Original Post Date: Oct 25, 2021
A Company Key in Ontario provides protection to an incorporated or registered business where a Company Key is required to have access to the business’s records and updates such as an address change, change of corporate name, cancellation or dissolution..
Across many jurisdictions in Canada, a Company Key or corporate key has been introduced as a protection for corporate and registered business access. Corporations Canada has had the corporate key as part of the incorporation process with them for many years.
A Company Key in Ontario was introduced on October 19, 2021. The Company Key is a sequence of 9 digit numbers exclusively provided to each business. The Company Key is produced at the time of registration or incorporation. If your business has already been registered or incorporated and you wish to update information about your business, the Company Key is available through the province or you can by-pass the requirement by using a service provider or intermediary such as ourselves..
A Company Key is similar to the PIN number attached to your bank card where the PIN is needed to access a bank account. The Company Key is not mandatory when using a service provider or intermediary as stated but once you obtain the Company Key, your company or corporate records cannot be updated without this key. The Company Key is mandatory when dealing directly with the province and is optional when using a third party agent like Ontario Business Central who has intermediary status with the province. With the service providers or intermediaries you can provide the Company Key as part of your update or not. It is completely at your discretion whether you provide this information or not.
Why would I want a Company Key for my business?
The Company Key offers protection to your corporate or registered business records. The public system is completely open allowing anyone to gain access to your business and allows changes to your business without your authorization or consent. Once the Company Key is established, this 9 digit number will be required for any subsequent document filing for your business with The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services providing protection to your business identity moving forward. You can complete the flings directly with the Province if you wish or use us to complete it on your behalf. Many individuals find the direct government system difficult to navigate.
We keep things simple and easy to process whatever filing you wish to complete from a new or renewed business, incorporation, amendment to your business or corporation and to complete the cancellation or dissolution of your business. The province has provided us with the intermediary trusted status so assist you with any update you wish to complete.
It is not mandatory to obtain the Company Key to start or change your business. You may continue to register and change your corporation without the requirement of the Company Key if you wish.
We have been assisting entrepreneurs and business owners to start, change, cancel or search businesses across Canada for almost 30 years. Within our industry we are seeing more fraudulent transactions on behalf of existing businesses due to identity theft of businesses, similar to personal identity theft of individuals.
For Years, we have heard from clients who couldn’t understand why anyone had access to their business where changes could be made without their authority. All of this changes once you obtain your Company Key where it puts a lock on your corporate or business records.
How do you obtain a Company Key?
We provide you the access to obtain the Company Key when starting your business.
The system of registering or incorporating has had time delays of up to a few days.
When updating your current record, if you do not want to wait or are not interested in having the Company Key, you can opt out of the Company Key and obtain your amendment or cancellation on a same day basis without an assigned Company Key.
Company Key for a New Business
Any new business whether incorporating or registering in the Province of Ontario has the ability to choose whether they wish to obtain the Company Key as part of the registration process. This is applicable for any new startup including all of these Ontario registrations:
- Articles of Incorporation
- ONCA Not For Profit Incorporation
- Articles of Continuance
- Articles of Amalgamation
- Business Name Registration (new name for Master Business Licence)
- Sole Proprietorship
- Firm Name or General Partnership
- Business name for a General Partnership or Limited Partnership
How do you obtain a Company Key as a New Business Owner?
If you are just starting a business, you can decide to opt in for the Company Key as part of the original incorporation or registration process. Once your business has been created, you will receive the Company Key to your official email address as provided. As the key-holder it is your responsibility to keep the key confidential. Moving forward, each time you make a change to your business, you will need to provide your Company Key as part of the process.
Company Key for an Existing Business
Any existing business already registered or incorporated in Ontario will not automatically be included in the Company Key set up. You as a business owner can continue to complete corporate filings with us without the need of a Company Key or, you at any point can apply to obtain the Company Key. Once you do, you can use the Company Key for any subsequent filings with the Province of Ontario including:
- Changing corporate name
- Changing corporate or business address
- Changing corporate or business owners
- Adding a trade name aka registering a business name for a corporation) to an existing corporation
- Renewal of a Master Business License aka (Business Name Registration)
- Renewal of a Sole Proprietorship
- Renewal of a General Partnership
- Renewal of a Trade Name aka (Business Name for a Corporation)
- Initial Notice filing for a Corporation
- Notice of Change for a Corporation
- Annual Return for a Corporation
How do you obtain a Company Key as an Existing Business Owner?
The process to obtain your Company Key is easy and can be done at any point. You don’t need to be making a change to your business to apply for the Company Key and once you have it, you have the protection against others having access.
Use an email address that you intend to keep for the long haul. Any government updates or requirements will be sent to this email address so it is important to consider when you have more than one email which one you will designate for your business entity as the official email address.
Steps to getting your Company Key
- Apply online for your company key with us. We will ensure the given business address matches the government records before applying for the key. If the address matches, we will submit a request for the company key and it will be mailed to the confirmed address you have within the timeframe of the Province of Ontario.
- If the address requires updating before the company key can be requested, We offer the ability to update your business or corporate address before requesting the company key. The changes can be made quickly by selecting the applicable service if you know that the business address requires updating.
Incorporated Business Address Update
- Once you have your Company Key you have protected your business from that point moving forward against any changes to your business without your consent or with whom you deem to have access to your Company Key.
How can Ontario Business Central help you in this new system?
We have been gearing up for months to offer you the best experience possible in the new Ontario Business Registry system. Ontario Business Central is an intermediary, trusted partner to the Province of Ontario.
As an existing business, we can make changes to your business without the need of a Company Key. You also have the ability to use your Company Key, and provide sole access to your corporate records within our system.
Ontario Business Central has been serving the entrepreneur, business and legal sectors of Canada’s economy for almost 30 years. With every change there are questions and confusions about how the process works. Our staff are 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 reach out to 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.