British Columbia - Named or Numbered Incorporation

Incorporating a Business

An incorporated business is its own legal entity separate from the individual shareholders who own the business. There are many advantages to incorporating including the following:

  • Decreased personal risk and liability
  • Name protection for named corporations within the jurisdiction you incorporate
  • Access to capital
  • Tax advantages
  • Flexibility to make changes overtime including the name of business, structure, directors etc.
  • Add secondary businesses under the corporation
  • Stronger presence within the business community

If you have additional questions or research to do, we have provided an Incorporation Guide below to hopefully answer questions you may have. Our staff are always available to assist if you would like to call our office.

Incorporation Guide

Ontario Business Central is not a law firm and therefore cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of incorporation within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional before completing the incorporation.

The most commonly asked questions by clients using our services

What is the difference between incorporating a numbered or named corporation?
A numbered company is very generic where the government where you incorporate provides a number for the corporation along with the jurisdiction you are incorporating within (example British Columbia) and a legal ending. A numbered corporation is commonly used when the owners will not be advertising the business name such as a holding, property management company or if a franchise is being purchased and the corporate name is already protected by the franchise owners. A named corporation is more commonly used when you want to advertise the business to potential clients. There isn’t a significant difference in pricing between a numbered or named corporation.

What jurisdiction should I incorporate?
The incorporation should be completed within the Province the business will operate where the business will have a physical address. Alternatively, you also have the option to federally incorporate. If you are a non-resident of Canada, the only Province which will allow a non resident to incorporate without any shareholders being either Canadians or Permanent Residents is British Columbia.

Why incorporate at the federal level?

Federal or Canada Incorporation

A federally incorporated company provides better name protection throughout most regions in Canada however in providing this, the name is required to be very unique as the business name has the potential of conflict with more existing businesses within more regions of Canada.

Often individuals choose to federally Incorporate when name protection to the highest degree within Canada is desired (outside of Trademarking the business name) you may also wish to trademark the corporate name or are seeking to do business with foreign corporations where Canada is much more readily understood over a Provincial incorporation. The federal government establishes the import and export licensing for those wishing to import and export their products.

With choosing a federal Incorporation, the business name is reviewed and accepted or rejected by the Federal examiners. It is also important when incorporating in this jurisdiction to search a very unique business name with both a distinctive and descriptive element to the business name.

If you wish to trademark the business name, the federal incorporation although not an absolute, provides pre-screening of whether the same business name may be available for completing a Trademark.

If you wish to advertise outside of the Province and gain clients from other jurisdictions, the federal incorporation provides the best name protection where your business name and brand will be heard or viewed by a wider audience.

If you intend or are planning on registering your corporation within other Provinces, the federal incorporation provides the best name protection for an existing corporation within Canada where over time you may expand your business into multiple Provinces.

>>Complete a federal or Canada incorporation

What is a NUANS Report?

A NUANS report is a document that lists similar or same names to a proposed incorporation name. Initially, the NUANS databank is searched for similar or same business names to your proposed corporate name by our staff members. A review and analysis will be sent to you with any concerns regarding your chosen business name. If the proposed name is infringing (too close to) an existing corporation or trademark or if there is a similar or same named small business within the same geographical location, it may be recommended to choose a different business name for review. When the proposed business name appears to be available, the full NUANS report is ordered and provided to the government examiner along with the prepared Articles of Incorporation for review and acceptance.

What is the B.C. Proprietorship Name Request?

In the Province of B.C. a name search is to be completed directly with their corporate registry office. It is important to provide a name that is unique with both a distinctive and descriptive element to the business name. Ontario Business Central will assist you in obtaining name availability with the Province you wish to incorporate within prior to submitted the Articles of Incorporation for approval.

What is the federal Preliminary NUANS search?

The federal preliminary search allows you the opportunity to search a business name you would like to use for incorporation prior to completing the application for Name Reservation or Name availability within the Provinces. This provides a comprehensive search for business names, corporations and trademarks across most of Canada. The Provincial name reservation and name availability searches only specifically search for businesses within the jurisdiction you are incorporating within. The federal preliminary provides a much wider scope of potential conflicts to your business name choice.

What is required from me to Incorporate?

In most jurisdictions, the information required is the same:

  • Name of business
  • Business activity
  • Business address (home address can be used)
  • Legal names of individuals
  • Address of individuals
  • Selection of share structure
  • Citizenship of individuals (whether Canadian or not)
  • Most jurisdictions require a minimum of 25% of the directors to be Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. The exception in British Columbia where you are not required to have any Canadian personal status.

Individuals who are not Canadian Residents

The Province of British Columbia allows individuals who are not Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents to incorporate within this jurisdiction.

This provides a terrific opportunity to those who wish to:

  • To purchase property in Canada
  • To purchase or operate a business with Canada
  • To obtain credit within Canada
  • To immigrate to Canada under business immigration

Why use Ontario Business Central?

We keep things simple for you as a business owner so you can complete your incorporation with us within a few easy minutes. Ontario Business Central will complete the Name Availability Search and Reservation or NUANS Report first to ensure your chosen name is available prior to completing the Incorporation. It is a recommendation to also include the preliminary federal NUANS search to have a much better and wider view of any existing corporations, registrations and Trademarks across most the country. This allows you to make a better determination of the business name and to ensure you are not in the position of infringing against both corporations and trademarks that have name protection.

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