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Things to know

  • If you plan to establish a franchise system in Canada, you’ll need to comply with provincial franchise legislation in six provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and PEI)
  • Key points to consider include the following:
    • You’ll need to provide prospective franchisees (including renewing or resale franchisees) with a franchise disclosure document (FDD) 14 days before they sign your franchise agreement or pay any money to you
    • You can’t use your FDD from another country
    • Your FDD must be customized for each franchisee
  • Not complying with franchise laws exposes you to significant financial risk - non-compliance gives franchisees civil remedies and rights of action
  • Depending on how you structure the relationship, you may need to register your business in Canada or pay Canadian taxes

Things to do

  • Revise your franchise agreement so that it works in Canada
  • Draft a national franchise disclosure document (FDD) for Canada, and structure it so that it is easy to customize
  • Consider using a master franchise or area developer model instead of direct franchising
  • Apply to register your trademarks and secure your “.ca” domain names
  • Avoid providing any information (particularly financial information) to prospective franchisees that you don’t intend to include in the disclosure document
  • Consider whether to incorporate a new entity to be the franchisor in Canada
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