Being undocumented means we cannot access basic services and benefits, such as Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), Employment Insurance (EI), or Canada Pension Plan (CPP), even if we pay taxes annually or contribute to the Canadian economy. Falling between the cracks of the immigration system means that we do not have valid Social Insurance Numbers (SINs), and are often forced into exploitative and precarious jobs where we face unpaid wages, deplorable working conditions, and abusive employers.

As a way to resist this system, many of us open businesses. Anyone within Ontario can open up a business or sole proprietorship regardless of immigration status. This gives us an opportunity to apply for more jobs, gain our own income, support our families and communities, and develop a sense of agency over our lives!

Sharing Our Experiences

As a way to continue building resistance, we created a toolkit or guide of how to start a business when undocumented. Financial Resistance When Undocumented: How to Open Up a Business provides information about the different levels of businesses within Ontario, such as sole proprietorships, corporations, co-operatives, and nonprofits, and helpful tips about the various processes. This is knowledge gathered by interviewing current and former undocumented entrepreneurs in the community. We are the experts of our own lives, which is why we wanted to create a guide with our experiences and knowledge that many of us hold. Only we know what it is like to survive and thrive within a system that makes us feel like we do not belong.

We work, live, play, shop, and contribute to our communities, and we deserve to live a life with dignity like everyone else!We hope this toolkit supports you with your journey here in Canada. Remember: we can only thrive together when our community is safe and healthy!

Get the Toolkit

The toolkit is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese

Click here to read our summary report in English.

Download Toolkit!