Original Publish Date: May 24, 2019
If you have a corporation that is already in existence, but you are looking to operate under a different business name, you may wish to look at registering a Trade Name, also known as a doing business as or DBA, under your corporate name. This registration provides you with a business registration, giving you the ability to operate a business under a different name than the full corporate name. There are a number of reasons why you may wish to operate your business using something different than the legal name of the corporation. Other types of business registrations, such as Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships, are not able to register operating names under their businesses.
The Basics of Trade Name Registration:
- Owned by a corporation
- Business registration may need to be renewed (depending on the Province)
- Easy to establish and cancel
- Inexpensive to start
- No business name protection – this only applies to your trade name (corporation name will have name protection)
- Corporations can register as many business name registrations as they wish
Why Register a Trade Name?
There are a number of reasons why you may be looking at registering your business name as a Trade Name under your corporation and operating a business under a different name. All corporations, including regular business corporations and professional corporations, have the ability to register trade names.
- You have a numbered company and want to operate a named business
Ex: 12345 Ontario Inc., operating as Diamond Decks
- You want to operate your business name without the legal ending of your corporate name for signage, etc.
Ex: Arman’s Roofing Inc., operating as Arman’s Roofing
- You have multiple business locations and want to use a different trade name registration for each.
Ex: Toronto Plumbing, Brampton Plumbing, Whitby Plumbing.
- You are expanding to offer new products or services that aren’t reflected in your corporate name
Ex: Joanna’s Fitness Inc., operating as Joanna’s Supplements
- Professional corporations wanting to operate business under a name not limited by the governing body regulations.
Ex. John Smith CPA Professional Corporation, operating as Main Street Accounting
- You want to accept payments or invoice using a shortened version of your corporate name.
Ex. Toronto Furnace, HVAC and Heating Specialists Inc., operating as Toronto HVAC
When a trade name is registered, the legal name of the business owner is listed as the corporate name. This is different from a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, where the personal name of the owner is listed. The trade name registration is connected directly to the corporation and not the individual owners.
Do a Business Name Search Before Registering Your Business
Before registering your business name, you may wish to pre-search the business name to check if there are any existing businesses with this name. Although NUANS name reservations are not required for trade name registrations, completing registrations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and B.C. require a name reservation be done through the Provincial Ministry before the business can be registered, and Ontario Business Central offers assistance to provide the required documents to gain name approval as part of your registration in these Provinces.
A NUANS pre-search is not required for a trade name registration in any of the Provinces; however, you may still wish to complete NUANS searches first in order to avoid potential conflicts or rejection of your business name approval. You can include this business name search with your business registration, so the name is checked against the Federal NUANS databank for similar or matching existing business or corporate name or trademark registrations.
Naming regulations vary between Provinces, with some having more restrictions on how you are able to name and register the business. Some Provinces allow any business name to be registered, while others state that both a distinctive element and descriptive element must be included in the name registration.
If you would like to do a business name search to see if the chosen name appears to be available, here is the link to submit. Please choose the Federal option.
Regardless of the reason you have chosen to register a Trade Name, Ontario Business Central can help you get it completed and sent to you as quickly as the same day you order it. We can assist with registering your Trade Name in any of these Provinces:
When you are ready to register your Trade Name, Ontario Business Central can help you in completing your registration quickly and easily.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
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.