Registering a Sole Proprietorship in Ontario

Business owner

If you wish to register a Sole Proprietorship in Ontario, I am sure you have many questions and I am going to answer as many as I can all in one blog to make it very easy for you to understand.  A Sole Proprietorship are legal documents required under the Ontario Business Names Act for any business operating in Ontario with the exception of an individual using his or her own first and last name for the business name registrations.

Who can register a Sole Proprietorship in Ontario?

Anyone who is 18 years old and operates a business in Ontario can register a Sole Proprietorship.  You are NOT required to be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident and can be a landed immigrant or you can also live abroad as Sole Proprietor with an Ontario address for the business.  For those who are in Canada on work visas, it is important to check with the immigration office through the Canadian government for your particulars.

  • Canadian citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • Landed Immigrant
  • Foreign resident having business in Ontario

 For Work permits, contact Canada immigration 1-888-242-2100 Monday To Friday 8AM to 4PM EST

Does a Sole Proprietorship need to register in Ontario, Canada?

Yes, any business operating in Ontario is required to register within the Province of Ontario.  The only exception to this is when you use the first and last name only of the Sole Proprietorship.  As an example “Jane Smith”.

Does a Sole Proprietorship need a Business Number (BN)?

No, the BN number is not a requirement when you establish a Sole Proprietorship.  If your business needs an HST, payroll or an Import & Export License, the BN number is required to be set up and the tax accounts attached to this Business Number.

To register a Sole Proprietorship in Ontario, what information is required?

  • Name of the business 
  • Address for the business
  • Business Activity
  • Naics Code
  • Sole Proprietorships name
  • Official Email Address
  • Person submitted the registration (authorized)
  • Billing information and credit card details

Name of Business

Finding a business name is one of the most important elements in starting a business with success in that the business name needs to be catchy, easy, and memorable.  These three areas of choosing a name are hard to come by and it may take time for you to come up with something that has all 3 components to really have your name stand out for your business registration. To get some good ideas, we always recommend browsing through the name generator websites for free to see business names that others are putting into the market place for a price.  Don’t pay it, just view it.  Namelix is a business name generator that we can recommend.  You simply put in a few details and business name ideas start appearing.

Whether you choose to use a name generator or have found something on your own, we offer a service that instantly allows you to determine if that name is available in Ontario called the NUANS preliminary search Live.  This gives you results in seconds and lets you know if the name you would like to use is available or if others have already thought of the business name and have registered, incorporated or trademarked that name.

When you search in the live NUANS preliminary system, if your name is available, you can complete your Sole Proprietorship registration quickly and easily

A Sole Proprietorship does name have name protection however you want to ensure you complete a preliminary search to avoid choosing a business name that another business already has in the marketplace and you also want to avoid infringement of an existing corporation or trademark name where they could seek damages for your conflicting Sole Proprietorship business name.

Address For The Business

Sole Proprietorship registration tends to be started by smaller companies without a lot of revenue to get started.  Don’t take any offense to this,  many large corporations started under the exact same circumstance.  Amazon was started in a garage.  If you have a separate location for your business, you can provide this business address but if you don’t, you can always use your home address as the business address for your business.

Business Activity

The business activity is just a general few words to describe overall what your business operation is.  This may be as simple as landscaping, web design, hair dressing, construction.  Any word or wording that provides a short reference to what your business does.

Naics Code

The Naics code was introduced in Ontario in October of 2021.  This coding system provides thousands of descriptions to different business operations.  You simply scroll through the list and find the 6 digit code that best describes your business.  We are always available to help you determine the correct Naics code for your business specifically.  

Sole Proprietorship Name

When registering your Sole Proprietorship, take a second and look at your photo ID such as Driver’s Licence or Health Card to ensure the personal name you are registering matches your photo ID.  The bank will ask for your photo ID when setting up the bank account for your business.  If it doesn’t match the name you provided for the Sole Proprietorship, often the bank will reject setting up the account.

Official Email Address

The wording “office email address” sounds a bit ominous but it just means the email address you intend to keep for a long time and that the provided email will be available for contact by us or the government over a longer period of time.  At Least the 5 years the registration is valid for. 

Person Submitting the Registration (Authorized)

Typically, the Sole Proprietor is the one authorizing the registration; however, on occasion, the registration is set up by an accountant, lawyer or family member.  It is recommended that the Sole Proprietor is the one who is listed as the authorized individual to register.  This avoids any third party interference with the formation of the business.

Billing and Credit Card Details

At the end of the Sole Proprietorship application, you will be asked to provide the name of the credit card holder, address and credit card payment.  This can be a third party who is able to provide a credit card for your Sole Proprietorship registration.  As long as the name and address match for the individual , the registration will be accepted and completed.  The credit card holder is not listed anywhere on the Sole Proprietorship registration and is only listed on our form for credit card payment.


How Much Does it Cost to Start a Sole Proprietorship?

The fees to register is $60.00 plus handling fee of $16.00 and $60.00 government fee.  Ontario Business Central also provides the exceptional resources to new business owners including the ability to search the business name in the NUANS database, add both .ca and .com domain registrations along with tax setups for BN numbers, hst and payroll.  We also include the freebizguide and free support to those who register with us.

Taxation and your Ontario Business Registration

A Sole Proprietorship is under a group of registered business opportunities in Ontario under the Business Name Registration.  They include the Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership AKA Firm Name For General Partnership and Trade Name aka Business Name for a Corporation.  

The Sole Proprietorship is the one type of business which can only be registered by a single individual.  A corporation cannot register a Sole Proprietorship under corporate law.

With the Sole Proprietorship as an individual owner, there are risks associated for the business owner that should be considered when pursuing registration.  The Sole Proprietorship is considered a personal tax benefit to the individual excluding the business expenses of operating the business.  The Canada Revenue Agency will be notified of the Sole Proprietorship registration and have expectations of income related to the business as part of the personal tax filing submission.

If the business has risk, it is recommended to obtain business insurance for the risk associated with the business.  This is typically considered a business expense to the registered business.

When there are concerns regarding registering the business instead of incorporating, a business corporation offers the business owner limited liability providing personal property security, a more comprehensive tax structure for your business and other advantages such as name protection where an Ontario NUANS report is required and the name is given approval if available by the The Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery. 

If you are considering completing an Ontario Incorporation, we offer to assist you to complete this structure for your business as well.


Ontario Business Central has been assisting entrepreneurs in Ontario to register their Sole Proprietorships since 1992.  We would love to assist you to register your business as well.  

Our team is here to assist you by live chat and by phone for any questions you may have.

We also have a number of other resources you may find valuable to assist you in starting your business.

Related Blogs

What is a Sole Proprietorship This blog provides more details about a Sole Proprietorship including personal liability and liability insurance, Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, extra provincial registrations and the Ontario Business Registry.

Start Your Business This provides 10 steps to getting started with your business from refining your business idea, benefits of registering or incorporating your business to marketing and advertising your business.

9 HOT TIPS for choosing a business name for your startup.

Master Business Licence vs Incorporating  This blog provides details about the differences between registering and incorporating your business.  If you haven’t decided yet, its worth a read to help you determine which best suits you. 

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.