Starting a business

How to Register Your Business Name in Canada

Starting a business is a dream for many Canadians, and part of the process of starting your own company is registering your business name. In Canada you must register your name with the provincial government where you reside or plan to conduct business. Learn more about the fees and reasons why you should register your business name.

Learn more about starting a business in Canada here.

Choose a Unique Business Name

When deciding on your business name it is important to choose a unique name that other businesses are not already using. It is important to pick a name that accurately describes your business by using distinctive words. For example if you are opening a diner you wouldn’t want to register “Diner” as a business name. You could work in the geographical location of the diner, and register “Waterloo Family & Friends Diner” instead.

Also be sure to check if other businesses haven’t already registered your name, by conducting a business name search. Some online search tools that you can use include:

You can also conduct a search through a private company, if your budget allows for it. These private companies will charge a small fee.

How to Register Your Business Name by Province and Territory


A business name does not have a legal existence in its own right. It is simply a name used by one or more persons to represent their business to the public. That means the sole proprietor or partners are personally responsible for the debts and obligations of the business.

Registering a business name does not grant any right of ownership of the name. It is only proof that the name is being used by a particular business.

British Columbia

If you want to register a business name in British Columbia you will be asked to choose 3 different business names, ranking them according to your preference. This will give you options in case the original name you chose is not available.

If you are looking to incorporate using an incorporation number as the company, cooperative or society name, name approval is not required. The number will be assigned automatically.


Before you can register a business name , a Request for Name Reservation must be filed to determine if the name is available for use. If your name is reserved, you will have 90 days to file the Business Registration forms. If your name is rejected, you must choose a new name and do Step 1 over again.

New Brunswick

To register your business name in New Brunswick first you must select the proposed name of your business. Then you must obtain an Atlantic based NUANS name search report from a private sector name search firm. Firms that provide name search services can be found online here.

Review the name search report and the firms cover letter to determine whether the proposed name is suitable from your perspective. After this is done, submit the application online via SNB’s Corporate Registry website here.

Newfoundland and Labrador

If you choose to carry on a business under a name other than your own personal name and are engaged in business for trading, manufacturing or mining purposes, you must register with the Newfoundland Registry Office within three months of your business start date. For more information check here.

In Newfoundland and Labrador there is no registration of trade names. Registration is only required for corporations and cooperatives.

Northwest Territories

If you have a sole proprietorship or form a partnership in the Northwest Territories, you are required to register your business name with Corporate Registries. Registering establishes your business as a legal entity – defining who can make decisions and who is liable for damages caused by the business.

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia businesses and nonprofits need to apply to reserve a name. If the Registry of Joint Stock Companies approves the name for your use, you can register or incorporate your business or non-profit, or change an existing name.

It should take 2 days to get the name reservation results. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your form hasn’t been filled in correctly.


The Declaration of Use of a Business Name form is to be completed by any person or company carrying on business in Nunavut who is using a business name other than their own name. Or who is using their own name but with an element added which indicates that more than one person is operating the business. For example, a person operating a sole proprietorship under their own name “Jean Doe” need not register, but a person using

the name “Jean Doe & Company” must register.


The following is a list of parties that must register with the Ontario Business Names Act:

  • Sole proprietorships (one owner) carrying on business under a name other than the individual’s full name.
  • Partnerships carrying on business under a firm name other than the full names of the partners.
  • Corporations carrying on business under a name other than their corporate name.
  • An existing general partnership or limited partnership registering a business name different from the registered firm name.
  • Limited liability partnerships.
  • Extra-provincial limited liability partnerships.
  • Extra-provincial limited liability companies.

For a comprehensive list of everything, you will need to register your business name in Ontario check their official website. Business owners can also enlist the help of Ontario Business Central, an authorized agent of Industry Canada that works with the government directly to help businesses register, incorporate, change, or cancel their licenses.

Prince Edward Island

If you intend to register a business name in Prince Edward Island, you will need to submit a name approval request to reserve the name you want. Reserving a name requires you to do the following:

  1. Complete the name approval request in the Online Corporate and Business Names Registry. This reserves the name for you but does not approve it for use.
  2. Submit the non-refundable payment to search and reserve the name. Payments must be made online when submitting your name reservation.

The Registry Office will review your name (Typically, within 5 business days). You will receive an email if the name is approved. Registry Office staff will call or email if they have any questions. If the name is not approved you will receive an email with information on how to contact the Registry Office.


In Quebec, even if your business name is English, you need to provide a French version of the name. The French version of the name will be considered the primary name, regardless of the business owner’s desires. It is your responsibility to ensure that the name of Quebec business conforms to certain requirements which can be found in this article.

Similar to Ontario, the reservation of the name and registration of the business are completed in one step. You can do this here.


In Saskatchewan, the government owned Information Services Corporation (ISC) handles the registration process.


To obtain a certificate of name reservation, you must submit the following:

Start Your Business Today with the Help of QuickBooks Online

Starting a business can be a stressful experience. From registering your business name to writing a business plan, getting your small business off the ground should be your main focus. QuickBooks Online can help you with everything else, including accounting, inventory management, invoicing, payroll, and tracking expenses. Try it free today!

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