Want to be your own boss?

In Canada, lawsuits have swirled over a number of franchisors, including Pizza Pizza, 3-For-1 Pizza and Wings

The Toronto Sun
November 5, 1999

Want to be your own boss?
Linda Leatherdale


Ever dreamed of owning your own business?

Buying a franchise is one way to make that dream come true, and if the entrepreneurial bug is biting, drop into the National Franchise & Business Opportunities Show a the Toronto Congress Centre this weekend.

But, before you sign on any dotted line, you should know this: Like financial planning, the franchise business is unregulated in Ontario, even though Queen’s Park has promised legislation for years.

Former Ontario Consumer Minister David Tsubouchi, now solicitor general, drafted a bill a few years ago, but it never saw the light of day. Rumours are it will be passed into law during this mandate.

That leaves Alberta as the only province in Canada that enforces franchise laws, but those were watered down in 1995.

“We’re still hopeful,” says franchise lawyer Larry Weinberg, who points out Tsubouchi’s bill is similar to U.S. franchise laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. “If a franchisor, with a booth at a show, was to solicit that franchisees could make, let’s say $100,000 a week, the Federal Trade Commission would shut him down in a New York minute,” he says.

In Canada, lawsuits have swirled over a number of franchisors, including Pizza Pizza, 3-For-1 Pizza and Loeb.


Yet for every horror story, there’s a ton of successes, and they can make franchisees very rich, though try finding a McDonald’s Restaurant or Tim Horton’s franchise opportunity in the Greater Toronto area. There’s none to be had – which is why they won’t be exhibiting at this weekend’s show.

But, who will be there are some exciting ventures, like 2-4-1 Pizza; Quick Copy Printing, Canada’s largest printing franchise; Quisno’s Classic Subs; and Nickels Restaurants, which famous Canadian singer Celine Dion has a share in.

“The show has everything from food and restaurant opportunities, to travel, business and Internet services, landscape and decorating, automotive and more,” says show manager Shelley Mann of National Event Management.

To get in on the action, investments range from as little as $300 to as high as $350,000. The higher the cost, the more lucrative the business.

Mann advises: “Just remember to investigate before you invest.”

Weinberg, who’s with the law firm Cassels, Brock & Blackwell, says one way to protect yourself is to have a lawyer and an accountant study the deal before signing anything.

He adds the beauty of franchises is that the homework and marketing is already done. Plus, “you’re getting the right to use a recognized name.” Other benefits include


  • Getting expertise on the new business in a short time.
  • Volume purchasing power for equipment, inventory and supplies.
  • Group advertising.
  • System-wide innovation.
  • Assistance in getting a good location.

But there is a price.

“You’ll pay a royalty to the franchisor, which is usually based on a percentage of gross sales,” says Weinberg.

Show admission is $8, and free seminars are held every hour starting at noon and ending at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

The show’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Congress Centre is located at 650 Dixon Rd. For more info, call 905-477-2677 or 1-800-891-4859.

Watch Linda’s Money Show on Global’s Prime Network at 6:30 p.m. Sundays, and on ONtv at 2 p.m. Sundays.

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