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Businesses can do business in several legal forms. Below is a brief description of the main legal forms of business.

Sole Proprietorship

It is a sole proprietorship that is operated by one person, often referred to as self-employed or self-employed .

Such an enterprise does not have a legal existence distinct from its owner and has neither legal personality nor distinct patrimonies.

In short, when a natural person operates a sole proprietorship, it is often said that he is “self-employed”. Moreover, as this person is the sole owner of the business, it is she who derives all profits and who suffers all losses, if any.

Joint stock company (company)

A corporation (also known as company or corporation ) is a separate legal entity. As such, it has its own rights and obligations. In Quebec, joint stock companies are incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act. At the federal level, they are incorporated by the Canada Business Corporations Act.

The purpose of a corporation is to carry on a business in order to realize profits that will be distributed among its shareholders, if any.

Characteristics of a corporation:

  • it has an existence distinct from that of its shareholders;
  • she owns property in her own name;
  • it has rights and obligations and responsibilities;
  • it signs contracts through its directors;
  • it can sue or be prosecuted in the same way as a natural person.

Société en nom collectif (S.E.N.C.)

A partnership is a group of persons, called partners , who agree, in a spirit of collaboration, to carry on a common activity. The purpose of the partners of a partnership is to carry on a business, to contribute to it by pooling property, knowledge or activities and to share between them the pecuniary benefits and the resulting losses.

Such a company is created by means of a partnership agreement and must be named under a name common to the partners. They are jointly and severally liable for certain debts and obligations of the company, regardless of the respective share of each in the company.

This may be, for example, offices of professionals (lawyers, notaries, dentists, etc.).

The partnership has a head office (principal place of business), a name of its own, and can take legal action, that is, it can sue and be sued.

Limited Partnership (S.E.C.)

A limited partnership consists of one or more general partners and one or more limited partners who are required to contribute to the common fund of the corporation. It is created by means of a partnership agreement and must be named under a name common to the partners.

The sponsors provide their work, experience and expertise. They are the only people authorized to administer and represent the company. They have joint and several liability with respect to the debts of the company.

The capital contribution to the limited partnership is the responsibility of the limited partners. Limited partners provide money or property to the corporation and their liability in respect of the debts of the corporation is limited to their contributions in the corporation.

The limited partnership has a head office (principal place of business) with its own name and can take legal action, that is, it can sue and be sued.

Joint Undertaking

It is a company which is not a legal entity and has no legal personality, and whose partners act in their own name on behalf of all. Any Québec partnership or partnership that is not registered is considered a joint venture.

The constituting agreement of the joint venture may be written or verbal or may result from facts that indicate the intention to associate.

Nonprofit corporation

A not-for-profit corporation is a group of persons engaged in non-profit activities in the cultural, social, philanthropic, national, patriotic, religious, charitable, scientific, artistic, professional, athletic, athletic, educational or other fields.

Characteristics of a non-profit corporation:

  • it has an existence distinct from that of its members;
  • she has her own name, home and property;
  • it has rights and obligations and responsibilities;
  • it signs contracts through its directors;
  • she may sue or be prosecuted as a natural person;
  • it does not have share capital and its members do not incur any responsibility for it.

Syndicate of co-ownership

A syndicate of co-ownership is a legal person governed by the Civil Code of Québec and made up of all the co-owners of a divided co-ownership. It is constituted by the publication of the declaration of co-ownership in the Land Registry. Its purpose is the conservation of the building, the maintenance and administration of the common elements, the safeguarding of the rights relating to the building or the co-ownership as well as all the operations of common interest.

Association or group of people

An association is a group of people united in a common interest, other than the realization of profits to be shared among the members, whose activities are aimed at promoting the study, defense and development of the economic, social or moral interests of its members. .

A group of persons means any gathering, other than an association, of two or more persons who share a common interest (whether or not pecuniary). It may be a nominal company, an expense company, an economic interest group (such as a consortium or a joint venture) or other.


A cooperative is a legal entity that includes persons who have common economic, social or cultural needs and who, in order to meet them, join forces to carry on a business in accordance with the rules of cooperative action.

It is a legal person distinct from its members. The liability of these is limited to the value of the shares they have subscribed.

Trust operating a commercial business

A commercial business trust is a trust that carries on an economic activity that is organized for the purpose of generating profits. In particular, business trusts, investment trusts and real estate transaction trusts are considered to be trusts operating a business enterprise.

The trustee administers the property of the trust in the manner provided for in the constituting act. The trustee therefore has essentially the same mission in the trust as the director of a corporation.

The trust is established in favor of the beneficiary, who benefits from the profits generated by the trust according to the terms of the constituting act.

Our service:

Our service is to help you incorporate or register your business, depending on its legal form. In addition, we provide corporate bookkeeping services and we take care of any changes required to ensure your company’s compliance with applicable laws and rules.

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