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How do I register my business?

Register form on green blackboard background. Stock photo by Getty Images
Stock photo by Getty Images

In order to register your business in any province or territory, the first question is whether you want to operate as a sole proprietor, partnership or a corporation. You decide your business structure based on your type of business, liability considerations, and tax preferences among other things.

The next step is to name your business. A business name should be unique and not so hard to remember. It helps if it suggests what type of services or products you will provide. In order to make sure your business name has not already been taken by someone else, you must perform a search in your province’s business name registry. Once you decide on a name, you can proceed to register the business.

While registering your business name, you can also sign up for other provincial programs that are required of businesses such as employer health tax and workplace safety and insurance. Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia have an online business registry platform where you can do almost everything in one place.

Your business name registration is only valid for a certain time period and you must renew it as set out in your province.

Also note that if you have decided to operate as a corporation, you must file the proper paperwork for incorporating your business. You can incorporate provincially or federally.

After registering your business name, in most cases, you receive a master business license, which is a confirmation that a business name has been submitted. It shows the registration and expiry dates as well as a business identification number.

You can then take your master business license to banks to open up a business bank account.

Read more:

Business Start Up Guide

Canada Revenue Agency Requirements for Businesses