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Starting a Bus Tour Company in Ontario

Expert: CO Staff & Felix D'Mello

Lee asked:

I would like to start a bus tour company in Ontario selling overnight trips I have created. I would also be the tour guide. What is required legally to start this?

CO Staff & Felix D'Mello answered:

Our Starting a Business Guide has several articles that outline your legal obligations when starting a new business, such as registering the business and identifying the taxes you must collect and remit to the government. This article in particular should be helpful to you:

Starting a New Business: 10 Steps to Your Own Business

Since you plan on starting a bus tour company you will also need to take care of additional licensing requirements. We spoke with Felix D'Mello, Board Secretary at the Ontario Highway Transport Board to find out what special licenses are required for tour bus operators.

Felix explained that "... passenger transportation in public vehicles into, out of, through and within Ontario is regulated under the Public Vehicles Act (inter-provincial) and the Motor Vehicle Transport Act of Canada (extra-provincial). The Ontario Highway Transport Board administers these statutes."

He also explained that it can be quite complex for a lay person to understand what is needed when starting a new business such as yours. Felix recommends that you contact the Ontario Highway Transport Board, so that they can ask you a variety of questions such as what type of vehicle will be involved, where will the trips begin, end, etcetera. Based on your answers they will then be able to point you to the correct forms and requirements for your specific business.

You can reach OHTB at 416-326-6732.

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