Grab the Ultimate Checklist for Running a Business Online in Canada

Are Waivers Legit and Can They Protect My Business?

Have you ever been about to ride a horse, jump in a kayak or play hockey and someone sticks a clipboard in front of you at the last minute, asking you to sign a waiver?  

I have had the question many times - "Are these Waivers legit?  Do they work?" 

They can be if you are doing them right.  

Purpose of Waivers

If there is a particular risk in your business that you want the client or customer to be responsible for AND NOT THE BUSINESS, you can shift this responsibility in a waiver.

When to Get a Waiver Signed

One party - your customer - wants to participate in a risky activity (skiing, trampoline, zip line, etc.). and the other party - your business wants to protect itself from liabilities relating to this activity.

In exchange, the customer signs a waiver and release regarding liability claims in order to participate.  If they do not wish to sign, they can not participate.

This could be in a volunteer or business activity - it may be the...

Continue Reading...

Five Estate Planning Tips for Canadian Online Business Owners

No one wants to talk about death.  I totally get it.  But as Benjamin Franklin famously said "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

So for business owners, including online business owners, it is important to do some planning to protect both your business value and also your family members.

Why should I care - I'll be Dead!

One of the inspirations for writing this article now was the recent CBC article featuring my friend Dianne Taylor.   Dianne's grief was compounded when her spouse Tim died suddenly and had not been aware that his RRSP designation was still in favour of his mother, not his spouse.  The laws of Nova Scotia did not help her recover their retirement savings.

If you think that you don't need to worry about your estate planning because you will be dead, think about your family.  They will be the ones left to deal with the consequences.

So onto my top five estate planning tips for Canadian Online...

Continue Reading...

Five Legal Steps to Start Your Canadian Coaching Business on the Right Foot

In the past three years, I have helped many coaches, from business coaches to health coaches to life coaches (and many more) to start and grow their businesses online.

Here are my five legal steps to help you start your Canadian Coaching business on the right foot, whatever your type of coaching practice.

  1. Choose a legal structure and register your business in your province.  

When you start a business in Canada, you have a choice of three legal structures - sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation.  

Most businesses start as a sole proprietorship because it is the most simple and inexpensive way to start.  If you start this way, you can change your legal structure down the road when you grow.

Sole Proprietorship

Running your coaching business as a sole proprietorship is the most simple and straightforward option.  You don’t need to create a separate legal entity, but you're required to register a business name if you're using a name...

Continue Reading...

How Can I Use Licensing to Grow My Business?

Licensing is simply giving another person or business the right to use your property with certain conditions for a fee. In the online space, this is usually copyright-protected works (like photos, videos or an online course or membership) or trademarks (like a brand logo).

If you are a creator of content, learning about content will help you understand how to protect your content but also what rights to offer in order to scale and grow.

If you want to use other people's content or brand, learning about licensing will help you understand what to look for in a licensing relationship.

I get many questions about licensing from physical product creators as well (like crafters and makers) who want to give some limited rights to their creations to other people or businesses to use for a fee.

When you listen to your new favourite tune on Spotify or Apple Music, you are using the music pursuant to certain licensing terms. Same when you purchase a stock photo or make an image on Canva.

Like most...

Continue Reading...

Avoid Nasty Surprises with Proper Insurance Coverage for Your Online Business

Having commercial insurance for your online business is an important part of your risk management strategies, along with having written contracts and considering your legal structure.

There are five important types of commercial insurance that you should consider for your online business:

Commercial General Liability Policy ("CGL")

A CGL policy is the basic liability policy that every business requires.  You may think of it as relating to having a physical space, but it also includes some important additional coverages. 

A CGL policy primarily covers two main risks  (1) Bodily Injury to third parties - think someone slipping and falling on your premises and (2) Property damage to third party property.  These could happen on your business premises, on public property or at a client’s premises and could result from your actions or inactions of you or your employees.

A CGL policy may also contain important extensions including a Non-Owned Automobile Liability...

Continue Reading...

Getting Paid As A Business Owner and How a Legal Contract Can Help

You did the work.  Now your client is not paying.  What are you supposed to do?

You want to preserve the relationship and not be too confrontational but not getting paid is an issue for your cash flow and the financial stability of your business.

Here are some tips for collecting accounts receivable now outstanding, and improving the situation in the future:

Check the Contract

While legal contracts can help you to set clear expectations with your clients up front, they are also super helpful in a situation where your clients are not paying you.

Having a binding legal contract means that you can ENFORCE the terms of the contract.  So the first thing to check is to see what the contract says in regard to fees and payment terms.

Are the fees due clear in your client contract? Your client contract should state how fees will be calculated whether they are hourly, daily or fixed fees based on certain project stages.  Have you added on amounts for additional work beyond...

Continue Reading...

5 Legal Tips and Templates for Podcasters

Podcasts continue to grow in popularity, including for business owners who are looking to generate new leads, establish their expertise and grow their community.

As with other aspects of business, there are some legal issues to be considered.  Here are my top 5 legal tips:

#1 - The content of your podcast is protected by copyright law and owned by the host.

This copyright protection, which is worldwide, is automatic upon creation.  The creator of the podcast (the host) has the exclusive right to use this content unless permission (i.e. a license) is given.  You can assert your rights through a copyright notice - i.e. (c) Legal Essentials Inc. 2021.  All Rights Reserved.  Advanced tip - if you have co-hosts for your podcast, you should agree on who owns what upfront (like a prenup) in case you decide to part ways.

#2 - If you have a separate podcast producer from the host, you should have a legal agreement with them.  

This agreement should...

Continue Reading...

I built a website. Now what do I legally need in Canada?

If you have built a new website or have done a refresh to your old website (to get rid of the website shame you were feeling), congratulations!

A lot of business owners that I talk to have either not focused on the legal requirements for their website or are relying on their web developers or web designers to have included what they need.

Don't Assume Your Web Person Has Got This Handled

In my experience, most web developers and web designers are focused on the user experience and design of your website, but not the legal stuff.  They may pull a template from somewhere, but very few of them customize the website templates for Canadians and for your specific business needs.

So what to do?  I’ve got you covered.

Privacy Policy - You are required by law in Canada (PIPEDA and provincial laws) to have a privacy policy when you are collecting “personal information”.  Personal Information is any information about an identifiable individual.  ...

Continue Reading...

Is your brand too descriptive to be registered as a Trademark in Canada?

Registering a trademark can be an important part of protecting your business brand online.  

If you want to read more about how copyright protects your content online, you can refer to this article.

So if you are in the early days of creating your brand, there are a couple of things to be thinking about before you spend a ton of money and energy on marketing. 

The most obvious first step is to do a Canadian trademark search so that you know that there are no similar words or logos that are already registered for your category of goods or services.

But an often overlooked NEXT STEP is to think about whether the brand - being a product name, for instance, is too DESCRIPTIVE, to be registered (and therefore protected as a Trademark.

From the Trademark Guide of Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), these are some trademarks that can not be registered:

Trademarks that are generally unregistrable include the following:

  1. Names and surnames;
  2. Clearly descriptive...
Continue Reading...

I just started my online business.  What do I need legally in Canada?

Congratulations on starting your online business.  Whether you have been running this business offline for a while or whether this is a brand new business to you, there are a lot of things to think about legally, especially for Canadian online businesses.

This article will help you understand what you need to do legally to protect yourself and your business and to set yourself up for success on a strong legal foundation.

The Four Legal Protections To Put On Your Website

When you have an online business, your website is where you welcome new people.  It’s like your storefront on the internet.  You may have spent some time making your website look sharp and tweaking your message and content, but you also need these four legal things:

  1. Privacy Policy - You are required by law in Canada (PIPEDA and provincial laws) to have a privacy policy when you are collecting “personal information”.  Your privacy policy will contain certain information including...
Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5
Close

50% Complete

Keep in Touch

By providing your name and e-mail address, you agree to receive weekly e-mails with entertaining stories, legal tips and tools and new product announcements.