SEB Program Information  

Upcoming SEB Program Session(s):

March 2013

  • Day I - Wed., Mar. 20, 2013: SEB Orientation/Self-Assessment; 9:30am - 4:00pm

April 2013

  • Day I - Fri., Apr. 19, 2013 - SEB Orientation/Self-Assessment; 9:30am - 4:00pm
  • Day II - Wed. Apr. 24, 2013 - Starting Your SEB Business; 9:30am - 4:00pm
  • Day III - Thu. Apr. 25, 2013 - Preparing An SEB Business Concept; 9:30am - 4:00pm

May 2013

  • Day I - Thu., May 23, 2013 - SEB Orientation/Self-Assessment; 9:30am - 4:00pm

June 2013

  • Day I - Fri., Jun. 21, 2013 - SEB Orientation/Self-Assessment; 9:30am - 4:00pm
  • Day II - Tue. Jun. 25, 2013 - Starting Your SEB Business; 9:30am - 4:00pm
  • Day III - Wed. Jun. 26, 2013 - Preparing An SEB Business Concept; 9:30am - 4:00pm

SEB Program Information and Entrepreneurial Skills Workshop:

Held at the Huron Business Centre. In order to attend these workshops, a referral is needed from your employment counsellor/case manager.

Referral Process:

All individuals interested in OSEB must meet with an Employment Service (ES) provider to complete a thorough employment needs-based service determination and exploration of the full range of EO and other community employment programs and services.

The process focuses on an individual’s employment situation and determining if self-employment in general is an appropriate employment goal.

Through the needs-based service determination process, an individual develops a mutually agreed upon Employment Service Plan (ESP) with an ES provider. If self-employment is identified as the most appropriate way to address an individual’s employment needs to help them find sustainable employment, it must be specified in the ESP.

It is important to note in the ESP that an individual has demonstrated that his/her job search has proved unsuccessful before being referred to OSEB.

Topics covered during this 3-day session include:

  • What are the regulations for Starting a Business?
  • What is a Business Concept?
  • Being an Entrepreneur - Self Assessments
  • Goal Setting (Personal and Business)
  • How to Prepare a Business Concept
  • Cashflow Projection basics

Ontario SEB Applicant Eligibility:

OSEB must only be used to assist individuals who

  • are Canadian citizens or permanent residents legally entitled to work in Canada; and
  • meet the definition of an insured individual.

An insured individual means an insured person who at the time of requesting assistance (i.e. the Ministry’s receipt of application) is an unemployed person:

  • for whom an EI benefit period has been established, or
  • whose EI benefit period ended within the last 36 months, or
  • who is re-entering the labour force after having left it to care for newborn or newly adopted children. The individual must have a benefit period that began within the last 60 months during which they were paid maternity or parental benefits.

An individual who has completed a business plan (as determined by an OSEB Coordinator) prior to seeking support under OSEB, and who does not require assistance during the business plan development phase, is not eligible.

An individual who begins working on his/her business prior to seeking approval from the Ministry for OSEB is not eligible for the program (see Eligible Business Activities).

As well, an individual who has previously completed within the last 24 months or is currently enrolled in a self-employment program (i.e. provincial or other) is not eligible for OSEB. To minimize false expectations, assessment centres or ES service providers must ensure the original employment goal is the most appropriate path to re-employment and individuals facing difficulty are referred back to other EO or community services.

An individual who is not eligible for OSEB should be redirected to other Employment Ontario or community program and services.

Eligible Business Activities:

The proposed business activity must be full-time. This means that the approved participant must devote at least 35 hours per week to developing and implementing the business plan. Fewer hours may be negotiated for a person with a disability.

The OSEB applicant must be considering:

  • a new business or an existing business in which the individual had no prior ownership; and
  • a business that is suitable for public funding in the opinion of the Ministry.

The proposed business may be:

  • seasonal in nature (an individual must devote all efforts full-time to the development and implementation of the business plan for the duration of the OSEB agreement. In some cases, the individual may be engaged in more than one full-time seasonal activity within the agreement timeframe);
  • home-based;
  • a hobby (i.e. a leisure activity undertaken for pleasure where the primary intention is not to generate income) converted into a business.

Registering a business with the Province of Ontario or Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) prior to qualifying for OSEB should not be considered an automatic disqualification.
An individual who begins working on his/her business prior to obtaining approval from the Ministry for OSEB will be considered ineligible as s/he would now be considered self-employed and therefore, no longer eligible as per Section 58 of the EI Act. Generally speaking, it is CRA's view that a business commences whenever some significant activity is undertaken that is a regular part of the income-earning process or is an essential preliminary to normal operations.

Where an activity consists merely of a review of various business possibilities in the expectation or hope that information will be obtained to justify going into a business of some kind, such an activity might not represent the commencement of a business. A business may be viewed as being merely contemplated for the future if no serious or reasonably continuous efforts are being made to begin normal business operations.
Indications that an applicant may have already incurred significant business start-up costs include (although are not limited to):

  • supplies purchased for the proposed business;
  • business expenditures have been incurred (e.g. office space, employee training);
  • materials purchased for the purpose of resale;
  • business, products or services that have been advertised (e.g. web, radio, television, newspaper);
  • a significant client base has been established and/or significant sales generated.

Structure of an Eligible Business Acceptable types of business
structures for OSEB include:

  • sole proprietorship;
  • partnership: A partnership is an arrangement whereby two or more persons combine their resources in a business. In order to establish the terms of the business and to protect each partner in the event of disagreement or dissolution of the business, a partnership agreement is normally drawn up by the partners, with the assistance of a lawyer. While it is a good idea for partners to consider entering into a legal partnership agreement to protect them, a legal partnership agreement is not an eligibility requirement under OSEB. In all cases, the OSEB partner(s) solely or jointly must show that s/he (they) is the major decision maker and has control over the OSEB venture. Partners share in the profits and losses according to the terms of their partnership agreement. A partnership between two or more OSEB applicants is allowable as long as the individuals have control over the business and they can fulfill their full-time obligation to developing and implementing their business plan.
  • Corporation: An individual(s) must hold the majority of voting shares and not be in insurable employment with the company;


The following are ineligible business activities under OSEB:

  • any activity that involves, in the opinion of the Ministry:
    • sexual exploitation
    • illegal activity
    • the production of materials that promote hate, discrimination or illegal activity
    • otherwise promoting hate, discrimination or illegal activity
    • proselytizing of a particular religious or political opinion
  • business that is partially or entirely based on commission and dependent on a parent company (e.g. real estate agents, insurance brokers, Mary Kay);
  • franchise;
  • home-based daycare;
  • part-time business (less than 35 hours a week unless negotiated for a person with disabilities);
  • business the applicant currently owns and operates;
  • business the applicant previously owned;
  • business owned previously by the applicant’s spouse, parent or child where the individual has had significant involvement in the management/decision-making process; or
  • not for profit organization (i.e. those that do not qualify as a business under the CRA regulations).


An individual must meet the eligibility (i.e. applicant and proposed business) requirements to be assessed for OSEB suitability. The OSEB Coordinator is responsible for completing the suitability assessment.

An individual must meet the following OSEB suitability criteria:

  • requires business support as demonstrated by lack of prior related self-employment experience and training (based on client documentation, a self-assessment facilitated by an OSEB Coordinator and an OSEB Coordinator's assessment of the individual);
  • does not possess a professional designation (e.g. medical doctor, lawyer, CA)
  • proposes a business where there are no laws or regulations that impede the individual from starting it;
  • possesses product or service knowledge and skills related to the proposed business activity (e.g. construction experience/formal training if a construction business, bookkeeping experience/training if offering such services);
  • possesses the certification or qualification, if required under law or regulation, to perform the proposed business activity;
  • business concept as presented is considered to be feasible and the individual is an appropriate candidate for self-employment program participation; and
  • individual provides evidence of a minimum of 25% equity (cash and/or in-kind) to contribute to the business; and if the business plan indicates need for business financing/investment, it is reasonable to expect the individual will be able to access the business funds required.

The individual must provide evidence in their application of meeting the suitability criteria.


1. Self Employment Benefit Program Information Sessions:

  • describe what the SEB Program offers and explain the SEB application process, eligibility requirements and what a Business Concept is. For a map of the SEB service area that our office covers, click here.
  • offer the participant the opportunity to explore the steps to starting a business, the realities of being in business and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur
  • help the participant understand the importance of preparing a Business Concept and outline how to research and prepare their own Business Concept
  • encourage networking and support among participants as they contemplate business ownership

2. The SEB Information Sessions are for people interested in starting up a business. Clients must be EI eligible and be referred to the SEB Program by their employment counsellor/case manager. They can also visit the Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre at the Huron Business Centre and their local library prior to the information session to begin the process of researching their business idea and preparing their Business Concept. Information is also available online at and

3. Clients who are not eligible for the SEB Program or decide not to apply to the SEB Program but still want to start a business are encouraged to utilize the services of the Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre and the Huron Business Development Corporation. This includes access to business consulting services, a business library and assistance with financing a business.

4. A pre-requisite to applying for the SEB Progam. People interested in applying to the SEB Program must attend all five days before they apply.

5. In case of snowstorms/weather problems, clients are encouraged to listen to FM 101.7, CKNX AM 920, or 94.5 The Bull, 104.9 The Beach for cancellations or to call our office the morning of the workshop.