How to Incorporate a Federal Incorporation

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You can complete either a profit or not for profit incorporation with the Federal government. With a profit business, the business name can either be a numbered or named corporation. The Federal corporate number will be assigned as part of the incorporation process  With a not for profit business, only a named business is acceptable.

How to Choose a Business Name?

When thinking of a business name for a Federal incorporation, it is imperative to choose a very unique name.  The business name must be approved by a Federal government examiner, and the criteria in gaining approval of the business name is set very high.  

When searching for a business name, it is recommended that you provide uniqueness to the primary keyword, known as the distinctive element, and secondary word or wordings, known as the descriptive element.  The Federal government examiner will view the business name against a larger pool of existing businesses than if you were incorporating a Provincial or Territorial incorporation.

To give you an example; if you looked at incorporating Aero Lights Inc., the business name is going to be viewed against any other business using the word Aero.  If there are existing businesses listed using Aero, the examiner will be concerned but will view the secondary or descriptive element of the business name Lights.  The examiner will look for any wording that is within the same industry such as lighting, flash, shine, luster. If there doesn’t appear to similar wording within the industry, the examiner will also review descriptive words that do not provide what industry they are in such as enterprises, holdings, company.  If the examiner considers any existing business name to be potentially confusing or conflicting, he or she will ask for the existing business name or names to be searched for what the business does and for the results to be forwarded to that examiner.

How to provide a listing of existing business names for review

When you are incorporating with the Federal government, a Federal biased NUANS report is required.  This 6 page document provides a listing of similarly named existing businesses. A preliminary search can be requested prior to obtaining the NUANS report, to see if a chosen name appears to be available.  This assists you to determine if the selected business name is a viable option for a Federal incorporation.

If you wish, you can request the preliminary and/or NUANS report with us, as a first step in the incorporation process, or it can be part of the incorporation package.

If you wish to complete the preliminary search solely, without the NUANS report request, here is the link to do so:

Order Your Preliminary Search

If you would like to complete the preliminary search and also order the NUANS report at the same time, you can proceed through this link:

Business Name Search

The difference between the two options is that the preliminary only searches to see if the business name appears to be available. The preliminary and NUANS searches the business name and a NUANS report is completed to provide name reservation towards incorporation, if a viable name is found.

If you wish for us to assist you in determining the availability of the business name before proceeding through the incorporation process, it is recommend you order either of the above items, and our staff will assist you to find a proposed name for approval.

What if I already have the business name registered?

If you have an existing business operating as a Master Business Licence, Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, or Tradename, you will need to provide a consent from the current business to proceed with the incorporation.  The consent will also need to provide that the current business as registered will be cancelled, as the business is transferred to a corporation.

What if I want to use my own personal name in the business name?

If you wish to use a name such as Susan’s IT Consultants Inc., your first name should be Susan.  If you wish to use Susan Smith IT Consulting Inc. or Smith’s IT Consulting Inc., you will be required to provide a personal consent letter to use your own personal name or surname as part of the business name.

What if my business name is affiliated with other existing businesses?

If your business name is affiliated with another existing business, you will need to obtain consent of the existing business as part of your incorporation process.  If you don’t believe you will be able to obtain consent, it is better to move to a different business name to avoid rejection of your proposed name.

What information is required to Federally incorporate my business?

  • Business name, when naming the corporation, with legal ending
  • Numbered company only requires the legal ending
  • Business address, including both physical address and mailing address
  • Legal name/s of director/s
  • Personal address for directors
  • Class of share selection; either 1 or 2 classes of shares or individual template
  • Business activity (this is solely to gain name approval)

How long does the processing take to Federally incorporate?

Typically, you are looking at a 1 to 2 business days to process the incorporation with the Federal government.  If the chosen name is rejected, this can slow down the process.

How much does it cost to Federally incorporate?

The government filing fee for incorporation is $200.00.  If you wish for assistance with the preliminary, NUANS report, submission and communication with the Federal examiners on your behalf, our fees start at $150.00 +.

Do I need to file my incorporation within my Province or Territory as well?

You are only required to incorporate in one jurisdiction so, in this circumstance, you will have incorporated at the Federal or Canada level.  Once the incorporation has been completed, you will be required to register this incorporation within the jurisdiction where the business will have a physical address.  As example, if you Federally incorporate and the business operates in Alberta, you would need to file the registration of the incorporation within that Province. As another example, if you incorporate Federally but have physical locations for your business in both Ontario and British Columbia, you will be required to register the corporation in both Provinces.  To register is not the same as incorporating, however, most jurisdictions require additional fees above what you have paid the Federal government to register the corporation within their Province or Territory.

Do I require additional permits or licenses?

There is a free listing available called BIZPAL, which assists individuals who are starting businesses in any Province or Territory within Canada to determine if there are additional permits or licensing required, depending on the industry.

To search and navigate any government requirements for your business at no cost to you, please feel free to proceed to this government website

How do I proceed to Incorporate a Federal Incorporation?

Hopefully, you have found this blog to be of assistance.  If you would like more information or you would like to incorporate with our support, here are the links to our Federal incorporation processing.

Federal Profit Incorporation

Incorporate Today

Federal Not For Profit Incorporation

Incorporate Your NFP

Ontario Business Central has been supporting entrepreneurs and new business owners to establish their businesses across Canada since 1992.

If you would like our assistance or have further questions to ask, please feel free to reach out to us directly.
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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.