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Pros and cons of sole proprietorship in Canada

By Samantha Garner | January 16, 2021

sole proprietorship in canada

A sole proprietorship is the oldest, simplest and most common form of organization for a company.

It’s a business owned by one person — the sole proprietor — and is unincorporated. Easy as that!

Quick facts about sole proprietorship in Canada

  • As the business owner, you own all assets, earnings, and profits. However, you also hold all the responsibilities (including legal and debt), obligations and liabilities.
  • If you establish a business in your own name, without adding any other words, you don’t have to register the business. You can either bill customers in your name, or register a business name and bill customers under that name, which must have a separate bank account. The law doesn’t distinguish between the business and its owner, and personal income tax must be paid on all revenue generated by your business.
  • If your revenues are more than $30,000, or if you have legal ownership of more than one business, you must register for GST/HST (one registration will cover all businesses).

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this type of ownership.

Pros of sole proprietorship

  • Least expensive form of ownership, low start-up costs.
  • Most freedom from regulation.
  • Simple to start and dissolve.
  • Complete control over the company and decisions.
  • Least working capital required.
  • Complete control over the income generated by the business.
  • Complete access to profits.
  • Easier to offset losses against other income.
  • Flexibility.
  • Easiest to exit.

Cons of sole proprietorship

  • Business owner is legally responsible for all debts.
  • Unlimited liability (not separate by law; can be personally liable for all debts even if it means paying debts with your personal assets).
  • Business can’t continue in absence of owner.
  • Harder to raise funds from personal savings or loans.
  • Higher personal tax rate.
  • Often harder to find high quality employees.
  • Limited resources and opportunities for growth.
  • Some employee benefits are not deductible from business income.

Want to learn more about sole proprietorship? Check out GoForth’s online streaming small business training!

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