Thanks Jeff, you covered some very important points in your last post! I you guys are looking for advice on wiring and electrical code, Jeff seems to be the one to ask.
You do not need a business license to breed and sell reptiles! You also are not acting illegally if you donít charge PST and GST. You donít need to register for a GST number unless your business activities generate $30,000+ in gross sales. You donít need to charge PST unless you are buying things and then reselling them for a profit. Reptiles you produce in your basement would not have PST applied. Exception- if you get a PST number so that you can purchase food/supplies PST exempt to produce your reptiles at a cheaper cost, you would need to charge PST on your sales.
This is kinda a grey area. It's true that you aren't doing anything illegal, but as far as the Insurance Company is concerned, you are running a business. If you are regularly selling any product (animals included) from an insured property, it is an increased risk. The fact that you are dealing with the public increases the risk of liability.
For example: you ship a snake to someone across the country. This animal is carrying a zoonose (disease contracted by humans, from animals). This person gets sick and died. Your insurance company is now liable.
Example 2: You breed boas. A potential customer decided that he want to come see your snakes before purchasing. He arrives with his 5 year old son. You are holding on of the breeders as they are look at the other animals. Suddenly, the 10' snake that you're holding strikes and latches on you the little boy's face. In this situation, the insurance company is also liable.
My advice - if you are anything more then a hobby breeder, I would let your insurance company know. If you are actually making profit, (even under $30,000) you are more than a hobby breeder. Hobbyist sell their animals to pay for their hobby. (either aquire different animals or pay for food, electricity, etc...) They sell to keep their hobby going. It is very difficult to actually turn a profit on reptiles (I'm sure a lot of breeders will agree). There are a lot of expenses involved and the demand is limited. Basically - If you are handing out business cards, booking tables at reptile shows, or even putting up a web site advertising yourself as a breeder you should probably let your insurance company know. However, if you are breeding animals in your basement occasionally posting them on classifieds, you probably don't have much to worry about.
ALSO - I checked again with our underwriting manager here at work and I was told that damage caused by Flexwatt heat tape IS COVERED by all insurance companies. (Provided negligence was not the cause. ie. improper connections, constant exposure to water, etc... As the product is approved by UL (Underwriters labratories) in the US, it is viewed as meeting comparable standards. The same product is sold in Europe under the name FlexAll. (where it also meets all standards) Imagine you moved from the US to Canada. You would probably own numerous products that aren't CSA approved because they aren't sold in Canada. Obviously you wouldn't be forced to stop using those items.