A reader e-mailed me after my last column to correct me; there is no longer a provincial Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. It is now called the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

This raised an issue that I have been entirely remiss in addressing when writing about legal issues for businesses. There are many other resources out there to get you started in the right legal direction if you are interested in starting and running a business.

The best place to start is the web. The Government of Ontario has made major advancements for serving small businesses with the not-so-new introduction of the Service Ontario website at www.serviceontario.ca. It addresses a myriad of services the provincial government provides to citizens, from birth certificates and drivers licences: But for our purposes, the sublink found on the left side of the website of “Gateway for Businesses” is a great starting point.


The self-important lawyer in me was astounded by the amount of information and assistance available for small businesses. The resources range from information with respect to before you start your business, to actually starting a business, proper operation of a business and even selling or closing your business.

Not to be outdone, Industry Canada (the federal business ministry) at www.ic.gc.cahas a host of information available to businesses, again found on the left side of the website, that ranges from start-up, incorporation and support to planning and management, electronic commerce (an extremely important and growing area of business) to productivity and measurement tools.

All this is not to say that these sites and the wealth of information they contain is the panacea for all business information woes. They should be used in conjunction with your set of advisers and, of course, your lawyer.


Jeffrey D. Cowan is the principal of Cowan & Taylor, Barristers & Solicitors that practice in the areas of business and real estate law. Email jeff@cowanandtaylor.com. The information contained in this article should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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