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hickbear in canadian_yank

Contracting in Ontario

My GoogleFu is failing me, so I'm hoping someone here has either already invented this wheel or knows where I can find someone who has.

My hubby and I are in Canada under NAFTA - he's got the primary work permit while I'm here on a spousal work permit. I'm trying to find an IT job, but half to two-thirds of the positions I'm finding are for contractors. AIUI, anyone acting as a contractor in Ontario is required to incorporate as a standalone business, and it's that business that contracts to provide services to company "X" instead of simply the individual. In my case, I'm looking at some Unix sys admin positions with Rogers via contracting with IBM.

I've gotten the impression that, to incorporate myself as a standalone business in Ontario, I need to be either a citizen or a permanent resident (aka "landed immigrant"). My husband and I are going to start the application process for permanent residency later this year, but right now I'm technically just a temporary guest in Canada.

I can't find a definitive answer via Google, and since this is a provincial matter, I didn't find much of anything useful at the CIC website.

Does anyone here know for sure, or can any of y'all point me at any websites which might lead me to an absolute answer of "Yes, you may incorporate today", "No, you have to wait until you're a Landed Immigrant", or "No, you don't have to incorporate to be an IT contractor"?

Thanks for any help you might be able to offer!!!


I would contact Service Ontario and see what they have to say. I used to be a self-employed contractor here in Ontario, and the way I understood it was if you are earning less than $30,000 per year, you don't have to incorporate because you don't have to collect GST. Higher than $30k, you have to get a GST number. But with HST starting in July, all that could be changing anyway, so I'd call in the experts. There is a service locator here that looks like it might be helpful in finding out who to talk to.

Good luck!!