The idea of franchising is popular amongst those who dream of being in business, but simply don’t have the resources or experience to start out on their own. When franchising, they can rely on the experience of well established businesses as a way of learning all the how-to’s of running a successful business.
Whether you’re an established franchisee or considering becoming a franchisor in Ontario, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Ontario’s franchise legislation. The Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure) was first introduced in 2000 for the purpose of helping potential franchisors, as well as franchisees make more informed decisions when you chose to invest. The legislation protects franchisees by providing the right to associate and share information with other franchisees, so you can share information about your business experiences before entering into or during your franchise agreement.
Furthermore, under new legislation the franchisor is required to provide a disclosure document at least 14 days before you sign an agreement or provide any payment. The disclosure documents should include details of the franchise’s background and the offer such as:
- Business background
- Litigation history
- Financial statements
- Costs (e.g. deposits or fees)
- Copies of proposed franchise agreements
- A description of any exclusive territory
- Any restrictions
- The franchisor’s policy on volume rebates
- Conditions of termination, renewal or transfer of the agreement
- A description of the franchisor´s mediation process, if one is used
- Training and other assistance programs
- Advertising funds
- A list of their current and former franchisees
Before signing any offer or providing payment, you are highly encouraged to seek a franchise lawyer. To determine whether or not the franchise has provided a fair and honest representation of the proposed agreement in the disclosure document and to verify it is compliant with the Act as required.
Get in touch with an experienced franchise lawyer at Law Works in Vaughan, we’ll be happy to answer all your questions and provide the guidance you need to make these important decisions.