Understanding Choices of Legal Forms: Empirical Evidence From Private Indigenous Businesses in Canada


  • Travis Huckell
  • Fernando Angulo-Ruiz
  • Arlan Delisle
  • Max Skudra
  • Jean-Paul Gladu


The present study takes up the challenge of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report Call to Action 27 to provide “appropriate cultural competency training” for lawyers dealing with Indigenous persons. Specifically, we look at how private Indigenous business owners take up private law forms of business organization, namely: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. We use survey data from representative samples of Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada in 2010 and 2015, and we also employ the report of the 2020 Ontario Aboriginal Business Survey developed by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Findings reveal that Indigenous entrepreneurs’ higher education levels, business training and experience, as well as the age and size of the business positively influence the selection of the corporation legal form of business. Business location on a reserve has a positive influence on the selection of sole proprietorship or partnership forms. These conclusions, based on empirical evidence, answer a need identified in the study of Indigenous business enterprises and allow legal practitioners to understand the reasons why private Indigenous entrepreneurs prefer one form of legal business organization over others.