What is a Business Name Registration?
The Business Name Registration in Ontario or BNR is the new name for the Master Business Licence/License or MBL. The business structure options available under this type of business registration have also changed as the following:
- Sole Proprietorship remains Sole Proprietorship (1 person)
- Firm Name for a General Partnership (2 or more people) – previously known as a General Partnership
- Business Name Under a Corporation (existing corporation) – previously known as a Trade name
Are there any differences between a Business Name Registration and a Master Business Licence/License?
Yes. There are some changes while other things remain the same.
What remains the same as the Master Business Licence?
- The business registration remains valid for 5 years
- You can still register as a single owner,multiple owners or a new business under your corporation
- There remains no name protection for the business name
- You remain personally liable for business risks
- The requirement for Renewal after 5 years remains, to avoid expiration of the business registration
- The business revenues remain categorized as personal income for taxation purposes unless it’s a Firm Name Under a Corporation
What is different from the Master Business Licence?
- NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) will be required for your business activity. The industry listing is available on our website where you simply scroll to select the applicable NAICS industry and describe the business description or activity.
- A Company Key is now available for your business which is a 9 digit number exclusive to your business to prevent it from fraudulent activity
- An Official Email address is now required. The Province of Ontario has transitioned from mailing information to recipients to emailing any required information directly to the Official Email address. It is important to provide an email address you intend to use for the lifetime of the business as your Official Email address
- Mailing addresses for the business are no longer required
How do I change an existing Master Business Licence under the new Ontario Business Registry system?
If you have already registered your business and wish to change the information on your registration, you are able to have your current Master Business Licence port over to the new Business Name Registration system automatically. You will need your Business Identification Number (BIN) from your current registration (we can look up if you can’t find a copy). You can port into registering with or without the company key.
How do I cancel an existing Master Business Licence under the new Ontario Business Registry System?
The same information applies as with making a change to your registration. We simply need the details of the registration as it had been registered to cancel it. The BIN number is required and if you don’t have it, we can look it up for you. The company key is an optional requirement.
How do I renew my current Master Business Licence?
You can renew your current Master Business Licence and move to the new Business Name Registration (BNR) seamlessly. The information required would include the details of your current registration – the BIN, which we can look up for you if you don’t have it, and the optional company key. If you have applied for your company key, it will be required. The renewal is still mandatory within 60 days of the expiry date of your current registration. If you have passed the 60 days renewal requirement, you will need to complete a new Business Name Registration.
What is a Company Key?
The Province of Ontario introduced a new system to the legal community on October 19, 2021. The company key is an added layer of protection to the registration and incorporation system providing a 9 digit number exclusive to your business filing.
Once you have obtained the company key, the key is required for any subsequent filings for your registration which would include renewal, change or cancellation of your business. Obtaining a company key remains optional. As an intermediary partner to the Province of Ontario, we can file documentation with or without the company key.
If you wish to add the Company Key to your established business, the company key will be mailed to your business address. It is important to have the business address as current.
If you need to update your business address to a new location, we can assist you to do this before you apply for the company key.
We can update your business address on a same day basis Monday through Friday.
What does Ontario Business Central offer me when I set up my business?
Besides just registering your Sole Proprietorship or Firm Name for General Partnership we offer the ability to do the following:
- Search the business name for availability and free search if not available for second name
- Domain search and registration for both .ca and .com
- Tax account set ups including BN, HST, Payroll, and Import and Export
Ontario Business Central has been serving the entrepreneur, business and legal sectors of Canada’s economy for almost 30 years. We are an Intermediary service provider with the Province of Ontario and have a partner portal to make any legal undertaking seamless.
With every change there are questions and confusions about how the process works. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to answer your questions and help you through this new process. We look forward to helping you.
If we can be of assistance, please feel free to contact our staff for any clarification or assistance you may require.
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.
Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions, that you speak to a qualified professional.
Laura Harvey is an entrepreneur herself as the owner of Ontario Business Central Inc. Her passion has always been about supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and advancement within Canada.
Laura authors in-depth blogs for Ontario Business Central assisting entrepreneurs and business owners to start, manage and grow their businesses. She has almost 30 years of expertise as a corporate specialist and 25 years of being an entrepreneur. Laura has the unique position of supporting a community that she also belongs to. She walks the walk right along with you.
You can find Laura on Linkedin and Twitter.