How to start a business in the Canada / Registering a company, formation steps, online information on how to register and open a company in Ontario, BC, Alberta. Setting up a business, starting a corporation/ limited company / private business registration documents required as a foreigner/ US citizen.
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How to Start a Business / Company in Canada

Registering a company / business in Canada:
Ahead of registering your company / business, you need to think about what type of business you want to establish. You also need to decide what you will call your business.

1. Business format / structure
Find out what category of business structure is applicable for your business. There are 4 choices of business ownership in Canada - a sole ownership, a partnership, a cooperative or a corporation.

2. Naming your business
Pick the appropriate name for your business / company. The name needs to be different and easy to remember, and should explain the products and services you will be providing.

3. Business name registration

  • In British Columbia (BC), you are required to fill out a Name Approval Request Form. A Name Approval Request Form can be obtained from your local government's agent office or online from the Corporate Registry Web site:
  • In Ontario, your business / company name can be registered via the public office of the Companies Branch by mail or in person. The charge for business name registration by mail or in person at the Companies Office is $80. Business name registration can also be completed through any of the Service Providers under contract with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
  • In Alberta, business name registration is needed if you will be conducting a sole ownership (sole trader business) under a different name than your own, or conducting a partnership, a limited partnership or a limited liability partnership (LLP). As all corporate registry details are input straight into the Corporate Registry computer system (CORES), business name registration doesn't require filling out a form. If you would like to view the completed form to ensure you have all the information you're required to give to your authorized service provider, you may download the Declaration of Trade Name form. This is available from the Alberta Corporate Registry site:
  • In Nova Scotia, the first procedure is to reserve your business /company name. In order to proceed with this, you are required to send your chosen business / company name and other pertinent information to the Nova Scotia Registry Of Joint Stock Companies. They will carry out a name search. Nova Scotia also provides online business registration services. You may send your Name Reservation Request to The Nova Scotia Business Registry ( You may also download and print off the details at and take it in person to any Nova Scotia Access Centre or mail it to the Nova Scotia Registry Of Joint Stock Companies.
  • In Quebec, the business name registration process is simple; you send a Declaration of Registration form (including the fee applicable) at an office of the Registraire des entreprises (REQ) in Montréal or Québec City. You are required to fill out and send the French version of the form in order to register your business / company. English translations of the form are available if required.

4. To register your business / company

  • In BC, after you receive approval for your chosen business name, you are required to register your business within 56 days, otherwise your business name approval will lapse and become void and you'll need to begin the procedure from the start again. In order to register you will need to complete a Declaration for Proprietorship or Partnership Registration Form and send your completed declaration along with the charge applicable (presently $40).
  • The business registration process is the same in Alberta, if you’re registering a new company / business, carrying out an extra-provincial registration, or registering a society or non-profit company. You are required to give a name and address for your business, outline the structure of the business and, identify the category of business you wish to establish. You will also need to provide information regarding the business directors, including their names and addresses, and their Canadian residency status.
  • In Ontario, you might also be required to have a business license. This will depend on the category of business you're operating. You are required to operate your business in accordance with provincial and federal laws. This means you might be required to register for Workers' Compensation Insurance, or collect GST/HST (Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax). Every 5 years, the registration of a business name needs to be renewed. Re-registering your business is your own responsibility. The Companies Branch won't issue any reminder notices for re-registration.
  • In Quebec, to establish and register a numbered company, you need to fill out and send the Articles of Constitution and the Notice Establishing the Address of the Head Office/List of Directors, including the fee applicable, to the Registraire des entreprises.
  • In Nova Scotia, registration of a business of a sole ownership or partnership is straightforward; you need to complete and submit the "Application For Registration of a Business Name, Sole Proprietorship, or Partnership in Nova Scotia" form and send the fee applicable. The form can be downloaded at "Application For Registration..." ( ). You can print it, complete all the required fields and bring it it to any Nova Scotia Access Centre, or mail it (including the appropriate fee of $55) to the Nova Scotia Registry Of Joint Companies. Online registration of your sole ownership may be more convenient. This can be done at the Nova Scotia Business Registry.

Registering a Canadian Business Online:
Business Registration Online can be completed at Canada Revenue Agency

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