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Registering your Business

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2.2 min read639 words

“Registering” a business most often refers to registering the name of a business. In Ontario, it is a legal requirement to register your business name if you are operating a sole proprietorship (1 owner) or partnership (more than 1 owner) under a business name other than your exact legal name.

There are 2 ways to register your business name:

i. Online through Service Ontario website (For Sole Proprietorship and Partnerships)

For the registration page, click here.

The fee for online registration is $60, plus $8 if you include the optional name search (recommended). It takes about 30 minutes to complete your registration. When you are finished you will immediately receive a Master Business License (MBL) to print on your own. You can only pay by credit card for the online services. Your Master Business License is valid for 5 years (diarize this) after which you go to the same link and renew your license. To change or cancel your Master Business License or any of your business information visit this link here.

For Incorporations:

You can incorporate provincially or federally.  To name your corporation you must first conduct a NUANS® name search to verify if the name is available, because corporate names are protected. NUANS® is a computerized search system that compares a proposed corporate name or trade-mark with databases of existing corporate bodies and trade-marks. This comparison determines the similarity that exists between the proposed name or mark and existing names in the database, and produces a listing of names that are found to be most similar.

To obtain a NUANS® report, you have the option of ordering your own NUANS® report in real-time from the NUANS “Do it yourself” Real-Time System (RTS) for federal incorporations only, or you may elect the assistance of a NUANS® Registered Search House of your choice to incorporate federally and to incorporate in other jurisdictions.

Provincial incorporation costs $360 plus the cost of forms are available from this provincial government website. You can incorporate on-line through the OnCorp Direct Inc. website or the Cyberbahn & Marque d’or website. The cost for on-line filing is $300, plus the service provider’s fee. Payment can be made by credit card or by setting up an account. You can also use OWNR – see below.

Federal incorporation costs $250 if filing in person. If you wish to file in person, you need to check details required by visiting this Corporations Canada webpage. Federal incorporation costs $200 if filing via the Internet at this other Corporations Canada website.

If you don’t know whether to operate as a sole proprietorship/partnership or a corporation, read our article about the different business structures.

Alternatively, a business advisor at The Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) can register a sole proprietorship/partnership for you for a service fee of $25.00. Connect with us through clientservices@bacd.ca or 905.668.4949

ii Register a corporation or sole proprietorship/partnership yourself

You can use our affiliate partner OWNR using this link and get 20% discount on the fees.  If you decide to open an RBC Business Bank account there is an incentive to get a rebate on these fees.

Through OWNR starting at $499** you can register your corporation immediately and also access these general legal agreements:

  • IP Assignment (Founder/General)
  • Sale of Goods
  • NDA’s (most used)
  • Shareholder Loan and Dividend agreements (most used/most costly traditionally)
  • Terms of Use + Privacy Policy for websites (GDPR/CASL/PIPEDA compliant)
  • Employment + Contractor Agreements (HR related agreements)

Equity/investment Legal Agreements available:

  • Convertibles: NOTE’s + SAFE’s
  • Legal Agreements to accompany share processes like: issuances, transfers, awards
  • ESOP

If you prefer to use a local lawyer, our Referral Partners are professionals we work with regularly in Durham Region.

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