How to start a technology or innovation business in Ontario

Table of contents

Getting started
Innovation support
Other resources


Technology and innovation businesses cover a wide range of industries. These businesses may focus on activities such as researching and developing new products or providing innovative solutions to existing processes. Whether you are interested in new technologies, product innovation or research and development, this guide will help you learn what is needed to start your business.

Getting started

When you start a business there are several things to consider before you can sell your product or service. Most businesses in Ontario need to complete a minimum of three basic steps:

  • Find out what licences and regulations apply to your type of business
  • Choose a business structure and register or incorporate your business
  • Determine if you will need to collect and remit HST

Our business start-up guide will give you more information on these steps and other basic requirements for starting a business in Ontario.

Read online:
Starting a Business

Innovation support

National Research Council (NRC) - Concierge Service

As a business involved in technology and innovation, you may benefit from NRC's Concierge Service. This service helps businesses find information and resources to support technological innovation.

Contact NRC:
Concierge Service

Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs 

The Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) is a Government of Ontario funded network. With close to 90 centres located throughout the province, the ONE represents a one-stop shop for anyone involved in planning, launching or building a company, whether it's a main street retailer, a high-tech start-up, or a growing manufacturer.

Read online:

Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR)

If you run a Canadian small or medium-size business with less than 500 employees and are involved in software development, testing and demonstration, you may benefit from the DAIR program’s high-performance cloud resources. Advantages include:

  • Free self-serve access to 4 high performance virtual servers
  • Easy, online application process
  • Ability to develop and test many types of software applications for tech-based businesses
  • Ability to develop e-commerce applications, services or websites, either for internal or external use for non-tech businesses
  • Storage of data in Canada (may be a legal or contractual requirement for some businesses) 

Additional services and resources are also available for a fee.

Note: All use of the service must be non-commercial (pre-commercial or non-revenue generating). Other conditions apply.

Contact CANARIE: 
Cloud Technology: DAIR - For Entrepreneurs


Your business may need licences and permits from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.

In addition to the information you will find in this guide, you can use the Canada Business Permits and Licenses Search, powered by BizPaL, to find licences and regulations that may affect your business. You can also contact us to speak to someone about starting your business.

Contact us:
Permits and licences search

Intellectual property protection

You may want to protect your business’s intellectual property, such as inventions or designs. Contact the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to learn how to protect your business’s intellectual property.

Contact CIPO:

Medical laboratory & health related regulations

Below are regulations specific to medical laboratories and health-based research businesses.

Science-based health products

If your business will be involved in developing or working with chemical technology, biotechnology or medical technology, contact Health Canada to learn more about regulations for science-based health products.

Contact Health Canada:
Health and the environment

Ontario laboratory accreditation

If you want to run a medical research laboratory, you will need to get an ISO certificate. You can apply for accreditation through the Ontario Medical Association.

Read online:
Quality management program - Ontario laboratory accreditation

Lab licensing and inspection

If you plan to run a medical research laboratory in Ontario, you must follow the standards set by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario.

Contact the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario:
Lab licensing and inspection service

Legal questions

If you have legal questions, contact a lawyer who deals with business regulations. The Law Society of Upper Canada's Law Society Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.

Use online:
Law Society Referral Service


Depending on your location and the type of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.

Read online:
Taxation guide

If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to collect and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Most businesses that make less than $30,000 in any 12 month period are not required to charge HST; however, you can register voluntarily and claim input tax credits. Speak with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for more information.

Contact CRA:
Canada Revenue Agency


Canada Business can help you find government financing options for your business. There are programs that apply to businesses across Canada, and others that apply only to businesses in Ontario. Use the Canada Business financing search tool or browse by type of financing.

Search online:
Canada Business: Government grants and financing

For information on financing and non-financial support for technology and innovation entrepreneurs please refer to the following guides.

Technology and innovation: financial support
Technology and innovation: non-financial support

Other resources


From day-to-day operations to long-term planning, learn how to manage your business efficiently.


If you are interested in finding an association, use our secondary market research service request and have us search for one based on your needs.

Industry specific information

You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.