How to register a business in Canada

Every journey begins with a step. And each business empire we see today has a story of the beginnings. Some were started by individuals with a capital of less than $ 1000. But today, they are brands recognized globally. However, such enterprises did not bloom overnight. It has been years of hard work, dedication, and learning.

In the business world, there are no limits, even for newbies. Anyone can start and overrun the gurus. Nevertheless, somethings such as registration need to be settled before your products begin flowing into the market. Various countries present different business opportunities and have specific laws and regulations that govern the business operations.

When you want to start a business in Canada, there are requirements you are obligated to fulfill first. These are determined by several factors, including the nature of the enterprise and the location. Once you meet the requirements and begin operating, you will enjoy numerous benefits that may not be available in other countries such as the separation of personal and business obligations, tax advantage, financial backing, etc.

Here, we discuss every detail of registering your company name in Canada. So read on. 

Should you register your business name? 

The business name of every company in Canada needs to be registered in the province or territory where it is operating. The only exception is sole proprietorships, which use the exact legal name of the owner. All the other types of ownership, such as corporations, must register their names with the body in charge.

For every entrepreneur in Canada, it should be clear that business or company registration is a legal obligation, and you don't choose whether to fulfill it or not. You stand being prosecuted for running an illegitimate business if you fail to comply. This rule applies to all the provinces except for Labrador and Newfoundland that have slight alterations. The two do not require companies with the partnership or sole proprietorship forms of ownership to register their business names.

The legal forms of business ownership in Canada include corporation, partnership, and sole proprietorship. Sole proprietorship can use either the owner's legal name with no alteration or another name. In case it is registered with another name, the general registration rule will apply except for the aforementioned two provinces.  

Please look at our website if you need a small business loan to help you register your business.

Using Your Name as a Business Name 

Any form of ownership allows you to use your name as the business name. But rules vary with each. When it comes to a sole proprietorship, you can register the business name using your own legal name or another. In case you settle for using your name, there are things you need to be aware of. First, it must be exactly as it appears in legal documents. Secondly, you are not allowed to add anything, including a letter or symbol to it. For example, abbreviations like Int'l, Inc., Co, or any other thing which indicates the type of services/products you offer cannot be included.

So if your name is Don Carson, your business will be registered as "Don Carson." If you want to call it, "Don Carson Advocates," you will have to register your business name despite the ownership type except if you are in Newfoundland and Labrador.  

Should you consider using your legal name as a business name or? 

Sole proprietorship gives you two options for registering your business. Before choosing the business name to use, you need to consider;

The nature of your enterprise
If you are providing a unique service or product single-handedly, using your name may suit your business. For instance, if you are an author or a musician, this option may help in building your brand credibility and trust. However, if you are venturing into a field where you may need to incorporate other services or make partnerships as you expand, then consider the method.
Your name
Is your name common? Or is it difficult to read and remember? Answering these two questions helps make a wise decision. You don’t want to use a common name without a specifier. For example, calling your company, 'John Smith' makes it difficult for prospective customers to find you in this digital era where we expect to have information at the touch of a button. Again, if your name difficult to spell, pronounce, or remember, choosing a different name for your enterprise is more reasonable. 

How do you register a business name in Canada? 

The first step is choosing the form of ownership for your business. There are four options, as mentioned above. You then register with the provincial authority of where the particular place you want to start your business.

If you're going to open your company in Ontario, you must register your business with the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services under its Companies Branch. For Nova Scotia Province, you are required to register your company with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies. Do you want to start a business in BC? Corporate Registry is the body to process your company registration.

Generally, the process involves selecting a business name that must be unique. You need to perform a thorough search to ensure no other company has a similar name. Afterward, the registration process will vary depending on your form of ownership.
For sole proprietorship or partnership business name registration, the process is simple as it basically involves conducting a name search, filling of registration forms, and payment of the registration fees. The application can be made online on the various provincial registration authorities' websites. 

Corporation Business Registration

The initial step for registering a corporation is similar to a partnership or sole proprietorship registration. However, the procedure is more involving. After conducting a business name search and choosing a unique name for your company, you should get a NUANS report. You are also required to present the Articles of Incorporation, Incorporation application, and a cover letter before you pay the registration fee. 

Business Registration In Each Province

The procedure for registering a business name varies slightly from one province to another, given that it is overseen by the respective provincial authorities. Noteworthy, the registration details for federal incorporations are the same irrespective of the territory.