How to Start an Alternative and Complementary Healthcare Business in Ontario
Table of Contents
Alternative and Complementary healthcare includes a wide variety of services. Before opening your business, consider the types of services you will provide.
Some common alternative and complementary healthcare services are:
- Homeopathic medicine
- Massage Therapy
- Naturopathic medicine
- Natural Health Products (such as herbal remedies, and traditional medicine)
- Therapeutic Touch
This guide will give you an overview of the requirements for starting your business.
When you start a business there are several things to consider before you can sell your product or service. Most businesses in Ontario need to complete a minimum of three basic steps:
- Find out what licences and regulations apply to your type of business
- Choose a business structure and register or incorporate your business
- Determine if you will need to collect and remit HST
Our business start-up guide will give you more information on these steps and other basic requirements for starting a business in Ontario.
Starting a Business
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 the Canada Business Permits and Licences Search, powered by BizPaL, to find licences and regulations that may affect your business. You can also contact us to speak to someone about starting your business.
Permits and licences search
Some common licences, permits and regulations that may apply to starting your business include:
Food and drug regulations
Many alternative and complementary healthcare products, such as alternative medications and chiropractic devices, are regulated by Health Canada through the Food and Drugs Act. Learn more about how the Act may affect your business.
Contact Health Canada:
Some of the most common Health Canada regulations that may apply to your business include:
Therapeutic and cosmetic products
If your services include the use or sale of cosmetics and therapeutics products, including soaps, deodorants and creams, you need to be aware of requirements for manufacturing, labelling, distributing and selling these products.
Therapeutic and Cosmetic Products
If you will be producing and selling your own alternative or therapeutic cosmetic products, learn more about the ingredient labelling standards.
Natural health product regulations
Find out what is required to manufacture or sell natural health products including:
- Herbal remedies
- Homeopathic medicines
Natural and Non-prescription Health Products
Medical devices regulations
When you use medical devices in your business, make sure that they are authorized for use in Canada and meet Health Canada’s safety and quality regulations.
Health product advertising
You may only advertise drug and health products that have been approved for sale in Canada and your advertisement must be approved.
Regulatory requirements for advertising
Certification and training
You may need formal certification and training to provide alternative and complementary healthcare services. Make sure that you are aware of the requirements that apply to the type of services you plan to offer.
Some alternative healthcare professionals are licensed or registered with a sector-specific college. For information on certification and training, contact the appropriate association for details.
You can find a list of regulatory bodies for the health sector on the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care website.
When your business uses recorded music, you are responsible for obtaining the right licence(s) for that use. The Copyright Board of Canada works with individual copyright collective societies who provide music licensing. Contact the following two organizations for more information.
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) Music Licence
SOCAN is a not-for-profit organization that represents the performance rights of music creators and music publishers. They can help you learn about your obligations and obtaining the required licence(s).
Tariffs & forms - Music in a business
Re:Sound Music Licensing Company
Re:Sound is the Canadian not-for-profit organization that represents the performance rights of artists and record companies, and provides the legally required licence(s) for businesses. You can get help determining what licence(s) will be required, what the licensing process will be and how much it will cost.
You can contact Pro Bono Ontario’s free legal advice hotline to enquire about getting help with your everyday civil legal needs (no family law or criminal law). The service is generally aimed at those who cannot afford a lawyer.
Note that service is not guaranteed and you will be asked questions as part of the qualifying process, such as the amount of personal income earned by your household, your name, postal code and age range.
Contact Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline:
You can also contact the Law Society of Upper Canada's Law Society Referral Service if you have legal questions of a business nature. The service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.
Law Society Referral Service
Depending on your location and the type of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.
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.
Canada Revenue Agency
Canada Business can help you find government financing options for your business. There are programs that apply to businesses across Canada and others that apply only to businesses in Ontario. Use the Canada Business financing search tool or browse by type of financing.
Canada Business: Government grants and financing
From day-to-day operations to long-term planning, learn how to manage your business efficiently.
If you are interested in finding an association, use our secondary market research service request and have us search for one based on your needs.
Industry specific information
- Health Canada guidance documents
- MedEffet Canada
- Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
- Organic products sector
- Functional foods and natural health products
- Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research (IN-CAM)
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.