How to Start a Home Care Business in Canada

Rob Scott

Written on 4 December, 2023
Launching your home care business is an exciting moment, but it also involves plenty of paperwork. Read on as we break down everything you need to know, from business licences to hiring staff.

Understanding Home Care in Canada

Demand for home care is rising across Canada, driven in part by an aging population. And with 22% of Canadians (PDF) living with a disability, it’s not just seniors who require in-home care services.

The Benefits of Starting a Home Care Business in Canada

There are few businesses more rewarding than home care. You significantly improve your client’s quality of life by enabling them to live comfortably at home for longer.

What’s more, Canadian home care businesses benefit from increasing demand and relatively little red tape. While you’ll have to stay on top of your municipal, provincial and federal requirements, you won’t have to undergo regular audits or enrol in government programs. 

And with all care services provided in clients’ homes, you won’t have to take on hefty running costs or long rental contracts.

Do You Need a Home Care Licence in Canada?

Requirements vary across each province and territory, but you won’t need a license to provide home care in most places. 

Depending on the municipality, you may need a general business licence. However, in the vast majority of the country, only retirement homes and care homes require specialist licences. 

Setting Up the Legal and Financial Structure of Your Business

In general, you’ll need to:

  1. Decide on your home care business’ legal structure.

  2. Reserve your name and register as a business.

  3. Obtain relevant licences or permits.

  4. Ensure your home care business.

  5. Register with the federal government for GST/HST if you have an income of $30,000 gross or more in four consecutive calendar quarters.

That said, the processes will depend on where you plan to operate. Let’s look at the requirements for in-home care businesses in each of Canada’s provinces and territories.

You can keep scrolling or click straight to the relevant section: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

Setting up a Home Care Business in Alberta 

Launching an Alberta-based home care business is pretty straightforward, but you’ll need to decide on your business structure first. Will you be a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or cooperative

Once you know this and carefully consider the liability and tax implications, you can register your business with the Alberta Corporate Registry

Check which permits and licences you need on BizPaL before you begin operating. Don’t forget to review Alberta’s employment standards and register with WCB Alberta

Setting up a Home Care Business in British Columbia 

Before you can start a home care business in British Columbia, you need to decide on your business type. 

It’s an important decision: it will shape how much personal liability you have, your tax rates, launch costs and administrative workload. The Government of British Columbia has published a Business Structures Wizard to help you make the best choice.

Next, you’ll need to request and reserve your business name via BC Registries, paying a $30 fee. Make sure you register or incorporate your business before the registration expires. You can do this by logging in to My Business Registry.

Use BizPaL to confirm which permits and licences you’ll need. These may depend on the municipality. For example, if you’re launching your home care agency in Victoria, you’ll need a business licence

Don’t forget to sign up for business insurance and, if you’re employing staff, WorkSafe BC. It’s also worth carefully reading through the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Setting up a Home Care Business in Manitoba 

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when launching your Manitoba home care business will be your business structure. There are many options to pick from, but the three main ones are sole proprietor, partnership and corporation. Which one you choose will determine your tax obligations, amount of paperwork, personal liability, setup costs and even the tax your estate may have to pay after your death. 

You’ll have to reserve your business name and then register your business with the Companies Office. You can download the forms for sole proprietors and partnerships here and for corporations here

If you file online, it will take a maximum of 4–6 days to be processed. While you’ll file your care home business’ annual accounts with the Companies Office, you should also sign up to TAXcess to pay your taxes. 

Check which permits and licences you’ll need by searching on BizPaL. You’ll also need to sign up for workers’ compensation coverage with the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB)

Setting up a Home Care Business in New Brunswick 

Once you’ve decided to launch your New Brunswick home care business, you need to select how you’ll operate: as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. This will affect your tax obligations, level of personal liability for debts and more. A business advisor, accountant or lawyer can give you a deeper understanding of the different business structures.

If you operate as a sole proprietor under your own name, you don’t need to register your home care business with the government of New Brunswick. 

However, if you’re adopting a brand name or setting up any other type of business, you should register via Service New Brunswick. You’ll automatically receive your Business Number from the Canada Revenue Agency when you register. Bear in mind that you must renew your business name every five years.

Find out which permits and licences you need by searching for your municipality on BizPaL. If you plan to employ other caregivers and nurses, you must also comply with the Employment Standards Act and other regulations. Business insurance, while not required, is an excellent idea.

Setting up a Home Care Business in Newfoundland and Labrador 

The first step in launching your home care business in Newfoundland and Labrador is choosing a business type. 

While you can operate as a sole proprietor, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recommends setting up a business as an Incorporated or Limited Partnership. It’s more complex (and expensive!) to set up, but it protects you against your company’s debts. A lawyer or tax advisor can give you more in-depth advice.

You’ll then need to register your business — and file annual returns — with the Registry of Companies. Review the Name Approval Policy carefully to avoid issues with your registration.

Find out which permits and licences you need on BizPaL. Remember that these depend on the municipality you’re operating in. If you’re planning to operate in multiple locations, you’ll need to check all of them. 

As a home care business, you may be exempt from registering with WorkplaceNL, but it’s important to double-check that you meet the exemption criteria. On the other hand, if your clients include children, you will need a Family Child Care Agency licence.

Don’t forget to obtain business insurance and familiarize yourself with your responsibilities under the Labour Standards Act and Regulations.

Setting up a Home Care Business in the Northwest Territories 

Before you can launch a home care business in the Northwest Territories, you’ll need to decide whether to operate as a sole trader, partnership, corporation or other business type. Ensure you understand the legal and financial implications of this for you and your company.

Unless you’re a sole trader operating under your name, you’ll have to register with the Corporate Registries. You’ll also need to apply for a business licence from your municipal government office and, if you employ staff, sign up with the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission and register for NWT payroll tax

You can check BizPaL to see if you need any other permits or licences. 

Setting up a Home Care Business in Nova Scotia

Launching a home care business in Nova Scotia begins with choosing your legal structure. This affects your tax obligations, personal liability, and even what you can call your business. 

Once you’ve picked the right legal structure for your business, reserve your care home business name with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies and then register your business. You must reserve the name prior to registering. The registration process depends on your business type, so check the requirements on the Government of Nova Scotia website (scroll down to point number three). 

You should always check the latest permit requirements on the Nova Scotia Permits Directory or BizPaL. You should also consider taking out business insurance to protect you and your clients. 

Most businesses in Nova Scotia must sign up for workplace injury insurance with WCB Nova Scotia. Take time to also review the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Setting up a Home Care Business in Nunavut

You’ll launch your Nunavut home care business by registering it with the NNI Secretariat. But before you can make your company official, you must make a few decisions: will you be a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or cooperative? This will affect your taxation rates, liability for debts and more, so think carefully about your choice. 

You’ll also need to pick a business name and run a NUANS name search report to check that it’s not already used.

Once you’ve registered your business, contact your local government to ask about permits and licences. These vary depending on the municipality, but you will probably need a business licence. 

And, even if you don’t employ staff, all Nunavut-based businesses must sign up to the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission. It’s also worth contracting general business insurance to protect you and your clients.

Setting up a Home Care Business in Ontario

Your first step should be deciding which structure your Ontario in-home care business will have. Are you going to operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or cooperative? 

This choice will have significant consequences, including your tax rates, personal liability for debts, costs, paperwork, and the ability to transfer your business to someone else later. It’s worth speaking to a legal professional or a business advisor before deciding.

Once you’ve made your decision, register your home care business with the Ontario Business Registry. To do this, log in or register with ServiceOntario and head to the Business Services section. 

You’ll pay a fee of $60 to $300 and receive your 9-digit Ontario Business Identification Number (BIN). Unless you’ve set up your home care business as a cooperative, you can also use ServiceOntario to file your annual tax returns. 

Your next step should be to go to BizPaL to find out which licences and permits you need. Depending on your municipality, you may need to apply for a business licence. Business insurance isn’t a requirement for Ontario-based home care providers, but it is highly recommended. 

If you plan to employ care workers, you will probably need to register with the Ontario Ministry of Finance to pay Employer Health Tax (EHT). However, you should check if you are eligible for EHT exemption. Don’t forget to review your obligations under the Employee Standards Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Setting up a Home Care Business in Prince Edward Island 

Before you can launch your home care business on Prince Edward Island, you must make two important decisions: your business type and name.

Prince Edward Island allows for several business types, including sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. Your choice will affect your tax obligations, setup costs and personal liability.

There are strict rules surrounding business names in PEI, which you can review here. Once you’ve selected your name, apply for it via the Corporate Business Registry Services. Finally, you’re ready to register your home care business.

Check BizPaL to confirm if you need any permits or licences. If you plan to hire staff, don’t forget to register with the Workers Compensation Board of PEI and familiarize yourself with the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Setting up a Home Care Business in Quebec 

Home care businesses in Quebec can operate under 13 different legal forms, from a natural person operating a sole proprietorship to a business corporation, limited partnership and association. Pick your legal form carefully; it determines your liability, tax obligations and more.

Once you’ve decided on your legal form, register your business name with the Registraire des entreprises. Bear in mind that Quebec has strict rules regarding business names.

Use the free service BizPaL to determine which licences and permits you need. This can vary according to your municipality. You should also look for business insurance that will protect you, your care team and your clients from some of the potential hazards of in-home care: workplace injuries, patient violence, medical errors and more. 

Finally, carefully review the Act respecting labour standards and the Act respecting occupational health and safety to understand your responsibilities towards your employees.

Keep in mind that all businesses in Quebec must be able to serve the public in French. You can learn more about Quebec’s language laws here.

Setting up a Home Care Business in Saskatchewan 

Your first step to setting up a home care business in Saskatchewan will be to select a legal business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or co-operative. It’s worth seeking legal, tax and business advice when making this decision. 

Once you’ve done that, register your home care business via the Corporate Registry. You’ll also need to register with the Ministry of Finance so you can charge Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in addition to — if applicable — GST.

Search BizPaL to find out which municipal, provincial and federal licences and permits you need. The Government of Saskatchewan’s Employment Standards guides will prove invaluable if you plan to employ care workers or administrative staff. You must also sign up with the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

Setting up a Home Care Business in Yukon 

Start by deciding on your business structure: sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. You can review the differences here, but it’s also worth seeking legal and financial advice about how this will affect your personal liabilities and tax levels. 

Unless you’re operating as a sole trader under your own name, you’ll then need to register your business name — and, voilà! You’ve launched your Yukon home care company.

Check BizPaL to find out which permits and licences you need, including municipal/inter-municipal business licences and average hours of work permits. 

If you are providing home nursing, you can review the required licences and certificates here. You’ll also need to register with the Yukon WCB, and taking out business insurance is a good idea.

Building Your Home Care Team

Your team will prove critical to your care home business’ success. From talented and passionate caregivers to detail-oriented admin staff, you’ll rely on them to deliver high-quality care and ensure your business runs smoothly.

However, newly launched home care agencies can struggle with recruitment, inefficient scheduling and high turnover leading to increased operation costs. 

An efficient caregiver recruitment process will enable you to hire new employees more quickly, so you can wait until you’re sure you need them. Scheduling tools will also support you as you manage a growing workforce and client base.

Professional Help and Resources 

Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA)

The CHCA advocates for Canadian caregivers, provides practical toolkits and publishes webinars and reports. 

Chamber of Commerce 

Both the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and your local chamber can provide information about business opportunities, resources and tools.

Economic Development Officer 

Your local Economic Development Officer can help you discover business support in your area, including grants and subsidies.

Business Development Centre 

Your local Business Development Centre — not to be confused with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) — can provide training, networking opportunities and guides to business administration.


How much does it cost to start a home care business in Canada? 

The cost of launching your home care business will depend on your business structure and province/territory, as well as how much you invest in marketing and recruitment. For sole proprietors, the start-up costs are relatively low, while incorporated companies will have extra expenses.

How can I market my Canadian home care business?

Potential marketing channels include a website, social media, traditional advertising and referrals. A well-thought-out marketing plan is key to a successful home care business launch.

How much does home care cost in Canada? 

Home care costs vary greatly based on the location and type of care. General, non-regulated support is less expensive than specialist healthcare, nursing and physiotherapy.

How is home care funded in Canada?

The federal government provides home care for some Canadian populations; provincial support may also be available. Many Canadians also use private insurance to fund their home care.

Final Thoughts on Starting Your Home Care Business in Canada 

Whether you decide to operate as a sole proprietor in your home city or launch a large corporation across multiple provinces, some things will remain the same: the hard work, the business strategy, the paperwork — and the knowledge that it’s all worth it.

You’ll support older Canadians and people with disabilities in achieving a better quality of life. And you’ll experience the satisfaction of building a successful business.

ShiftCare’s home care software simplifies the admin side of running a home care business, making it easier to get up and running. You can easily see team members’ availability, advertise new shifts, create schedules, add client documentation, generate invoices and more. 

Discover how we can help your business grow. Try ShiftCare for free.

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