Registering your business 

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In addition to informing potential customers about your business, you must let the government know about your plans. You may need to register with several different levels of government for many different reasons. This document provides an overview of the key registration requirements that may apply to your business.

On this page:

Before registering

Before registering your business, you must think about what form of business you want to start and what you want to call your business.

Business Number

Your Business Number is an account number that identifies your business to federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

  • Business Number (BN)

    Your Business Number is your single account number for dealing with the government regarding GST/HST, payroll, import/export and other activities.

Provincial and territorial business registration

Most provincial and territorial governments require that you register your business with them.

  • Business Registry Search Pilot

    Seeking information on businesses registered in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec or federally incorporated companies? Use this trial search and leave your feedback to help us improve.

British Columbia
  • BC Business Registry

    This website will guide you through the steps of registering your sole proprietorship or general partnership business in BC.

  • Corporate Online

    Learn how to register your provincial or extra-provincial company in BC.

  • Community Contribution Company

    Find out how this business structure allows you to pursue social goals while making a profit and providing opportunities to like-minded investors.

  • Name Requests Online

    Submit a business or corporate name for approval by B.C. Registry Services.

  • New West Partnership Trade Agreement

    If your business is located in British Columbia, Alberta, or Saskatchewan, this agreement can save you time as it allows for a seamless business registration between provinces.


If you decide to incorporate your business, you can incorporate federally or provincially.

Federal incorporation allows you to do business under the same name in all provinces and territories, although you may still need to register your business in individual provinces and territories. If you do plan to do business in more than one province or territory now or in the future, you should consider incorporating federally. Before doing so, you need to complete a Nuans name search.

Federal incorporation

Provincial or territorial incorporation

British Columbia
  • BC Business Registry

    This website will guide you through the steps of registering your sole proprietorship or general partnership business in BC.

Permits and licences

You may also require specific permits and licences from the federal, provincial or municipal governments, depending on your location, industry sector, and specific activities that you plan to conduct. Use our permits and licences search to find out which permits and licences might apply to your business.

  • Permits and licences

    Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.

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