reserving a business name


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searching business names

NUANS Name Search Reports

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Business Name Search and Preliminary Name Search

In this video, we will discuss Nuans name searches and Preliminary Nuans in Canada and provide a breakdown on everything you need to know about searching for a business name.

NUANS Reports - Business Name and Preliminary Search >>>

A NUANS report is mandatory in many jurisdictions in Canada. Get the business name searched, obtain the NUANS report the way you want and get extra options like 50% off when incorporating and domain name protection to build a website.

What is a
NUANS Report?

NUANS Report

  • A seven page report that provides a listing of similar small businesses, corporations and trademarks to your proposed name.
  • This reserves the proposed name for 90 days until you incorporate.
  • The Nuans report is required whenever you are incorporating a business.
  • One name can be reserved per order.
questions about Preliminary vs NUANS Search

What is a
Preliminary Search?

Preliminary Search

  • Determines if a business name is available prior to ordering the Nuans report.
  • Does not reserve the name, only searches for potential conflicts.
  • Not mandatory, but recommended to ensure there are no conflicting business names.
  • Can search 3 names at once (for staff assisted).

questions about Nuans Report and Preliminary Searches

When is a Nuans Report Required?

A Nuans report is required whenever you are incorporating a new business, changing the corporate name, continuing into a new province, or amalgamating existing corporations. This applies everywhere except BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba which have their own name approval system.

What is a Nuans Report Review?

Once the Nuans report is completed, our team reviews the completed report for any business name conflicts. There may be additional conflicts within the report that did not appear during the preliminary search.

Why Are the Preliminary Search & Report Review Important?

  • Reduces the potential of ordering multiple Nuans reports
  • Points out existing businesses, corporations or trademarks that may have similar names to your proposed name
  • Helps avoid your business infringing on another businesses right to an existing business name. If you do infringe on an existing corporate or trademark name, the owner of that business may have the ability to make you change your business name.

What Goes Into Choosing A Business Name?

A business name should have both a distinctive and descriptive element. Having both ensures the business name is unique from competitors.

Distinctive Term

The distinctive element is the part of the business name that is unique and differentiates it from other business names. This is can be something like a family name or coined phrase that makes your business stand out.

Descriptive Term

The descriptive element tells clients what your business offers. This can be a product or service that communicates the primary focus of your business activity.

Legal Ending

The legal ending is an identifier to others that the business is a legal corporation and not a registered business or trademark. All legal endings have the same rights and your choice is just for personal preference.

NUANS checklist
Coined Word Abzoodle
Dance Class
Dictionary Word Relaxation
Family Word Campbell
Geographic Word Toronto
Ice Cubes
Descriptive Name Lowfat
General Name Ontario

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Google Ratings - Ontario Business Central

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4 months ago

Totally Impressed with the service I received. The process was swift and registration completed in a few working days. No wonder the ratings are so high on Google. Keep up the great work.

Kelly White -Testimonials - Ontario Business Central

Kelly White

7 months ago

It was very easy to renew my business license online. An agent followed up with me immediately by email when she noticed an address discrepancy on my application. It was easily resolved. Prompt, professional and friendly service.


Gazelle Ghajar

6 months ago

Awesome company to work with. Website is easy to navigate into finding what you need, online forms are simple to fill in, and the request was processed and confirmed within the afternoon! Very impressed with their service and will be using again for my husband's business come January.

NUANS Learning Centre

Where is a Nuans Report Required? +

The NUANS report or Name Reservation is required in these jurisdictions:

  • Ontario
  • Alberta
  • Canada or Federal
  • New Brunswick
  • North West Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have their own name approval system that is part of their incorporation process. A separate Nuans report is not required in those provinces.

When Do You Require a Nuans Report/Name Reservation? +

The NUANS Report is necessary when you are completing the following within the jurisdictions noted:

Articles of Incorporation Articles of Amendment Articles of Continuance Articles of Amalgamation Extra Provincial Registration Business Name Registration
Canada / Federal N/A
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Northwest Territories
Prince Edward Island
British Columbia

How Does a Nuans Report Appear? +

Listed below is a sample of the NUANS report:

Sample NUANS Report 1
Sample NUANS Report 2

What Can You Put at the End of a Company Name? +

If the business is registering and not incorporated words such as enterprises, company, co., or unlimited can be used as an identifier. It is not required to have these kinds of added elements as part of your business name.

If the business is incorporating, a legal ending is required as an identifier that the business name is a separate legal entity from those individuals who own the business.

Although all legal endings have the same rights, the selected legal ending is not interchangeable once the Nuans report is ordered. In most jurisdictions, you cannot change the legal ending to complete the incorporation process. If the selected legal ending changes, a new NUANS report most likely will be required.

The following legal endings are available to business corporations:

  • Incorporated
  • Inc.
  • Limited
  • Ltd.
  • Corporation
  • Corp.
  • Professional Corporation (exclusive to professional incorporations)
  • Societe Professionelle (exclusive to professional incorporations)
  • Limitee
  • Lte

Restrictions on Corporate Business Names +

As a business corporation in the Province of Ontario there are words or wordings not permitted by the Business Corporations Act. They are as follows:

  • Obscene word or wording
  • Co-op, co-operative or any variation
  • Housing
  • Association
  • Any wording that might be confusing with a government institution
  • Engineering, Engineers (unless written consent from association)
  • College, University, Institute (unless written consent from Ministry of Education)

What Are the Naming Requirements for a Not for Profit Corporation? +

Examiners generally want to see a distinctive and descriptive element to your name. The distinctive part helps distinguish your NFP from others, and the descriptive element gives an idea of what you do. The name cannot appear to be a for-profit business name, and must also correlate with your object clauses (For example, if the word FOUNDATION is used, you must use foundation clauses).

Non-profit corporations are not required to include a legal ending. While the option to include certain legal endings is there, most often Non-profit corporations do not use a legal ending as part of the business name.

The legal endings that are available to a NFP corporation are as follows:

  • Corporation
  • Corp.
  • Incorporated
  • Inc.
  • Incorporee

A Non-profit incorporation does not have access to the following:

  • Limited
  • Ltd.
  • Limitee
  • Lte.
Distinctive Element Descriptive Element Legal Ending
Waterloo Lawn Bowling Inc.
Village Baptist Church Inc.
Eglinton Fine Shoes Corp.
Wickles Children’s Centre Corp.

Is a Nuans Required When a Corporate Name is Changing to a New Name? +

Yes, if the corporation resides in any jurisdiction besides British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, a NUANS report is required for the new corporate name and must be filed with Articles of Amendment.

Is a Nuans Report Required When a Corporation is Continuing Into a New Jurisdiction? +

Yes, a NUANS report is required when a corporation is moving or continuing from a different jurisdiction into any jurisdiction besides British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba. The NUANS report and Articles of Continuance are to be filed together.

Is the Nuans Report Required if You Are Filing an Extra Provincial Licence? +

Only extra provincial licences for Alberta require a new Nuans report. If you are applying for an extra provincial licence in another province, you do not need to order a Nuans report.

What if You Make a Change to the Exact Name You Provided for the Nuans Report Order? +

Once a NUANS report has been completed, you must use the exact business name from the report to incorporate. If you decide to change any part of the business name, a new NUANS report or Name Reservation is required.

How Long is a Nuans Report Usable? +

The NUANS report or Name Reservation is valid for 90 days from the date the NUANS report was completed. If the 90 days has passed and you wish to use the business name to incorporate, you must complete a new NUANS report.

Can Someone Else Use the Business Name I Requested for the Nuans Report Before I Incorporate? +

Once the NUANS report or Name reservation is completed, the exact same corporate name cannot be used by a third party without a consent from the NUANS report holder. It is recommended to complete an incorporation soon after the report is completed to avoid any third party access to the exact business name.

Is a Nuans Report Required to Register a Business? +

No, a NUANS report is only mandatory for incorporations in any jurisdiction besides British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba. Many individuals will order a NUANS report to gain a full list of similar business names, corporations and trademarks to the one that is proposed. You can also order a preliminary search prior to registering a business in order to check that the name does not have any conflicts.

Is the Nuans Report Required for a Trademark? +

Yes, the NUANS report is mandatory under the title “trademark search”. The NUANS report for a trademark is unique from its counterpart incorporating businesses where the results lean more to other trademarked names.

Who Reviews the Nuans Report? +

When you receive the completed NUANS report, the first thing you should do is go through each page and look for any business, corporate or trademark names similar to the proposed name provided. The proposed name is listed above the NUANS report lined parameters and is the first name listed within the report. The word “proposed” is listed with the name reservation number for you to verify, this is your proposed name.

Any of the names listed from here throughout the report should be scrutinized against what business name you would like to use. Ultimately, it is your decision on whether you move forward to incorporate the proposed name. Others may view the report including NUANS members such as ourselves, and lawyers.

Government employees will review the NUANS report as the incorporation is in progress however they typically have a hands off approach in most jurisdictions to denying a business name incorporation unless the name is exact to an existing corporate or trademark name.

What if There is a Conflicting Corporation or Trademark Name? +

If there is a same or similar corporation or trademark to the proposed or chosen business name, it is recommended you move to a new business name. Incorporating using a similar name to an existing corporation or trademark, you risk the existing entity considering your business to be infringing. There is a possibility the existing named owner may seek infringement against your conflicting business name.

If there is an existing registered business name that is not incorporated or trademarked, you do not risk the opportunity for infringement, however you do risk confusion with the existing business.

The best practice is to find a unique business name that does not interfere with an existing business name, corporation or trademark. Ultimately, you want your brand to be exclusively and uniquely yours.

Domain Search & Registration +

Ontario Business Central offers you access to search any domain name you wish to use for your business at the same time that we search the name for either business registration or incorporation.

For example, if you are incorporating a business as “Equine Investments Inc.” when we complete a preliminary search within the NUANS databank for availability of this name, we can at the same time search both the .ca and .com domain registration for availability.

Connecting Your Business Name & Domain Name +

To ensure there isn’t confusion when clients search for your business online it assists when the domain name matches the business name.

For example if your business name is U R WELCOME and your domain name is, then you have better chances of having good SEO (search engine optimization) for the business.

In most circumstances, individuals wish to have the same domain name as the business name and our process makes it very easy to search both at the same time, and register simultaneously.

.CA Registration +

The .ca is the Canadian extension for a website in Canada. It is important as a Canadian business that you gain this URL for your business even if your business also offers services or products outside of Canada. The Canadian .ca highlights that this Canadian corporation has an online presence in Canada. Google and other social media providers recognize the .ca for a Canadian company and will typically provide more influence or strength to a .ca for Canadian potential clients.

.COM Registration +

The .com is a universal URL and is more common in the United States but is used all over the world. By gaining the .com extension, this will provide additional protection to your .ca presence. Often outside registrants will obtain the .com URL to your business name and attempt to sell it to you where the pricing is much higher than if you originally registered it.

Our recommendation is if you haven’t already completed the .ca and .com domain registration as of yet that you do this as part of your business startup. The cost is minimal and provides you with incredible exposure to the internet.


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