Registering your business

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.

Table of Contents

    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.

    • NEQ — Quebec Enterprise Number
      Only Applies to : Quebec
      Simplify and speed up your dealings with the various Quebec government departments and organizations by registering with the Registraire des entreprises [Quebec enterprise registrar].
    • 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.

      Alberta

      • Corporate Registry
        Only Applies to : Alberta
        To conduct business in Alberta, register your cooperative, corporation, extra-provincial company, non-profit company, society, trade name and/or partnership.

      British Columbia

      • BC Business Registry
        Only Applies to : British Columbia
        This website will guide you through the steps of registering your sole proprietorship or general partnership business in BC.
      • Corporate Online
        Only Applies to : British Columbia
        Learn how to register your provincial or extra-provincial company in BC.
      • Name Requests Online
        Only Applies to : British Columbia
        Submit a business or corporate name for approval by B.C. Registry Services.
      • Community Contribution Company
        Only Applies to : British Columbia
        Find out how this business structure allows you to pursue social goals while making a profit and providing opportunities to like-minded investors.

      Manitoba

      New Brunswick

      Newfoundland and Labrador

      Northwest Territories

      Nova Scotia

      • Access Nova Scotia
        Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
        Find out how to register your business, obtain required permits and licences, and get information on provincial government programs and services.
      • Registry of Joint Stock Companies
        Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
        Register your business or research existing corporations and partnerships.
      • Nova Scotia Online Service for Business
        Only Applies to : Nova Scotia
        Use this online service to apply for, manage, and pay for your Nova Scotia business registrations, permits and licenses.

      Nunavut

      • Legal registries (Nunavut)
        Only Applies to : Nunavut
        In order to do business in Nunavut, you must register with the territory, even if you live in or have a business established in another part of Canada.

      Ontario

      Prince Edward Island

      Quebec

      • Revenu Québec — Business Portal
        Only Applies to : Quebec
        Is your business based in Quebec? If so, learn about your fiscal obligations including taxes and deductions.
      • Setting up a cooperative
        Only Applies to : Quebec
        Do you want to create or start a cooperative? If so, learn more about the laws, programs, policies and tools related to starting a cooperative.(in French only)
      • Registration of a charitable organization
        Only Applies to : Quebec
        Find all the information you need to register a charity in Quebec.(in French only)
      • Creating a non-profit corporation or organization
        Only Applies to : Quebec
        Learn the major steps for establishing a non-profit corporation or organization in Quebec.
      • Enterprise register (Quebec)
        Only Applies to : Quebec
        If you operate a business in Quebec, you must register with the enterprise register and declare your organization's legal form.
      • NEQ — Quebec Enterprise Number
        Only Applies to : Quebec
        Simplify and speed up your dealings with the various Quebec government departments and organizations by registering with the Registraire des entreprises [Quebec enterprise registrar].

      Saskatchewan

      Yukon

      Incorporation

      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.

      • NUANS Corporate name search
        Only Applies to : Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Northwest Territories Nova Scotia Nunavut Ontario Prince Edward Island Quebec Saskatchewan Yukon
        Compare your proposed business name to the names of existing businesses to see if it is unique.

      Federal incorporation

      Provincial or territorial incorporation

      Alberta

      • Corporate Registry
        Only Applies to : Alberta
        To conduct business in Alberta, register your cooperative, corporation, extra-provincial company, non-profit company, society, trade name and/or partnership.
      • New West Partnership Trade Agreement
        Only Applies to : Alberta British Columbia Manitoba Saskatchewan
        If your business is located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba this agreement can save you time as it allows for a seamless business registration between provinces.

      British Columbia

      • BC Business Registry
        Only Applies to : British Columbia
        This website will guide you through the steps of registering your sole proprietorship or general partnership business in BC.
      • New West Partnership Trade Agreement
        Only Applies to : Alberta British Columbia Manitoba Saskatchewan
        If your business is located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba this agreement can save you time as it allows for a seamless business registration between provinces.

      Manitoba

      New Brunswick

      Newfoundland and Labrador

      Northwest Territories

      Nova Scotia

      Nunavut

      • Legal registries (Nunavut)
        Only Applies to : Nunavut
        In order to do business in Nunavut, you must register with the territory, even if you live in or have a business established in another part of Canada.

      Ontario

      • Professional corporations
        Only Applies to : Ontario
        Find out how you can incorporate your practice in Ontario for specific regulated professions.
      • Change of Business Information
        Only Applies to : Ontario
        Send updated information and other changes to 8 of your most commonly used business accounts using this single point of contact.
      • Start, dissolve and change a corporation
        Only Applies to : Ontario
        Learn about the requirements for starting a corporation, including a not-for-profit, and how you can make changes to your current business.

      Prince Edward Island

      Quebec

      Saskatchewan

      Yukon

      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 the business activities 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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