Archives for supported self employment

Different Approaches for Finding Employment


Know the different approaches that agencies use to find employment for people with intellectual disabilities. Some agencies conduct ongoing
training until the person with a disability is ready for a job. However, we hear and know that traininga person wiuth a disability until they are "ready" for a job has not been effective – people have been in “training” for many years and they have not graduated to employment. An alternative approach to getting sutainable employment for a person with an intellectual disability is to place the person with a disability in a job carved out based on their preferences and then systematically train for the tasks to achieve a real job for real pay.
This approach, according to the literature, creates more success for
people with disabilities (in Real Work for Real Pay: Inclusive Employment for
People with Disabilities

Why choose (supported) self-employment? What are the main challenges?


People opt to enter the world of self-employment for many reasons. These include: 

  • Flexibility in setting work hours
  • Shaping activities around personal skills, needs, and preferences
  • The sense of autonomy that comes with being one’s own boss
  • The possibility of making more money for oneself, rather than for someone else
  • Avoiding competition for traditional employment
  • Contributing to the community by providing a needed product or service
  • Building capacity with respect to business skills
  • Broadening community connections
  • Experiencing a sense of increased pride 

Self-employment does not come without obstacles and challenges. These include: 

  • Time lag between business launch and profitable outcomes
  • Longer hours than traditional employment, especially at start-up
  • Access to start-up funding
  • Naysayers who believe that self-employment is not possible
  • Requirements to complete paperwork
  • A need for space to operate the business
  • Fear of losing PWD income support
  • A comparative lack of disability-related support such as job coaches, attendant care, assistive technology, and transportation

What is an income statement?


The income statement is the most used and closely scrutinized financial statement, and reflects the financial position of a business over a span of time.  The income statement reflects sales minus expenses, resulting in a net profit or loss (also called ‘the bottom line’). This is the amount that is taxed at year-end.

What is a balance sheet?


The balance sheet is, simply put, a demonstration of what the company owns and what it owes on a specific day. This document is sometimes called a ‘statement of financial position’.  Items that the business owns are called assets, and can include cash and investments, accounts receivable (money owed by clients), and different types of equipment. Amounts that the business owes are called liabilities, and can include accounts payable (or bills owing to suppliers), and loans to be paid.  Why is this document called a ‘balance sheet’? The assets are equal to the liabilities plus the owner’s equity (or shareholders’ equity, in the case of corporations). The owner’s equity section of the balance sheet consists of the total draws and contributions of the owner to date, plus the accumulated profits and losses of the business since the day it opened its doors (this is called ‘retained earnings’).

How to track self-employment car expenses


When a business owner is using a vehicle for both personal and business use, the same philosophy applies as with the home business expenses. Where square footage was used in the home calculation, kilometres driven are used for the vehicle calculation.

Over the course of the year, the business owner maintains an envelope in the car, where all car expenses are stored. These include gas, repairs, insurance (and interest payments if the car is financed).  At the end of the year, the business owner then calculates what percentage of those bills are business expenses.

This is directly tied to the kilometres driven for business purposes over the course of the year. To begin to calculate business kilometres driven, the total kilometres driven are required. This is calculated by subtracting the odometer reading at the beginning of the year from the year-end odometer reading.  Over the course of the year, it is essential to keep a logbook noting details of all business trips. After each business use of the car, the date, purpose of the trip, and number of kilometres driven should be noted. At the end of the year, adding the business kilometres in the logbook will provide the second half of the calculation.  Then, divide the total kilometres driven (derived from the odometer reading) by the business kilometres driven (from the logbook). This will provide the percentage of business use of the vehicle.

If the business is a GST registrant, this is the percentage of GST on vehicle bills that can be claimed for credit as well.  This percentage is then applied to all vehicle bills. This is the amount that can be claimed as a business expense. Traditionally, the motor vehicle expense doesn’t appear on the income statement until year-end, due to the fact that the allowable business use portion of expenses (km percentage) isn’t known until the year’s logbook is totalled.

How to file business documents


Many people feel compelled to file their expenses by month (once they have been recorded), but this can be a disaster when trying to retrieve a specific document. Instead, set up a different file for each vendor that is used frequently (e.g. BC Hydro, Telus, Staples, etc.), and a different file for different types of expenses that are not covered by regular vendors (e.g. licenses and dues, meals, office supplies, postage, etc.). If copies are required by MHSD, make sure that these are taken before filing the originals.  File the most recent documents at the front of each folder so that they are the most accessible.  Hanging file folders with visible tabbing work great, in a filing cabinet or banker’s box that leaves space for manoeuvrability.

How to get a business license


A municipal business license must be obtained by any business, regardless of its size, where it is based (e.g. in the home or in a commercial space), or how frequently it engages in active sales (e.g. seasonal businesses).  The license is obtained at the Municipal or City Hall in which the business operates. Prices vary by municipality and the scope of the venture, but generally, small businesses can expect to pay approximately $140 annually for a business license.

How to register a business name


     A business name must be registered with the BC Registrar of Companies if the plan is to operate under a business name as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited company (corporation).  If the plan is to operate ONLY under a first and last name (e.g. Bob Smith rather than Bob’s Candles), then there is no need to register the business. It must be stressed though, that although this may seem like an easy route, and therefore the best to take, with only a first and last name it will be more challenging to market the business. For example, Bob Smith and not Bob’s Candles would appear on business cards, marketing materials, etc. In addition, Bob would not be able to open a business bank account. So, for the added steps and minimal cost involved (between $30 and $45 to request the business name, and an additional $40 to register the business if it’s a sole proprietorship or partnership), going the ‘official’ route should be seriously considered.  

     Before registering, the business name must be approved by the provincial government. So, these are the two steps:a)  Obtain approval to use business name. b)  Register business.  

a) Business name approval request

Within the Fraser Valley, Community Futures South Fraser acts as a hub for enabling name approval requests and registrations. See for the location. Outside of the Fraser Valley area, a Name Approval Request Form can be downloaded, then mailed in to the Ministry of Finance in Victoria. At this time, the paperwork must be mailed in (or filed through a Community Futures office, a Government Agent, or a One-Stop Kiosk) as there is no email capability.

Note that the Name Approval Request is only the first step of two.  

     On the Name Approval Request Form, list three business name choices in order of preference. If the first one is approved, the other two will not be reviewed, so it is important to list the names in order of most preferred to least preferred. The price is the same whether listing one, two, or three choices, so it is best to choose three. If for example, only one choice is listed, and it is not approved, then the submission of a new form with a new fee payment would be required.  It is important to note that if another corporation already holds the name being requested, then it cannot be used. If another sole proprietorship or partnership already holds the name, then it can be used.  A business name must have three parts: a distinctive element (e.g. ‘June’s’); a descriptive element, (e.g. ‘Lawn Cutting’); a corporate designation (only if incorporated, e.g. Ltd., Inc., Limited).  Once the business name has been approved, 56 calendar days are granted to complete the business registration procedure. If the business is not registered within 56 days of name approval, the business name approval process will need to be undertaken all over again (including having to pay again).  

b) Business registration

To register a sole proprietorship or partnership, a Declaration for Proprietorship or Partnership Registration form must be submitted, along with the $40 fee, by mail, or online using the OneStop Business Registration website, at To complete small business registration, these items are needed: name approval request number; approved business name; the start date of the business; and a physical street address in BC .  To register a corporation, many entrepreneurs require the assistance of a lawyer, or notary public, and accountant. That said, some choose to incorporate without assistance. To complete corporate registration alone, these items are needed: name approval request number; approved business name; an Incorporation Agreement; and the company’s Articles of Incorporation.  A BC Incorporation Application can be filed online at a cost of just under $400. Once the Certificate of Incorporation is received, one must: Purchase a corporate minute book;       Purchase a corporate seal; Complete corporate by-laws, organizational minutes and issue shares; and set up a corporate bank account.