How to work as an independant in Canada/Quebec
Thread poster: Mohamed Mehenoun

Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
Nov 25, 2014

Hello everybody,

This message is directed to the colleagues working in Canada and specifically in Quebec ;

I received my selection certificate and was wondering what does it get to freelance in Canada here are my most bugging questions :

1. Do I need a company structure to start working ?

2. Do I need to be certfied or to have done translation studies to offer translation services ?

3. How do I manage the whole financial thing ? Do I need a business acount ? How do you do the taxes ? Is it legal to work for international clients or do I need a special permit ?

Feel free to fill me in on anything I could be missing.

Kind regards,



John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:25
Member (2008)
French to English
Working in Quebec Nov 25, 2014

If you are working as a freelancer in Quebec under your own name you do not need to register a company.

If you have less than $30,000 CAD in total worldwide sales per year you do not need to register for sales tax. However, you will not be able to get your sales taxes paid on any purchases refunded if you are not registered. If you anticipate more than $30,000 in annual sales you would be better to register early, it just means some more paperwork, but you get advantage of Quebec's VAT style taxes.

You do not need to be certified or have undertaken any studies to work as a freelance translator. However, in this case you cannot claim to be a "certified translator". Neither will you be able to work directly with certain government departments which require a certified translator. There is plenty of work translating between French and English even if you are not certified, assuming, of course, that you are an excellent translator. In due course you may wish to obtain certification by OTTIAQ.

You do not need any permit to work with international clients.

You are not obliged to have a business account if you operate in your own name, although your bank may start asking you to if you do business in large amounts of money. That is, however, between you and your bank, not a requirement.

You are responsible to keep accurate accounts and report your income accurately to both the Quebec government and the Federal government. You should keep all your records and substantiating documents for 7 years in case you are audited. (I have had 3 tax audits over the years. In each case the government auditor found the government owed me a small sum, so there is nothing to worry about from an audit as long as your records are clean and complete.)

[Edited at 2014-11-25 20:01 GMT]


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 01:25
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Excellent info Nov 27, 2014

Excellent information John, it covers everything.

I would only add a personal suggestion: I keep a separate accounts in different banks for my personal and business banking, so that the two never get mixed up. If you don't work under your own name but have a company name, I would recommend registering, so that that name is taken and cannot be used by anyone else. You would only need to register, not incorporate, but an accountant to do your taxes is then mandatory. I would recommend that in any case, unless you are really good with numbers.

Good luck!


Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
Thank you Nov 27, 2014

Thank you both for Your enlightening explanations.


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How to work as an independant in Canada/Quebec

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