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Old 08-06-2007, 11:18 AM
108 posts, read 475,820 times
Reputation: 43


My family has owned a restaurant and we live in the southern US. My mother's family is from Thunder Bay, Ontario. On a recent visit, my uncle pointed out a great restaurant for sale at a decent price by our local standards. I would be tempted to relocate and re-join some lost relatives, but a few things worry me:

1.) why do some people say that it is impossible to own a business in Canada? Here, I paid for our business: sales tax, unemployment tax, liability insurance, unemployment insurance, contributed to employee retirement, matching fed. tax, business licenses, all mandated by state or federal. How does this compare to Canada? What are the success rates for businesses in Ontario? Here, 90% of new restaurants fail within 3 years.

2.) My relatives all seem pretty happy with their country. My mom would never go back. Healthcare is a big issue. I'm not satisfied with US healthcare, and I actually think in 10 years, it is going to get a dose of the "socialized" medicine. My grandfather recently passed away in Canada, shortly after my family visited him. I believe that substandard care contributed to an unneedful death. However, in the US, if you make less than $75K, you can't afford healthcare. In this income level, we are better off contributing to a medical savings account and betting against a medical catastrophe. Seems liek we'd be in the same situation in CA, the higher taxes hopefully equivalent to our current contributions to medical account.

3.) Housing. WOAH! We live in the south, where you can buy a 3-4 BD on a nice lot for $275K. Where could you find this in Canada? We like rural, scenic areas that are near steady traffic and commerce.

4.) Attitudes towards Americans? In all of my visits to my relatives in my childhood, I never detected any animosity towards Americans. But recently on a visit, I overheard a storeowner conversing with a sales representative with American nicknacks for sale. She said that American items were not popular. She also said that her son was traveling in Australia, and was advised to wear Canadian ensignia to avoid being confused with American identity! Also, we noticed that our vehicle (with US plates) had been "keyed" while parked on the street outside a local restaurant. Is this a growing sentiment, or has this sort of "sibling rivalry" attitude always existed in Canadian/American exchange?

Thanks for any comments!
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Old 08-25-2007, 04:30 PM
2 posts, read 9,865 times
Reputation: 11
Hi MaryMel: You have raised a lot of good questions in your post. For a quick, basic reply, I would sum things up by saying that Canada is a great country to live in. As far as business opportunities go, as they relate to restaurants and other businesses, it really is not a whole lot different in Canada than anywhere else. You need to do a careful SWOT analysis of your potential business and intended business location (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and based on what you find upon completion of this analysis, you plan accordingly. For any business to succeed you need a good, viable workable plan.

Some things to consider about doing business in Canada:

1. Our tax rates and insurance rates may be a bit higher than your area in the US. You need to check out ALL the costs involved in running a business in your chosen location.

2. Population Base: Canada is a big country with a small population. You would need to locate your business in an area that has enough people and traffic to support your business.

Once you have carefully looked into these things, then the other things will start to fall into place for you.

Basically, Canadians are not quite as open and outgoing as Americans, but for the most part they are friendly and hard working, and once they get to know you most will become good friends with you.

I don't know what else to tell you except perhaps suggest that you take a holiday in Canada and pick some areas that you think you might like, then take it from there. Thunder Bay is a fairly large city with a good population base, and it is a very nice city after all is said and done.

Hope this helps!
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