Before you register

You’ll need to know where your main office will be located, which provinces and territories you plan to operate in, the name of your business, and the business type (corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or cooperative).

The rules for business registration vary depending on the type of business, and may also vary from province to province; for example, in Newfoundland and Labrador registration is only required for corporations and cooperatives.

Registering your business name

The first step in the registration process is to register your business name. Once you’ve selected a name, consult a database like Nuans (the Canadian corporate names and trademarks database) or Canada’s Business Registries to see if your desired name is already taken.

Most businesses will need to register with the provincial or federal government. If you plan to incorporate your business federally, follow these four steps. The exception to the business name registration rule is when a sole proprietorship is operated under the legal name of the owner. In this case, the business name must be an exact match to the legal name.

For example, if someone named Jennifer Smith operated a consulting business under her legal name she would not be required to register her business, however, should she begin operating under the name Jennifer Smith Consulting, registration would be required.

Information by Province/Territory

Select your province or territory from the list below for more information on registering your business name.


British Columbia


New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia



Prince Edward Island