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Canada Contractors License. How To?

 
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:19 PM   #1
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Canada Contractors License. How To?


hi! i am new to the site. my names J. nice to meet you all!

ok so here is my question. i am a north dakota licensed general contractor and am interested in expanding my business to canada.

i specialize in house painting, blacktop repairs, and a few other exterior home repairs

what do i need to do to become a licensed general contractor in canada?

i have searched multiple sites and i can not get a step by step guide of what are the requirements to get this done easy

i do not have any employees. i am a self employed contractor for hire. i do not find myself contracted to any really large jobs. just day to day home repairs

i would appreciate if someone could give me detailed instructions on how to do this

thanks so much!!!!!
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:53 AM   #2
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Re: Canada Contractors License. How To?


Similar to the USA where each state has its own rules, in Canada each province has its own licensing and certification. I see you are in North Dakota, so I assume you are thinking of going to either Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

First, you will need a work permit as you are not a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. You can start your research here: Working Temporarily in Canada

You mention that you are looking to be licensed as a general contractor but if I understand correctly, you do not have any employees and do one-man jobs (you don’t use sub-contractors). I believe, therefore, that the title of tradesman would be a more accurate description of what you do.

While most trades do not require a license (same as in the USA, generally only a few like electricians, plumbers, HVAC get licensed), you will likely require a Certificate of Qualification. You get basic certification on a per province basis; or you can get a more comprehensive certification called Red Seal which is inter-provincial. I suggest you read through this website: Red Seal Interprovincial Standards Program. (There is testing/certification info, job futures info, trade association contact info, plus more; not just for the extra Red Seal stamp, but for basic certification as well.)

----------

The above is a good start if your intention is to work as an employee for a Canadian business. However, if your plan is to expand your own business into Canada, (i.e. contracting directly with homeowners or sub-contracting to a GC), then it gets way more complicated. It is like starting a business from scratch. Some of the extra issues are:

1. Business License: Major cities have their own requirements; smaller towns and rural areas near the border will fall under the respective county. There are too many to list here, so once you know where you want to operate your business, then you will need to contact the appropriate municipal government to find out their business licensing rules. You should contact a lawyer and/or accountant to guide you as there are many "legal paperwork" issues such as taxes, etc. which are not lumped in with your North Dakota base of operations but are treated separately according to the rules of Manitoba, Saskatchewan or whatever province you plan to work in.

2. Workers Comp: Your North Dakota W/C does not transfer over. W/C in Canada is run entirely by provincial boards, so you will need to register in each province you plan to work in. Even with no employees, you will still have to cover yourself; or complete exemption paperwork if that province’s W/C board allows exemption. You can start that research here:
..... Saskatchewan: http://www.wcbsask.com
..... Manitoba: http://www.wcb.mb.ca

3. Insurance: Call the insurance agent/broker you have now. If you are with an insurer who operates in both Canada and USA, it is sometimes possible to have your existing policy expanded to cover your operations in Canada. Or, the insurer’s US office can coordinate with its Canadian sister office to issue you a Canadian policy. If that isn’t possible, at a minimum, your North Dakota broker can put you in contact with a Saskatchewan or Manitoba insurance broker via various insurance networks they have access to.

Last, please do not take this final comment as a slight. You indicate that the type of work you do is exterior painting, driveway blacktop and other miscellaneous exterior work. Unfortunately, this type of work is what fly-by-nighters and "hacks" typically do. I am in no way insinuating that you are not running a reputable business, but I think you need to consider the stereotype and that many people will be more suspicious of your specific tradework simply because you fall into that category. Now add to the mix that you are not based in the province, let alone not even based in the country, and I think you will find it to be an uphill battle to qualify for municipal business licenses, get the trust of potential clients, etc.

Taking into account how much paperwork, time and work is involved to have your North Dakota business operate above-board in a Canadian province, I think you should consider if this is even worthwhile pursuing. If you want to work in Canada, my suggestion would be to take the easier route of getting the work permit and certification, and then getting personally hired on as an employee with a Canadian contractor.



P.S. - Good Grief. I just noticed how long this post is. I guess this is what happens when you have insomnia.

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Last edited by Astrix; 08-15-2012 at 03:57 AM. Reason: added P.S.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:24 PM   #3
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Re: Canada Contractors License. How To?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrix View Post
Similar to the USA where each state has its own rules, in Canada each province has its own licensing and certification. I see you are in North Dakota, so I assume you are thinking of going to either Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

First, you will need a work permit as you are not a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. You can start your research here: Working Temporarily in Canada

You mention that you are looking to be licensed as a general contractor but if I understand correctly, you do not have any employees and do one-man jobs (you donít use sub-contractors). I believe, therefore, that the title of tradesman would be a more accurate description of what you do.

While most trades do not require a license (same as in the USA, generally only a few like electricians, plumbers, HVAC get licensed), you will likely require a Certificate of Qualification. You get basic certification on a per province basis; or you can get a more comprehensive certification called Red Seal which is inter-provincial. I suggest you read through this website: Red Seal Interprovincial Standards Program. (There is testing/certification info, job futures info, trade association contact info, plus more; not just for the extra Red Seal stamp, but for basic certification as well.)

----------

The above is a good start if your intention is to work as an employee for a Canadian business. However, if your plan is to expand your own business into Canada, (i.e. contracting directly with homeowners or sub-contracting to a GC), then it gets way more complicated. It is like starting a business from scratch. Some of the extra issues are:

1. Business License: Major cities have their own requirements; smaller towns and rural areas near the border will fall under the respective county. There are too many to list here, so once you know where you want to operate your business, then you will need to contact the appropriate municipal government to find out their business licensing rules. You should contact a lawyer and/or accountant to guide you as there are many "legal paperwork" issues such as taxes, etc. which are not lumped in with your North Dakota base of operations but are treated separately according to the rules of Manitoba, Saskatchewan or whatever province you plan to work in.

2. Workers Comp: Your North Dakota W/C does not transfer over. W/C in Canada is run entirely by provincial boards, so you will need to register in each province you plan to work in. Even with no employees, you will still have to cover yourself; or complete exemption paperwork if that provinceís W/C board allows exemption. You can start that research here:
..... Saskatchewan: http://www.wcbsask.com
..... Manitoba: http://www.wcb.mb.ca

3. Insurance: Call the insurance agent/broker you have now. If you are with an insurer who operates in both Canada and USA, it is sometimes possible to have your existing policy expanded to cover your operations in Canada. Or, the insurerís US office can coordinate with its Canadian sister office to issue you a Canadian policy. If that isnít possible, at a minimum, your North Dakota broker can put you in contact with a Saskatchewan or Manitoba insurance broker via various insurance networks they have access to.

Last, please do not take this final comment as a slight. You indicate that the type of work you do is exterior painting, driveway blacktop and other miscellaneous exterior work. Unfortunately, this type of work is what fly-by-nighters and "hacks" typically do. I am in no way insinuating that you are not running a reputable business, but I think you need to consider the stereotype and that many people will be more suspicious of your specific tradework simply because you fall into that category. Now add to the mix that you are not based in the province, let alone not even based in the country, and I think you will find it to be an uphill battle to qualify for municipal business licenses, get the trust of potential clients, etc.

Taking into account how much paperwork, time and work is involved to have your North Dakota business operate above-board in a Canadian province, I think you should consider if this is even worthwhile pursuing. If you want to work in Canada, my suggestion would be to take the easier route of getting the work permit and certification, and then getting personally hired on as an employee with a Canadian contractor.



P.S. - Good Grief. I just noticed how long this post is. I guess this is what happens when you have insomnia.
Well i think if i was a "fly-by-nighter" or "hack" i would not even bother with trying to set up the legal way lol. But i do see where you are coming from. We have enough of those in the states as well. Makes it harder on us honest guys.
But thank you that was exactly what i needed. A step by step. And yes it seems like a lot of work. But also very do able lol. Thank you for a detailed reply!!
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