presented.

“Your company culture has to demonstrate that you earn leadership because you’re the best, not because you’ve been there the longest; if your culture protects that kind of environment, nothing is going to change.”

~John C. Maxwell, global leadership expert, speaker, author

“Forty-four per cent of Canadian companies said they had courage, but only 11 per cent of companies in Canada actually had courage (statistics cited from Deloitte’s 2016 report The Future Belongs to the Bold)… They need for us to step up as leaders.”

~Paul Alofs, president and CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

“I think diversity is one of the most important issues in terms of innovation and creative thinking. There’s an old saying that, if you and I think alike, then one of us is redundant.”

~Jeremy Gutsche, disruptive innovation expert, speaker, author

“There are things like agile fatigue. Some people thrive on being agile, and others hit the wall. As leaders, we have to be aware of that, and figure out what we have to do to get those employees ready.”

~Gail A. Serverini, divisional vice president, Change Management, Holt Renfrew

“Relevance is not just about having a customer focus but also an employee and community focus…  At RBC, we have a very healthy paranoia about being and staying relevant.”

~Laura Fisher, vice president, Human Resources Shared Services, RBC

Intrapreneurship applies the same tenets of entrepreneurship: ask why, and mobilize people around a vision.”

~Dr. Steven Murphy, dean, Ted Rogers School of Management

“We rally employees behind the vision of us being a tech company that offers banking services.”

~Helen Wang, vice president, IT Lean Program, Scotiabank

Go forth and lead change

Despite the fancy titles of some of the presenters, the most important message conveyed at the event was probably that a person needn’t be a vice president, CEO, or business owner to lead.

“Anyone can learn to lead,” Maxwell told the audience.  My favourite quote is ‘one man with courage is a majority.’”

This post originally appeared in the August 1 Avanti Women blog and e-newsletter. Avanti Women empowers women to develop themselves professionally and personally so they can move forward in their careers. As a volunteer on the communications committee, I contribute content of relevance to the membership monthly.

~Write-or-die girl

Working your website hacks

Opal Gamble

Are you fascinated by HTML? Would you like to deepen your understanding of website coding?

Me neither. I just want my website to generate some business every now and then, and not crash in the process.

I met Opal Gamble, website whiz and all-around-amazing human being, last year when I started volunteering for Caregiving Matters, an online charity. She developed and maintains the charity’s comprehensive website, and subsequently walked me through the site’s back-end interface so I could contribute to the charity’s internet marketing strategy.

Around that time, I was also building this website and in desperate need of a little guidance. I figured as lady with such a generous heart, Opal wouldn’t mind sharing a little free advice on basic website upkeep and lead optimization—and I pegged her perfectly!  Here’s a handy cheat sheet of the knowledge she dropped on me.

  • If your website comes equipped with a content management system, perform all the updates –including ones for the program and plug-ins—when prompted. “This might sound pretty obvious, but many people ignore these messages for weeks or longer,” says Opal. “The programmers roll out these security updates constantly because they’ve found vulnerabilities in their programs that they’ve patched. If you don’t do your updates, you’re a sitting duck for security problems.”
  • Make sure each page on your website has at least 300 words. “This is the word count at which Google’s search engines start taking you seriously,” she explains. For vloggers, her suggestion is to transcribe their videos so they achieve the 300-word minimum. “As someone who is not a huge fan of video, I think it’s also a great idea to give your audiences options. Don’t hold us hostage to your videos.”
  • Your website should be constantly changing. “The advantage of a website is that it’s nimble,” Opal points out. “If your website is stagnant, search engines have no reason to come back.” Blogging regularly, updating your portfolio, and adding new services are all great ways to keep your website evolving, she adds.
  • Your website must be mobile friendly. “That’s non-negotiable,” Opal warns. “For most people, more than 50 per cent of their website traffic comes from mobile devices, so you’re just throwing away business if your site is not loading properly on a cell phone or tablet.” The simple housekeeping rule is to check your website on multiple devices periodically, especially after doing the updates mentioned in tip number one, she adds.
  • Target your website content at your top 10 per cent of clients that generate the most business. “This is probably the best website advice I’ve ever heard,” she shares. “If you focus on those people and generating more business like theirs, logically you’ll increase your income and continue to grow your business.”

Opal Gamble is the front-end web developer and project manager at Design & Develop. Connect with her through her website.

~Write-or-Die Girl

The savvy entrepreneur’s step-by-step guide to starting a business in Ontario

Alex Koch

I sure wish I had known Alex Koch, founder and principal at Insight Legal, when I decided to pursue my passion as a full-time profession. Don’t get me wrong: entrepreneurship has its perks. But the legalities involved are pretty prosaic, for a right-brained creative like me. In this week’s Write-or-Die Girl column, Alex breaks down business-starting steps into bite-sized, digestible morsels.

The Province of Ontario presents entrepreneurs with many opportunities to start businesses, firstly as a host to a significant portion of the Canadian population, and secondly as a province offering its residents some of the country’s highest incomes. For this reason, many entrepreneurs are seeking to commence their business ventures in Ontario; however, it is not always abundantly clear where these entrepreneurs should start and how they should proceed.

To help guide these entrepreneurs, I have compiled a list of steps involved in starting a business in Ontario.

STEP 1 – SELECT YOUR BUSINESS STRUCTURE

Prior to starting any sort of business operation, entrepreneurs must choose the appropriate business structure for their business. If entrepreneurs are seeking to start a business on their own, they will consider operating as a sole proprietorship or a corporation. Alternatively, for entrepreneurs seeking to start a business venture with one or more co-founders, they will consider operating as a partnership or corporation. You can click here for a discussion on how to choose the appropriate structure for your business. Each structure will carry with it different registration and legal compliance requirements, making it one of the most important steps in starting a business.

STEP 2 – CHOOSE YOUR BUSINESS NAME

Choosing your business name carries with it two aspects. On the one hand, businesses want to choose a name that suits their business and can attract customers. On the other hand, business names must meet the criteria of certain legal requirements.

Sole Proprietorship/General Partnership

Depending on the name chosen for a sole proprietorship or a partnership, business owners may have to register their business name with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. To operate a sole proprietorship or a partnership using only the name(s) of the founder(s), the business name does not need to be registered and the entrepreneurs are free to commence their business operation. For instance, if your name is John Galt, you can operate a sole proprietorship called “John Galt” without registering the business name. Likewise, if two founders are seeking to start a partnership and their names are John Galt and Bunbury Smith, they can operate a business using their names only without registration. If however, business owners are seeking to make additions to their business name, for example “John Galt & Sons,” the business name must be registered.

There are certain prohibitions relating to business name registration, for instance, the words “Limited, Incorporated, Inc., etc.” cannot be used since they imply that the business is incorporated. Likewise, neither a sole proprietorship nor a partnership name may imply an association with a government entity. If companies do not comply with these registration requirements, they may be fined.

Corporation

All corporations in Ontario must have a name. Companies are able to choose between two types of corporate names: (1) a numbered name automatically chosen during the incorporation process; and (2) a chosen name. If an entrepreneur is choosing his/her corporate name, the name must comply with certain standards. Specifically, the name must be distinctive and it must not be misleading or likely to be confused with names used by other organizations and businesses. Further, the name must end with a word indicating that the business is incorporated such as, Inc., Ltd., Incorporated, Limited, etc.

STEP 3 – CONDUCT A NAME SEARCH

Sole Proprietorship/Partnership

Registering a sole proprietorship or partnership name with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services does not guarantee exclusivity of the name, meaning that businesses with identical names can be registered. Using a name that is the same as another business or is confusingly similar to another business name could result in a lawsuit from an existing company using that name. For this reason, it is prudent for business owners to conduct a name search prior to registration to determine whether a chosen name is already in use by another company.

Corporation

Companies that chose a corporate name (and not a numbered name), must obtain a NUANS (New Upgraded Automated Name Search) report that is not older than 90 days on the date of registration. A NUANS report lists names of companies using the same or similar name to the chosen corporate name. Unlike with sole proprietorships or partnerships, corporations are not permitted to register identical names to another business unless a company can provide satisfactory evidence that the two businesses will not be confused by consumers.

STEP 4 – REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS

Once an entrepreneur has selected the business name and conducted a name search, the business is ready for registration.

Sole Proprietorship/Partnership

To register a name with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the entrepreneur must provide the Ministry with: (1) the name and address of the business; (2) a description of the business activity; and (3) the entrepreneur’s name and home address. If a partnership is being registered, the names and homes addresses of the partners must also be included. There are many options for registering a business name; the registration process can be completed online, in-person or by mail. Once a name is registered, the business will receive its Master Business License which acts as proof of business name registration and the entrepreneur may commence its business operations.

Corporation

To register a corporation, entrepreneurs can submit their application for incorporation to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The application must include: (1) the company’s Articles of Incorporation which outline the name and nature of the business, the directors of the corporation, the share structure, etc.; (2) a covering letter that outlines the name and contact information for the corporation; and (3) the NUANS report pertaining to the corporate name. Companies that submitted their application for incorporation in Ontario are only provided with name exclusivity in the province meaning that businesses with identical names can incorporate in other provinces. If this poses an issue, the entrepreneur should consider a federal incorporation.

It is possible for corporations to incorporate with one name and to operate their business under another name. If that is the case, the corporation must register its name with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services in the same manner as a sole proprietorship or a partnership registers its name.

STEP 5 – APPLY FOR LICENCES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Once a business is registered, the business must now register for whatever other licences, registrations, or certifications required to legally operate a business in a particular industry. Depending on the nature of its business, a company may need a business licence to operate. Likewise, a company may need Workers’ Compensation Insurance or to collect HST. In general, if a company provides taxable goods or services and earns over $30,000 per year, the company must register for an HST number with the Canada Revenue Agency and remit the HST it collects to the government.

STEP 6 – RENEW YOUR BUSINESS REGISTRATION

Once a business is operational, there are various ongoing requirements with respect to registration. For instance, sole proprietorships and partnerships must renew their business name every five years. On the other hand, corporations must make annual filings with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

If you have a business idea but are unsure about how to turn your idea into reality, contact Alex Koch at Insight Legal.

Page 0 of 3

Trish@WriteReaction.ca

416-721-4101

Prices are in Canadian dollars, international friends!