Register/renew a small business online by selecting one of our packages above. The detailed information on this page provides answers to the questions of key importance in setting up an Ontario business registration.
A small business in Ontario may be registered as an ONTARIO BUSINESS REGISTRATION (also known as a "FORM 1" or Master Business Licence) as a simple, inexpensive way to set up your business. The registration is available as either a Sole Proprietor (for a single individual) or Partnership (for two or more individuals). Those registering a company under a corporation should click here.
The information required for company registration:
The advantages of registering an Ontario Business Registration are that it is an inexpensive and simple format to begin doing business. The disadvantages are that there is little name protection of your business name and the business owner is fully responsible for all the debts and obligations related to his/her business.
Choosing the right name for your new business is a very important decision. You want a name that will draw potential customers, help clients identify your product or service and build a business image. Choose a name that is easy to remember and provides information so potential customers easily understand your product or service.
A business registration is not required if an individual is doing business under his/her own name (e.g. John Smith). If a descriptive element (e.g. John Smith Books) is added then under the "Business Names Act" the registration must be completed.
The individual registering the business assumes full responsibility for any risk in confusion with an existing corporation, business name or trade mark. It is very important when choosing a name for your business that you consider the uniqueness of the name. Any name provided by the registrant will be accepted by the Ontario Government, as there is no name protection for small business. If you choose a name that is deceptively similar to an existing name, you risk legal action being taken by the other party.
When choosing a business name certain words or expressions cannot be used. They are as follows:
If you want your business name in a language other than the Roman Alphabet you may do so as long as the name is registered in the Roman Alphabet. Your business name may be displayed in Chinese, Italian, Spanish etc. as long as the English name is also displayed at the place of business.
You want to chose a business name that is tailored to you and your business. It is very difficult to find a name that is not infringing on another business name. Your name should be specific to you, what you do, the area you live, the times available, the speediness or accuracy of your service etc. all of these identifiers help to make a name that is unique to you and your business.
There are two ways to search for available business names as part of the registration process. Neither of these is mandatory, however it is recommended that you consider verifying the business name availability to ensure you are not infringing on another business name and to verify that you have a distinctive name to separate you from your competitors.
Business Name Search
This is a search done through The Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. This databank searches exact name matches against business names that already exist in Ontario. It does not search similar names to the name you are proposing. It does not verify that you are not infringing on another corporation name, trademark within the province of Ontario or other provinces.
Name Search (new updated automated name search)
This databank contains records throughout most of Canada. It displays corporations and business registrations with the same or similar name to the one proposed. This search is much more effective in determining name availability. A preliminary search is done initially to check for availability before the expense of ordering the actually search printout.
The next step to complete the Ontario Business Registration is to begin the registration of your new business. You will be prompted to provide the following information:
Once the registration is completed the new business is registered with the Ontario Government and given a Business Identification Number (BIN) that identifies your registration from any other. The registration is valid for a period of five years as indicated on the completed form. Within that five year period if you want to amend or cancel the registration you must provide your business BIN number to link the changed registration with the previous one. After a five year period, you are required to renew your business registration.
Your business registration must be renewed every five years. The renewal must be completed within 60 days of the expiry date of your registration. On your present registration it will show you two dates, when the business commenced in Ontario and when it will expire. If this time has lapsed you must register your business as New. You also have the business BIN number that must be given to link the expiring registration to the renewal. When completing the business registration form you will be required to provide the same information as when you originally registered your business name. Once the form is completed you will have five years before requiring to renew your business registration again.
When amending your Business Name the business BIN number is required. The Ontario government allows you to make changes from your original registration in these areas:
You may not change the name of the individuals or business name by amending.
If you require these changes a cancellation of the old business name
must occur and a new business registration submitted. When completing
the business registration form you will be required to provide the
same information as when you originally registered your business name.
Once the form is completed the amendment will continue throughout
the remainder of the five year period.
> Amend your existing business registration
If you want to wind up or cancel your Business Registration, you must file a cancellation with the Ontario Government. The information provided must be completed as when you initially registered your business with the business name, name and address of individuals, activity of business and person authorizing the cancellation. The business Identification Number (BIN) must be inserted to link the cancellation of your registration against the business your originally registered with the government. Your (BIN) number is listed on your original registration.
Once you have completed the filing of the cancellation your business name
will be shown as a cancellation and no longer as an active business
in Ontario until the original expiry date has passed.
> Cancel your existing business registration
If you do not have a copy of your original registration to renew, amend or cancel your registration, we can search your registration with the Ontario government to find it. An additional fee will be required.