School's In: Dogged Determination - LawNow Magazine

School’s In: Dogged Determination

Download this lesson plan as a PDF worksheet.

hotdogTo the Teachers:

Activities in this lesson are designed for students taking Law Studies in high schools. The activities are created to teach students about becoming entrepreneurs of small businesses, a venture they could pursue during the summer holidays.

Students will read the story about Kelly and the small business she wants to start during the summer holidays. They will then answer questions pertaining to the various legal requirements of starting a small business. Students will then use the website BizPal to create their own businesses in a town or city in the province or territory of their choice, and learn about the various permits needed to run their businesses.

To the Students:

The government has put in place a variety of controls that small businesses must follow before they are legally able to operate. They include things like licensing, name searches, insurance, occupational health and safety law, etc. It is important for each prospective small business owner to be aware of all these requirements before beginning their own business.


Your goal is to use the web to find the permits needed to run small businesses of various kinds in the provinces or territories of Canada. You will also have to analyze the various ways of organizing a small business to determine the best one for you. Then you can choose a place in Canada in which you’d like to create a small business to find out what permits are needed.


Read the following story about Kelly and her adventures as a hot dog vendor in Edmonton, Alberta. Then, answer the follow up questions.

Kelly needed to earn money to buy a new snowboard for the ski trip the school was planning for the upcoming winter. She decided that rather than working for someone else, she wanted to start her own small business as a hot dog vendor for the summer. Because Kelly lived on a busy street in Edmonton, she knew there would be lots of traffic going by. If she put up a really big sign in her front yard and had her barbeque near the sidewalk, people would not only see the sign, they would smell the hot dogs and stop for sure. She would also need some lawn chairs or a blanket on the lawn, so people could sit down while they listened to music and enjoyed their hot dog. Her parents told her there were regulations for small businesses that sell food and she should check out what permits were needed before she got started.

Kelly did her research and found the website BizPal. She answered a series of questions to find out what permits and licences she needed. She put all the information on a chart so she could easily see exactly what she needed to do to run her hot dog business.

Go to the same website Kelly did and select Edmonton, Alberta as your location and hot dog vendor as your type of business. Then answer the questions online about being a hot dog vendor to find out what business licences you need.

Complete the following chart as you find out the answers.


Now answer the following questions:

  1. What would be the total cost of the permits required?
  2. What original name would you call your business?
  3. Which licences are you able to apply for online?
  4. Go to the online application with regard to “home-based business” and scroll down to see the initial costs before you have been approved. What are they and what do they include? Be sure to add these costs to the permits required.
  5. Which licences are needed for the municipal government, which for the provincial, and which for the federal government?
  6. Do you think the hot dog vendor business would work better as a trade name or sole proprietorship; general partnership, or a limited partnership? Explain your answer in detail.
  7. After learning about the kinds of permits and licences you would need to be hot dog vendor, what are the pros and cons of having this type of business as a summer job?
  8. Now that you have learned the process and costs for starting a hot dog vendor business, what things, if any, might you change when filling out the questionnaire at the beginning on Bizpal to eliminate some costs and licences?

Permits and licences are needed at all levels of government and differ from town to city, and from province to territory. Go back to the BizPal website and choose a different town or city in Alberta or another province or territory to start a small business. When choosing a business, pick one that is reasonable for a high school student to start independently. Complete a similar chart to Kelly and then answer the following questions.

  1. What business did you investigate and in what town or city, and in which province or territory?
  2. What would be the total cost of the permits required?
  3. Which licences are needed for the municipal government, which for the provincial government, and which for the federal government?
  4. Do you think your business would work better as a trade name or sole proprietorship; general partnership or a limited partnership? Explain your answer in detail.

Other sites to support small businesses:


Susan Galloway
Susan Galloway is a retired teacher and was a Project Assistant with the Legal Resource Centre (now called Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta) in Edmonton, Alberta.

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