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To register or not to register in Ontario?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am a stay at home mom of 2 little boys and have been doing cakes from home for almost a year. I live in a small rural town and my name has finally begun to get out there and I am getting pretty steady business from my surrounding communities. At this point in time, I have not registered myself as a business but am wondering if now is the time. I have spoken to a few different people, some who have said that there is no reason to register unless you are making a substantial amount of profit, whereas others have said there are a ton of benefits to being registered. My concern is I do this from home (for now) and don't want to have to start making renovations etc in order to run the business. Has anyone been through the process and have any suggestions?
post #2 of 21
Registering isn't solely about how much profit you make. It just depends on how concerned you might be about getting caught. icon_rolleyes.gif Are you claiming this income on your taxes as you ought to be? "Pretty steady business" implies that you are profiting and of course we all know the government wants a cut of that, no matter how small.

The other factor is that food that is sold should be prepared and stored in proper conditions as per your local health inspector's recommendations to not only protect your goods, but your customer...and even yourself from lawsuits.

There may also be lax rules in a more rural/cottage area, so you may not have to worry at all about all the regulations like having a separate entrance, doored kitchen, separate bathroom, triple-sink, etc. (Not at ALL to suggest that these places are less clean!! They just allow for things like country market sales, booths by the side of roads, etc. too) Every municipality has its own rules as to whether they care or not. Some forbid food production in places other than strictly inspected facilities, some won't "zone" your home for it, others couldn't care less and MOST don't even know what their own rules are! (You'll see a ton of confusion everywhere about this....one city hall department saying one thing, another department saying another thing. This happens all over! icon_mad.gif )

I know it's a hassle to not only nail down exactly what regulations your area will ask of you and to then comply with some of those if you're doing it from home....but I've heard the fines are pretty stiff. icon_sad.gif All it takes is one "competitor" or bad customer to end things for you in a pretty messy, costly and ugly way.

Why not just inquire with the city? Can't hurt to be informed. You might just be surprised to find out that nothing is required of you...then you can sleep better knowing you're doing nothing "wrong" and your business is safe.

All that being said, in the 9 years I've had my own company, I've only heard rumours of one or two people being investigated and inspected and subsequently receiving a fine. I can tell you from having countless friends who make cakes or do catering on the side, it's NOT the health inspector you have to worry about....it's the tax man that is way more likely to catch you.
post #3 of 21
antonia74
I've just registered my company for the exact reasons you mentioned. At the present time, I'm looking at renting kitchen space in a local culinary college as they have the proper permits.
Do say you have been running your own company for 9 years. Do you run out of your home? If so, how did you get it approved? I don't have a problem in renovating the basement to whatever standards are needed (I would NEVER risk my business or possible legal problems). I can't find any information on this subject. I'm in Brampton.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by moufette

antonia74
I've just registered my company for the exact reasons you mentioned. At the present time, I'm looking at renting kitchen space in a local culinary college as they have the proper permits.
Do say you have been running your own company for 9 years. Do you run out of your home? If so, how did you get it approved? I don't have a problem in renovating the basement to whatever standards are needed (I would NEVER risk my business or possible legal problems). I can't find any information on this subject. I'm in Brampton.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.



I didn't, I rented space at a rental kitchen in Toronto. Every city/municipality has different rules and regulations as to what they will accept and whether or not your neighbourhood is even zoned to allow for a business to be run out of your house. Your first step is to go down to your city hall and ask everyone. (You'll be transferred here and there because guaranteed people just won't know when it comes to food production from your house. icon_confused.gif ) In Toronto, I would have had to have a separate kitchen (not one the household used), a separate entrance to it, a separate bathroom, fridges/freezers/storage that only held my products and nothing household and a triple-sink cleaning area for washing and disinfection. Seeing as I was renting (and our 2 bedroom apartment was bad enough at $1500/month!!) I found it much, much easier to just rent space in a local rental kitchen. You could also approach churches I hear, but I'm not of any religion and didn't think that would be easy for me. icon_redface.gif
post #5 of 21
antonia74
Thanks so much for your quick response! I have spoken to the Peel Region Public Health Department and they pretty much said that it's next to impossible to use the house. Even if I could, the amount of money that I'd need to put into renovating would be prohibitive.

I'm going to go the rental route. One question (sorry to keep asking you stuff) but did you need to apply for a Food Handler permit?

Once again, thanks !!! icon_smile.gif
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
It's nice to hear I'm not the only one going through this process.

I have spoken with my local Health Unit and have been told the same thing...it's next to impossible to do a home based business with food. I would need to have a completely separate kitchen from the house, with separate sinks, appliances etc. I also inquired with the Health unit about renting kitchen space to do my baking and was told that I would have to do all of my decorating there as well since the fondant etc is considered a "food" product. Has anyone else come across this? I've seen in some other forums that people have been doing their baking in a regulation abiding kitchen, but then decorating from home.

Zoning wise, I am allowed to run a home based business in my area, but now I'm a little bit stuck on if it's even possible and then what....
post #7 of 21
i'm so glad to hear from fellow ontario-iansi'm in the same boat, i feel like i keep looking for answers and not getting anywhere. the whole food thing is a bit touchy (from home) but i work at a long term care home in the kitchen so have picked up great food handling tips. i understand if you wanted to sell food at say a farmer's market you have to have a sanitation certificate (pass the test at the health unit) but other than that i haven't learned much else. it gets a little daunting and makes me more determined to just open my own store (seems like it would be less hassle than renovating a basement) and i must be clueless, but i had no idea until just now that you were from the GTA antonia icon_smile.gif
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post #8 of 21
It's all very convoluted. I'm going to contact the Brampton Small Business Association and if I find out anything (good or bad), I'll post it.

By the way michellesArt, I was in Collingwood today! My inlaws have a place in Swiss Meadows! thumbs_up.gif
post #9 of 21
maybe next time you're up we could meet over coffee TH anyone?lol...i like your puck by the way icon_smile.gif it's always nice to meet a fellow cake decorator
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post #10 of 21
Definitely! The next time I go up there, I'll post it. It would be great to talk about gum paste, fondant and royal icing with someone who UNDERSTANDS!!! My husband just glazes over (no pun intended) when I get on a roll (ok....pun intended) icon_biggrin.gif
post #11 of 21
ditto-he just tunes out-all he wants to see is the finished cake, not the bumps along the road!!
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post #12 of 21
Hi Everyone,
After thinking about starting a home based business in Newmarket Ontario for the past several years I finally decided to make a few calls and find out if it's possible. Here's what I was told:

Your home must be properly zoned. If it is not you must apply for a zoning by-law...which is a lengthy process.

Then you must have a separate kitchen etc. and then pass Fire and Health department inspections.

The health inspector that I talked to said that home bakeries have been established in Ontario but it is much easier and cost effective to rent a commercial kitchen. She referred me to the following: Food Premise Regulations. Type the following into google to read all the details: "Health Protection and Promotion Act + RRO 1990 Regulation 562"
She said that these regulations are Ontario wide....not just for small towns or larger cities.

I was quite sad to receive all of this information. It's a really big time and financial commitment to open a commercial kitchen. I was hoping to get my business off and running with a test at home for a few years.

I hope that this info helps my fellow Canadian Bakers!

Tara[/img]
post #13 of 21
Hey all!

Ok, so obviously in house bakery is not looking promising for us all. lol.... but what will it take to start from a rented kitchen?
Insurance? Business Registration? License? Food Safe Cert? Does anyone have any info to share? Also.. while I'm at it, and this may be a closely gaurded secret but, does anyone know of any rental kitchens? I know of one, but it's a little pricey..

Thanks bunches!!!
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by muddpuppy

Hey all!

Ok, so obviously in house bakery is not looking promising for us all. lol.... but what will it take to start from a rented kitchen?
Insurance? Business Registration? License? Food Safe Cert? Does anyone have any info to share? Also.. while I'm at it, and this may be a closely gaurded secret but, does anyone know of any rental kitchens? I know of one, but it's a little pricey..

Thanks bunches!!!



Just found your postings. I'm not from Ontario, from Nova Scotia and have the same issues and concerns. I am considering renting from the local church. I know this is going to sound really stupid but I was thinking about what i do after I bake at the church. I can't leave the cakes behind as they use the kitchen regularly. For each stage of my cake, do I have to transport it back to the church for completetionThere must be something I can do from home.
post #15 of 21
Just a note about churches. I know my in-laws church in Tweed ON is considering renting space to another religious organization for cash in flow. Not all churches need this or would be open to this, but in smaller communities with church membership not always on the rise, they may be open to the rental fees. I also know I was allowed to decorate my in laws cake there over the weekend and it was heaven, pardon the pun. It would not hurt to ask.
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