How to Incorporate in Canada

Canada Business Incorporation

Benefits of incorporating in Canada

When you’re looking to get your business started in Canada, or if you’re looking to grow your existing business, incorporating may be just what you’re looking for. The benefits to incorporating can be numerous, and can include everything from potential tax advantages, to protecting your business name and protecting your personal assets with limited liability.

Hearing the words ‘incorporate your business’ can sometimes be intimidating, but once you learn a little bit about the process and benefits, it can make the whole idea seem a lot less scary and a lot more possible. And, Ontario Business Central is here to make the entire process as simple as possible. 

There exists a myth that a business must first reach a level of revenue or size in order to incorporate – this is completely not true! Regardless of the size of your business operations or the number of people involved, incorporating your business is always an option. 

A sole individual is able to create and run a corporation completely on their own, even if they are just starting out on a small scale. And, one of the benefits to incorporating is that the corporation can grow and evolve as your business does, so directors can come on board, operating names can be added and the business can migrate to different locations, if needed. This differs from a small business registration, such as a sole proprietorship, which has limited changes available to it.

Corporations in Canada are also granted name protection, meaning another business cannot register a confusingly similar name to the incorporated name. Now, provincial corporations are given name protection at the provincial level – an Ontario corporation would have name protection for their business name within Ontario. But, a federal corporation would have name protection across Canada, which is the highest level of name protection available, aside from trademarking the name.

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Federal vs Provincial Incorporation

When incorporating a business in Canada, you have the option to create either a federal or provincial corporation. There are some differences between provincial and federal corporations, including the cost to incorporate, that you will want to be aware of before making the decision on how you want to incorporate your business in Canada.

The government fee to incorporate federally is $200. After the federal corporation is completed, you would then register your corporation extra-provincially into any province where you have a physical business location. The fee for this extra-provincial registration varies from province to province, with some having no government fees associated and others having registration fees that exceed the costs of federally incorporating. 

In addition, some provinces will require a separate name approval, even after the name has been approved at the federal level. The process to extra-provincially register is different for each province, but Ontario Business Central can assist with registering your federal corporation into any province out of which you’ll be operating your business. 

The requirements for each province or territory are as follows:


  • Address for the corporation in Alberta
  • Director with an Alberta address or a registered agent appointed in Alberta
  • Copy of the director’s ID
  • Manual filing with the province
  • $350 government fees

British Columbia

  • Address for the corporation in British Columbia
  • Director with a B.C. address or a power of attorney appointed in B.C.
  • Filed electronically when the corporation is registered
  • $351.50 government fees


  • Address for the corporation in Manitoba
  • Director with an Manitoba address or a registered agent appointed in Manitoba
  • Copy of the director’s ID
  • Manual filing with the province
  • $350 government fee


  • Address for the corporation in Ontario
  • Director with an Ontario address or an agent for service in Ontario
  • Filed electronically when the corporation is registered
  • No government fee


  • Address for the corporation in Saskatchewan
  • Director with a Saskatchewan address or a power of attorney appointed in Saskatchewan
  • Certificate of Compliance
  • Filed electronically after the corporation is registered
  • $50 name approval government fee
  • $255 government fee and $15 Gazette publication fee

If you need to extra-provincially register into another province or territory, feel free to contact our office and an agent can help with providing more information.

How to incorporate in Canada online

Ontario Business Central’s goal is to make it as easy as possible to incorporate your business federally, so you can get started right away with running your business. The process can take anywhere from 1-3 business days from start to finish, and a rush option is also available, where you can have your Federal Articles of Incorporation in your hands within as little as 4 hours.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Enter your information online
  2. Confirm the business name search results (if you are incorporating as a named corporation)
  3. Review and confirm your drafted Articles of Incorporation
  4. Receive your completed corporate documents!

It’s really just as easy as that, but let’s go through each step in a little more detail, so you know what to expect.

There are a few details you will need to confirm in order to have your business federally incorporated. These details include:

  • Proposed corporation name (or numbered corporation)
  • Head office address
  • Director names and addresses
  • Share structure details – we provide you with two standard templates to choose from, or you can use your own if you prefer
  • Extra-provincial registrations, if needed

We also offer additional options, if you are looking to get everything done in one place at the same time. These options include CRA registrations (HST, Payroll and Import/Export), domain name registrations, trade name/operating-as name registration, and corporate supplies to help keep your corporate documents properly organised. If any options are included, more information would be requested in order to get these completed.

1. Confirm the business name search results

Incorporated companies can register either as a numbered or named corporation. If you opt to use a number, we will only need you to confirm the legal ending you want to use. No business name search is needed, and your Articles of Incorporation would be drafted for your review.

If you include a proposed corporation name, an agent will search the NUANS system for any names that could potentially be seen as conflicting. Federal corporate names are reviewed by an examiner at Corporations Canada, who will flag any names they deem to be too similar to your proposed corporation name. Ontario Business Central makes every attempt to try to avoid this by bringing potentially conflicting names to your attention before anything is submitted for the examiner’s review. 

Once you are happy with the name search results and confirm the name, it is reserved with a NUANS report, and we are ready to draft your Articles of Incorporation for you.

2. Review and confirm your drafted Articles of Incorporation

Corporations Canada requires confirmation that all directors review and sign the corporation documents before submitting. The agent working on your file will send a copy of the prepared documents for review and signing. It’s important to do a careful and thorough review of all of the information, as any errors in names and addresses are able to be corrected while the documents are still in draft. 

After all of the directors have had the opportunity to review and sign the documents, confirmation can be provided by return email and the Articles of Incorporation are submitted for examiner approval.

3. Receive your completed corporate documents!

Once submitted, we typically receive the completed documents back within 1-3 business days. For a numbered corporation, there is a quicker turnaround time of about 1 business day, since there is no name approval needed.

Federal named corporations usually take a little bit longer, since the extra step of name approval is needed. We usually expect to see these completed by the examiners within 1-3 business days. If we request expedited service, this timeline is cut down to about 4 hours. 

When the corporation is approved, your completed Articles of Incorporation are sent, and your corporation is now active! If any extra-provincial registrations are needed, we can now proceed with these registrations.

Are you ready to incorporate?

Corporations in Canada have a number of benefits they are able to benefit from and capitalise on. Your accountant or trusted tax professional will be able to help explain the tax advantages that incorporating your business offers. 

When you are ready to move forward with your federal corporation, or if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to reach out to our staff, who are always ready to help answer your questions!

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Toll-Free: 1-800-280-1913
Local: 1-416-599-9009
Fax: 1-866-294-4363
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.

The information Ontario Business Central provides is solely to be used as an informative guide. We do not offer legal or accounting advice.
You may wish to obtain either legal or accounting advice prior to proceeding with the Sole Proprietorship Registration.