Registering your business
As a prospective entrepreneur or new business owner, you are no doubt aware of the importance of spreading the word about your organization. In addition to informing potential customers about your business, you must let the government know about your plans.
You may need to register with several different levels of government for many different reasons. This document provides an overview of the key registration requirements that may apply to your business.
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Before registering your business, you must think about what form of business you want to start and what you want to call your business.
- Naming your business
Choose the right name for your business. Your business name should be unique and easy to remember, and should describe the products and services you provide.
- Corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship?
Find out which type of business structure is right for your business.
- Business Number (BN)
Your Business Number is your single account number for dealing with the federal government regarding taxes, payroll, import/export and other activities.
Provincial and territorial business registration
Most provincial and territorial governments require that you register your business with them.
- Establishment of an extra-provincial limited partnership (New Brunswick)
Find out about the rules, procedures and fees to file a declaration for an extra-provincial limited partnership.
- New West Partnership Trade Agreement
If your business is located in British Columbia, Alberta, or Saskatchewan, this agreement can save you time as it allows for a seamless business registration between provinces.
- Extra-Provincial Domestic Corporations Operating in Ontario
If your business was incorporated federally or in another province/territory, you must tell the Ontario government you are doing business in Ontario.
- Business name registration information (Ontario)
Register your business name online, in person or by mail.
- Limited partnerships (Ontario)
Find out if a limited partnership is right for your business.
- Collection agency licensing
Find out how to register and license your collection agency in Ontario.
If you decide to incorporate your business, you can incorporate federally or provincially.
Federal incorporation allows you to do business under the same name in all provinces and territories, although you may still need to register your business in individual provinces. If you do plan to do business in more than one province now or in the future, you should consider incorporating federally. Before doing so, you need to complete a NUANS name search.
- NUANS Corporate name search
Compare your proposed business name to the names of existing businesses to see if it is unique.
- Federal business incorporation
Access convenient online or paper methods of incorporating your business federally.
- Guide to Federal Incorporation
Step by step guidelines to help you incorporate your business and set up an appropriate structure.
- Create/Maintain a Cooperative
Find out what a cooperative is and how to create and maintain one.
- Keeping your corporation in good standing: Reporting obligations
Find out how to keep your federally incorporated company in good standing.
- Steps to follow to revive a corporation
Find out how you can revive a dissolved federal corporation and restore it to its pre-dissolution legal status.
Provincial or territorial incorporation
- Ontario Business Incorporation
Incorporate your Ontario business online, in person, or by mail.
- Professional corporations
Find out how you can incorporate your practice in Ontario for specific regulated professions.
- Making changes to your corporate information
Find out how to make changes to the information about your Ontario corporation, including its name, address and number of directors.
- Making Changes to Your Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporation
Find out how to make changes to the information about your Ontario not-for-profit corporation.
- Reviving your corporation
You may be able to revive your Ontario corporation if it was involuntarily dissolved within the past 20 years.
Permits and licences
You may also require specific permits and licences from the federal, provincial or municipal government, depending on your location, industry sector, and specific activities that you plan to conduct. Use our permits and licences search to find out which permits and licences might apply to your business.
- Permits and licences
Use our search tool to find out what permits and licences your business may need from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
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