Once you are approved by CSIL it is time to start your business. Module 3 in the workbook focuses on this part of the process.
Workbook / Start up package
A CSIL employer package, for whatever phase you qualify for, will be mailed to you. Applications are typically approved for 1 to 5 years so keep your records for when you must reapply. Start up is quite involved but the workbook is easy to follow with great examples and worksheets.
CSIL Employer – what you need to know
Organization is key.
Start binders or files whatever works for you but make sure you keep everything in its place. Make notes during conversations or meetings in a notebook or computer and have those notes readily available for reference. Make lists that prioritize things that are needing to be done. Get into a routine for administration times. Learn how to communicate effectively with the people that will support and work with you – there are great YouTube Videos and blogs on this subject.
Define your role as employer
Think about all your former bosses and identify those qualities that you admired, made you most productive, feel appreciated, write them down and aim to be that boss. Employee turnover is expensive, time consuming, and can compromise your care.
How is the program funded?
This is a home-based business, but you are given funds to operate. You do not need to sell anything or fundraise. Because it is government funded,
they will require concise records. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to understand it all right away you will learn as you go.
Step One – Setting up your business
First place to visit is – BC One Stop, where you will register your company and where most of the business registration will take place (WCB, CRA, PST, GST, BCeID and local Government business licenses).
When picking a business name choose something like “<your name> Care”. The name will be approved based on its relevance to the business and availability. There is a fee for this process when you apply so make sure you check that your name is available. If your name request is rejected, you will have to reapply and will be charged the fee again. The name will be approved in about 6 days. Keep your receipts as you can refund your expenses from your CSIL funding – within the permitted guidelines.
Registering your business
Once you have your business name you can proceed with the rest of the applications including requesting a business number you will use for all your CRA reporting and used to open your bank account. Return to BC One Stop for the remainder of the registration process. You will be walked through each step creating a CRA Account to process ROE, Tax Instalments, Payroll Remittances and other government forms, and a WCB account as well as any other provincial or municipal accounts that must be established.
Setting up the government accounts will take some time. You will not be able to operate your care program while these applications are being processed so this is a great time to start getting things ready.
All CSIL funds and expenses must run through one specific bank account. Many banks will open an account in your personal name and then attach a Doing Business As (DBA) in your company name. This account will be audited
often by the province. CSIL funds are direct deposited so make sure that your account will permit this service at a reasonable fee. Shop around as some institutions do not charge fees or have a discount for these types of accounts. Do not use this account for any personal income or expenses, it is not permitted. You are also not permitted to have a debit card, make sure you order cheques. Overdraft or line of credit is not permitted so good bookkeeping records are essential.
Remember you will need to make sure you have adequate insurance. Advise your home or tenant insurance provider of your new business and the nature of the services provided in your home, car or any other “workplace”. This expense is NOT covered by CSIL. Your home or tenant insurance may not cover home businesses of this or any nature and may be void without adding a clause or amendment. Make sure you are adequately covered if there was an injury or
claim and be prepared for an increase in your insurance premium for those
Step 2 – Budgeting and reporting
This is where you should seek experienced help if you are not familiar with WCB, CRA, Employment Standards and Payroll. CSIL will allow you to pay someone for keeping your books or they will pay for you to attend a bookkeeping course.
- Register as an employer of “home support
services” – contact them directly if you can not find this option.
- Download Safety Manuals / Policy
- Download Worker Orientation and be familiar with
- Provide On-Going Safety Training for employees –
look at the various resources available
- Hazard recognition
- Prepare a WCB “Bullying and Harassment in the
Workplace” policy, and training session for your employees
- Register as an employer of “home support
Budgeting requires you to know your income, expenses, and what the program will or will not pay for. Remember you will have to pay employer contributions to CPP and EI premiums that are calculated on each person, WCB premiums based off gross payroll, at a percentage they will assign. Office supplies, operating expenses such as bank fees, utilities, and employee supplies. A surplus of CSIL funds is permitted of up to one month of funds but if you are not using the funds you may have funding cut. If you are spending too much you will have to adjust your budget. Adjustments to your care needs will be made to balance the budget. You will have to fill out and submit Monthly Financial Statements which will identify budget and care concerns, so good record keeping is essential. An experienced bookkeeper can help with this so you can focus on your care needs. Pages 25-27 in the CSIL Module 3 part of the workbook have budget worksheets to help you with this process.
Step 3 – Creating your CSIL
Your Supported Lifestyle Plan created in module 2 will assist you with job descriptions, setting your hours of care, and training needs just to name a few.
Employee Job Description
Your employee job description should outline what type of service you require, how much care and when the care will be required. Describe the job requirements and expectations in bullet form if possible. Include employee guidelines about your expectations such as, no smoking, punctuality, professionalism – what that looks like. Look online for ideas and things to be aware of. This is a living document and can be changed but under employment standards significant changes in job description may require compensation. Incomplete or poor job descriptions could mean you may have unqualified staff or staff unwilling to perform the new duties which could mean you may have to give them working notice or reassign them to other jobs.
Your employee contracts should include a clause in the contract that states that care could change and that job descriptions may change as needs change. Be specific about the physical demands of the job and make sure you are clear about the requirements for employment.
There are employment laws that must be adhered to when you post a job
and you only want to attract the best qualified people. There are examples of
these documents in the workbook and online.
Employee Contracts are required to clearly outline the staff rights and responsibilities, outline that includes, pay rates, payroll dates, full, part-time or live-in, vacation pay and stat holidays, probationary periods, evaluations, benefits (if offered), hours of work, notice of termination of contract to name just a few. Contact your local Employments Standards Branch when you complete this part. It is always best to think of the worst-case scenario and plan for that
moment. Remember employer and employee can become contentious and the best time to explain the terms is at the start of the relationship when it is amicable. Make sure they understand the contract when they sign and initial. Clarify any uncertain parts and document that conversation in the document or in their employee file.
Training periods are anywhere from 2 days to a week so when you hire staff keep that in mind in your budget. If the position is unsuited to the applicant, or there is a conflict of opinion and perspective you may have to look at other applicants or post the position again. Remember this is your business and your care it has to be right for you.
Staffing will be your biggest challenge especially if someone gives you short notice of absence or termination. Therefore, being that great boss is important. Treat employees well and they will stay or work through until you find a replacement. The good news is that you create an employee contract and job description once, and then you just adjust it as necessary. There are plenty of suggestions and examples in the workbook. If you have a friend who has a job in Human Resources, we encourage you to ask for advice or for them to look at the contract and offer insight. An employment lawyer at Wishart Brain and Spine Law is available to answer your questions.