2SLGBTQI+ Business Guide

Table of contents

Introduction
Regulations
Financing
Taxation
Training and mentorship
Travelling abroad for business
Other resources

Introduction

2SLGBTQI+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Plus) entrepreneurs help to build a vibrant and diverse business community in Ontario. From small, independently run businesses to large corporations and social enterprises, 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs help power the economy. This guide will provide you with links and resources for your business.

You can also read our Business Start-Up Guide or contact us for information on starting a new business in Ontario.

If you would like to learn more about the Federal Action Plan to address inequities faced by 2SLGBTQI+ communities, contact the 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat.

Contact 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat:
1-866-811-0055  
2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat

2SLGBTQI+ Visibility

Statistics Canada (StatsCan) surveys and the Canadian Census are providing more detailed data on the 2SLGBTQI+ community. You can explore the growing data available on the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub. Workshops and training are available to help you learn how to use that data.

Contact StatsCan:
1-800-263-1136
Gender, diversity and inclusion statistics
Workshops, training and conferences

Regulations

Regulations

Your business may need licences and permits from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.

In addition to the information you will find in this guide, you can use BizPaL to find licences and regulations that may affect your business.

Use online:
Permits and licences search

Financing

Financing

Grants, contributions, subsidies and loan guarantees are available from various government sources. Use Innovation Canada’s online search tool to look for programs and services that may apply to your business.

Search online:
Business Benefits Finder


The following organizations offer financial support programs that may apply to some or all of the members of the 2SLGBTQI+ communities in Canada:

Funding for women and gender equality

If you are planning a project that will have a direct impact on women or address equality for sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression in your community, you may be eligible for funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE).

Contact WAGE: 
1-855-969-9922 
Funding for women and gender equality

2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat

You may be able to find funding programs relevant to your activities on the 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat website. The secretariat helps link 2SLGBTQI+ stakeholders with relevant federal organizations who offer funding opportunities.

Contact 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat: 
1-866-811-0055
2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat - Funding opportunities and how to apply

Futurpreneur Canada Start-up Program

You may be eligible for financing (up to $60,000), mentoring and additional resources for young entrepreneurs, from Futurpreneur Canada. 

To be eligible, you should:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 39
  • Create a business plan for a business that will employ you full time
  • Agree to work with a mentor for up to two years
  • Own at least 51% of your business

Contact Futurpreneur Canada:
1-800-464-2923
Futurpreneur Canada

Taxation

Taxation

Depending on your location and the type of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.

Read online:
Taxation guide

If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to collect and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Most businesses that make less than $30,000 in any 12-month period are not required to charge HST; however, you can register voluntarily and claim input tax credits. Speak with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for more information.

Contact CRA:
1-800-959-5525
Canada Revenue Agency

Training and mentorship

Skills, knowledge, and networking can all contribute to running a successful business. Training and mentorship programs can give you hands-on experience in the field and put you in contact with other 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs. The following resources provide information on mentorship and training programs for 2SLGBTQI+ businesses.

Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC)

CGLCC is a national not-for-profit organization, that works to empower Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ business community. It offers programs that cover general business needs, tools to grow your business, networking events and mentoring for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. As a member you could access support for:

Contact CGLCC
1-866-300-7556
Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce

Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN)

If you are starting or growing a women led or gender non-binary led social enterprise, you may be eligible for business support programs. 

Programs include:

  • One-to-one coaching for your business
  • A support system for entrepreneurs seeking to be investment-ready
  • A free, 9 week program for those developing their business idea
  • Support for entrepreneurs and changemakers facing the challenges of growing their venture

The programs aim to support women-identified and gender non-binary entrepreneurs from under-served and under-represented communities including Indigenous women, women in rural or remote regions, racialized women, newcomer women, 2SLGBTQI+, and women with disabilities.

Contact WOSEN:
Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN)
 

Additional 2SLGBTQI+ friendly resources for women and women identified entrepreneurs can be found in our Women in Business Guide.

Travelling abroad for business

Travelling can pose serious challenges to 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. Before visiting locations outside Canada you may wish to learn about your destination’s laws and customs related to sexual orientation and gender expression in addition to the local business practices. 

You can access information for 2SLGBTQI+ travelers on the Travel.gc.ca website:
2SLGBTQI+ travel 

Export Development Canada (EDC) also has information on travel considerations for 2SLGBTQI+ exporters:
Exporting with Pride

Other resources

Government resources

Not-for-profit and government affiliated resources