::this post ID is 18034::::in categories of ..Legal Corner....Retail..::

Q&A With Frank Zaid: Legal and regulatory challenges of operating retail businesses

Federal legislation requires specific nutrition labelling for prepackaged foods sold at retail.
Photo courtesy M&M Food Market

Provincial requirements
There are also common requirements under provincial legislation, which differ somewhat across the country. The following are some examples:

  • Business name registration—This is required whenever a business uses a name other than its legal name. The registration may include a Business Identification Number (BIN) and can generally be used at financial institutions to establish proof of a business name.
  • Workers’ compensation registration—Businesses with employees will likely be subject to legislation regarding workplace safety and insurance and workers’ compensation, whereby the employer must pay into an insurance fund through payroll deductions. Registration with the relevant provincial board is required upon the employment of a worker.
  • Employer health tax registration—Some provincial governments administer a comprehensive plan of health insurance for residents. Unless exempted, most employers with a permanent establishment in the province must register with the relevant government body to pay taxes into these plans.
  • Food premises licence—Businesses that sell food are required to obtain a food premises licence in certain provinces.
  • Liquor licence—Businesses that sell or serve alcohol on their premises are separately required, in most provinces, to obtain a liquor sales licence from the relevant provincial department or board.
  • Lottery ticket retail approval—Businesses that sell lottery tickets may be to obtain approval by and register with a provincial lottery entity.
  • Tobacco dealer’s licence—This may be required for a business to sell tobacco products at retail within a given province.
  • Contest registration—In Quebec, any retail business that is conducting a contest must register with, report to and pay a fee to the provincial government, based on the value of the prizes to be awarded.
  • Commercial sign permit—Retail businesses rely on signs for public visibility. When planning to install or alter a sign, they may be required to obtain a permit and comply with certain bylaws that restrict size, brightness and location.
  • Electrical wiring permit—This permit is required to authorize licensed contractors to carry out electrical installations at a retail store. Professional inspections may be required before and after
    the installations.
  • Elevator licence—Multi-storey retail stores (such as some Shoppers Drug Mart franchises) and other buildings that contain elevators are usually required to obtain a licence for their operation and maintenance.
  • Gas business licence—This is required for the storage or distribution of gas, the installation, repair, servicing or maintenance of gas burning appliances or equipment and piping systems and the selling, renting or leasing of any gas burning equipment other than portable camping gear.
  • Boiler and pressure vessel installation permit—In some provinces, registration or a permit may be required to ensure the installation of a boiler and/or pressure vessel meets an acceptable standard of quality.
  • Commercial vehicle operator registration—Any business that uses a bus or truck, e.g. for the delivery of retail products to customers, may be required to register as a commercial vehicle operator within its province.
  • Waste diversion registration—Legislation has been enacted in several provinces to provide for the development, funding and operation of waste diversion programs. Unless exempted (usually by size), businesses—including franchises—may be obligated to register and/or pay for the distribution of waste into the marketplace for recycling.
  • Liquid industrial and/or hazardous waste generator registration—Some provincial governments require businesses to evaluate their waste and if it is found to include hazardous or liquid industrial waste, then the business must register with the applicable provincial authority.

Municipal regulations
Municipal governments also generally have the authority to regulate businesses within their jurisdictions. The way they do so, however, varies across the country.

The required permits and licences at a local level may include a simple business licence or permit, a sign permit and an occupancy permit. There will also likely be myriad municipal registrations and approvals required when planning to construct a retail building or facility—and these frequently involve long lead times.

As there may be no uniformity throughout a province regarding municipal regulations for businesses, it is very important for each franchisee within a retail system to consult with local officials to determine how specifically his/her business will be affected by licensing, permits or registrations.

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