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The 5 Profitable Business Ideas in Canada

The 5 Profitable Business Ideas in Canada

Canada is an ideal place to start a business due to its economic stability, lower corporate taxes, and skilled workforce.

It also provides opportunities for business owners to expand to the foreign market due to its close connection to the U.S – that’s why many people want to start a business in Canada. 

If you’re planning to invest your hard-earned money into a business in Canada, the most profitable ones to start are in transportation services, food service, waste management, storage services, and construction.

Starting a business can be daunting, but in this article, we’ll discuss why these are Canada’s most profitable industries to help you out! Remember that this list is based on our research and not personal recommendations.

Well, no more delays, and let’s dive right in!

1. Transportation Service

Transportation Service's Homepage

The transportation business in Canada is a lucrative industry. Building this type of business means having your own fleet to transport cargo and goods to different cities or provinces, specifically trucks.

According to Statista, the trucking industry generated nearly $39.55 billion from almost $63.7 million in shipments in 2018 alone. It’s such a popular industry to go into that there were 324,200 truck drivers in 2021, an 8% increase from the previous year.

Although the pandemic caused a dip in the trucking industry due to the slow and unpredictable movement of cargo and goods, it has seen a gradual return in 2021. 

Despite that, it remains one of Canada’s most vital industries. In 2021, it made up 3.6% of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP).

Statistics Canada reported that for-hire trucking businesses developed an operating revenue of about $67.8 billion in 2019.

And the province that earned the majority of the revenue is Ontario at $24.4 billion. Meanwhile, Alberta had $11.9 billion, quickly followed by Quebec at $11.8 billion.

Truck transportation is commonly used to transport goods to different provinces, compared to air and rail transportation. In fact, truck drivers will be one of the most in-demand jobs in the country due to the current labour shortage.

Canada’s ageing population means it needs to employ more truck drivers to transport goods all over the country and to neighbouring countries. This also means it’s one of the most popular jobs for immigrants.

2. Food Service

Food Service's Homepage
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It’s no secret that the pandemic damaged many industries all over the world. Despite that, food service remains one of Canada’s most profitable businesses.

The food industry is a flexible business because of its many areas. Different types of food cater to different palates, and some people can start a food business with a small investment.

You can start a food truck business if leasing a space is too pricey because it offers mobility. Plus, it’s becoming popular because it’s a unique take compared to traditional restaurants. 

There’s also a rise in in-person and virtual cooking classes. This is an easy business to go into because you can also record lessons for customers to pay for and view on their own time.

Another option is putting up a stall at weekend markets or festivals. Furthermore, street vendors in Canada continue to rise and will do so in the next several years.

The food service industry offers flexibility and tonnes of choices. As a result, many immigrants start their own restaurants because of the different cultural dishes they can offer Canadians.

Statista reported that the largest part of the food industry is confectionery and snacks, with a US$27.69 billion market volume in 2023. Consequently, there are various dessert and snack businesses in the country.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, food service is the largest manufacturing industry in most of Canada’s regions.

Ontario and Quebec produced the most in 2019, with 62% of total sales combined. British Columbia and Alberta are just behind, with 22% of the sales. 

In the table below is a list of some profitable food business ideas in Canada:

Profitable Food Business Ideas
• Coffee Shop
• Baked Goods
• Custom Cakes
• Cookies and Chocolates
• Pizza
• Food Trucks

3. Waste Management

Waste Management's Homepage
Image by Michael Jin on Unsplash

Who would’ve thought that trash could be profitable?

Waste collection depends on the amount of rubbish from households, businesses, and healthcare services. People purchase many types of goods, resulting in more production from manufacturers due to demand.

The packaging for deliveries alone requires a lot of cardboard and plastic. And since the pandemic, online purchases have seen a huge demand.

For example, purchasing a laptop online will require the original packaging. On top of that, there will be another cardboard box to put the product in, with plastic or foam inserts for protection.

Then, these things will go to the trash, where waste management comes in. They will collect and segregate hazardous and non-hazardous waste for recycling, composting, and proper disposal.

It’s a booming industry that Canada’s 2023 waste services revenue will be $6.8 billion in 2023, according to IBISWorld.

Additionally, the forecast is it will grow to about 2.5% this year. As a matter of fact, waste management has steadily risen from 2017 to 2022, making it a profitable business in the years to come.

4. Storage Services

Storage Services' Homepage
Image by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Storage is a profitable business that doesn’t get the reputation it deserves. In 2021, it had US$51.32 billion in value and is expected to reach up to US$71.37 billion by 2027.

Self-storage, specifically, is a lucrative business. You can build many storage units for rent in a single property and earn a profit.

Many households and businesses use self-storage to store their extra furniture, equipment, and supplies. Many renters need this as well because they don’t have enough space in apartments to store all their belongings.

It’s not a business idea in Canada that one instantly thinks of. But it’s profitable and easy to manage compared to other business sectors.

Moreover, it has a market size of $8 billion. Besides that, it has shown stability even with the pandemic crisis.

Urban development has positively impacted the storage industry. Many Canadians in the city are looking at apartments and condominiums, which have smaller spaces. Hence, the need for self-storage units.

There’s so much demand for it that there’s even a reality show based on storage units – Storage Wars!

5. Construction Business

Construction Business' Homepage
Image by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Building a construction business in Canada can be highly profitable. There’s so much demand for new structures – big or small – that Canadians are continuously looking for contractors.

It can be a demanding and competitive industry, but many provinces have a high demand for contractors. Canada has even included skilled contractors in its in-demand jobs for immigrants.

Provinces like Ontario and Quebec have so much construction going on to repair, modernize, and improve structures. As the years go by, many buildings, houses, roads, and bridges will need to be built, renovated, repaired, or replaced.

As a result of these factors, the demand for construction businesses will continue to grow. In fact, the construction industry brings 7.5% to Canada’s GDP. To give you a better idea, it fetches $141 billion annually.

Business Industry Recommendations for Immigrants

Coming into a new country is not easy. There are many challenges when integrating into the community.

But many immigrants in Canada have been successful in establishing businesses. Some have even been operating for decades!

Here are some business industry recommendations for immigrants who want to have a successful foundation in Canada. But keep in mind that you must still do your research on the business structure, type, and location for better success.

Business Industries for Immigrants

• Construction Industry

• Food Services

• Hospitality Services

• Retail / Grocery Services

• Agriculture Industry

• Professional Services

• Transportation Industry

Requirements When Starting a Business in Canada

Requirements When Starting a Business in Canada
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Starting a business can be an intimidating task. There are many requirements and paperwork that you need to think about.

When building a business in Canada, there are certain steps you need to take. To guide you, we’ve made a list to keep it simple and concise.

1. Plan and choose your business structure.

The type of business will dictate your tax obligations. It’s important that you know ahead if you want to build a small or large business. So, you need to choose your business structure.

Business StructureProsCons
Sole ProprietorshipInexpensive to establishEasy tax obligationsSole decision makerOwner is solely responsible for all business liabilitiesDifficulty in getting funding from investors
PartnershipOwner can be more than one personShared labour between the ownersInexpensive to establishDisagreements between partnersPartners are responsible for losses and liabilitiesFuture selling difficulty
CorporationProvides protection from legal liabilityProvides protection to shareholdersEasier to attract investorsExpensive to establishTakes a lot of time to buildHas continuous costs for accounting and legal feesHas strict regulations

2. Register Your Business Name and Business.

It may look easy to choose a business name, but it’s probably one of the most challenging aspects when starting a business. This is also difficult to do in a big country like Canada.

A business name needs to be recognizable to customers, while representing your business. It can’t be the same as other companies, or even similar, especially as other corporations.

Remember that there are legal ramifications if your business name is too similar to other companies. In contrast, sole proprietors will only need to use their legal names. 

Once you register your business name, you also need to register your business. You must know where your main office location will be and if you plan on doing business in other provinces or territories.

Federal business registration will generally take a couple of days. Meanwhile, provincial business registration will sometimes take up to 35 days, depending on the province.

It’s important to note that there are fees when registering a business, depending on the business structure. Some will take only $80, while some can take $300.

The Government of Canada provides access support for business registration by region, which you can access here.

Another factor to know is that corporations will need to make a company bank account. Meanwhile, sole proprietors don’t need to create a different business bank account (but it’s good practice to have one). 

3. Apply for Business Permits and Licenses.

Next is applying for business permits and licenses, which sounds tricky. Luckily, Canada has set up BizPal, an online portal to help business owners find the required permits and licenses based on their business structure, industry, and location.

This paperwork will depend on the municipality, too. Besides that, different business activities can have different types of permits or licenses.

For instance, certain types of businesses will need building permits and electrical permits. Another is food inspection for food services like bakeries or restaurants.

4. Know Your Tax Obligations.

All businesses need to pay taxes, and failure to do so will result in hefty fines (or jail time). Taxes will depend on the business structure and location.

You are also required to keep accounting records. Remember that you will need the CRA’s permission before destroying these before the retention period ends or face prosecution.

Depending on the location and business type, owners will usually need to include Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in their services. However, this will also depend on the revenue.

Canada offers free tax support for self-employed individuals and sole proprietors. This is an option that many freelancers opt for if they cannot afford to hire an accountant or a bookkeeper.

5. Register for Insurance and Employee Benefits.

Businesses with employees will need to register for employee benefits. Labour-type companies will need insurance and liability coverage to keep the business, employees, and customers safe in case of worksite accidents.

Other employee benefits include healthcare insurance and leave benefits. Apart from that, business owners will need to have a payroll system for their employees.

5 Tips When Starting a Business in Canada

When starting a business in Canada, there are many factors to consider. Aside from funding, you need to have passion for your chosen industry, or your business might not last.
You will also need perseverance, courage, and support. So, here are some tips before building your business:

1. Find your passion.

If you hate math and are starting a bookkeeping service, then it may not be the best idea. There’s a good chance your business will flop if you’re not passionate about it.
Many businesses start with an idea. So, dive deep into your mind and find your niche or what aspect of life you’re passionate about.
Of course, it also needs to be something that your community needs. But finding a business that you love will definitely help when you’re facing problems (which all business owners will go through) in the future.

2. Design a business plan.

Before starting a business, you must create a company plan. You can’t go into the business world without a strategy because you need to think for the future.
Additionally, you must know your products and customers, too. So, do a lot of research about your products and location.
Will you sell your baked goods at the weekend market, or would you prefer to lease a place in the town centre? 

3. Have a good credit score and funding.

If you’re building a business, you must have financial support through investors or borrowing money from the bank.
Let’s face it, passion alone cannot save a business. You need to know all the costs you’ll need to spend for your business, from prototypes to utility costs. Plus, you need to invest in your business to help it in the future.

4. Use the digital world.

Nowadays, in this technology-ridden world, many businesses can’t operate without the help of social media. There are various ways to build a digital footprint for your business, through creating social media accounts or hiring a digital marketing agency.
Simply creating a website for your business can boost your presence. Most people search online for products or services they need, which is why incorporating social media would be a great advantage.

5. Promote your business.

Starting a business is a big deal, and you should be proud of it! It’s not easy to bring your dream into reality, and it takes a lot of hard work!
So, don’t be shy to promote your business within your community. An online presence is good, but your loyal customers will most likely come from the local community.
Set up posters and print business cards. Your customers need to learn about your business so they can check it out.

FAQ about Profitable Businesses in Canada

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