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Use this form to register a new business name or renew an existing business registration in Ontario including a Sole Proprietorship (1 owner), Firm name for a General Partnership (2 + owners), Business Name for a Corporation (Trade Name or DBA).

Watch Video > Sole Proprietorship Registration
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9 DIGITS REQUIRED

Business Identification Number: Is a 9 digit unique number provided by the Province of Ontario for each registration submitted and completed. The BIN number is located on your current Master Business Licence and is required when renewing a registration.

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Included with each domain name:

  • Domain name for 1-5 years
  • Contact Privacy (non disclosure under Who Is)
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Domain Lock to protect from unauthorized domain transfers

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What is a Sole Proprietorship?

A Sole Proprietorship is under the classification of setting up a business known as Master Business Licences. Sole Proprietorship specifically is designed for the single business owner. This establishes a small business with 1 individual as the business owner and operator.

Details about registering a Sole Proprietorship
  • Owned by 1 individual
  • Registration exists for 5 years and is renewable
  • Taxation for the business is included in individuals’ tax return filing
  • Easy to establish and cancel
  • Inexpensive to start
Things to consider when completing a Sole Proprietorship
  • No name protection for the name of the business
  • Personal liability where if there is personal or property damage due to the activities of the business, the individual Sole Proprietorship may be held responsible
  • Taxation – depending on earned income from the business revenues filing under the individuals’ personal tax return may be higher than if the business was incorporated
  • Inflexible – the Sole Proprietorships are limited to changes where the only changes available are address changes of business or individual and business activity
  • Limited access to credit
  • Viewed as a small organization by other businesses and suppliers
  • Restrictions on wording of Sole Proprietorship to ensure the registration is not viewed as more than one person. Words which are not permitted include group, associates, consultants and any wording where it may be confusing to the business being owned by one single person
  • Another business cannot operate under a Sole Proprietorship
Why do individuals register Sole Proprietorships?

A Sole Proprietorship is a useful tool to start a business whether the business is a grassroots organization, a part time business or a way to see how the world views your business idea with little cost to establish the business.

The main things to keep in mind when registering a Sole Proprietorship are:

  • How important is name protection to the business?
    If you are spending what you consider to be a fair amount of money for promotional material, advertising, social media and the business name is going to be viewed by a larger segment of the population, name protection for the business may be an important aspect of protecting the brand you want to establish. If you are spending money to promote the business and are concerned about protecting the name or brand, incorporating the business where name protection is available, may suit your needs better.
  • How important is liability protection?
    When registering a Sole Proprietorship, the business is not a separate entity from you as it is when you incorporate. If the business you are operating is considered to be at higher risk for personal or property damage from the activities associated with the business, it may be a good idea to view incorporation as an alternative where the business is a separate entity from yourself as an individual. You may also want to speak with your insurance broker or insurance company regarding obtaining business insurance in the event of risk.
  • What about taxation?
    A Sole Proprietorship taxation is filed under the personal taxes of the individual who operates that business. If the revenues associated with the business are or will be higher than the needs of the individual owner, it may be an option to look at incorporation or at minimum a conversation with an accountant or tax expert to advise you on what would work best for you in your specific circumstance.

 

What is a General Partnership?

A General Partnership is under the classification of setting up a business known as a Master Business Licence. The General Partnership is specifically designed for 2 or more individual owners, or 2 or more Corporations registered in Ontario.

Details about registering a General Partnership as 2 or more Individual owners
  • Owned by 2 or more individuals
  • Registration exists for 5 years and is renewable
  • Taxation for the business is included in the 2 or more individuals tax return filing
  • Easy to establish and cancel
  • Inexpensive to start
  • No name protection for the business name
  • Personal Liability for the business by the individual owners
  • Taxation is under the individual owners
  • Inflexible to making changes to details of registration
  • Limited access to credit
  • Viewed as a small organization by other businesses and suppliers

Details to register as a General Partnership between 2 or more corporations

  • Owned by 2 or more corporations
  • Registrations exist for 5 years and are renewable
  • Taxation for the General Partnership belongs to the corporation establishing the partnership
  • Easy to establish and cancel
  • Inexpensive to start
  • No name protection for the business name
  • Liability reverts to each corporation involved in the General Partnership
  • Taxation reverts to each corporation
  • Inflexible to make changes to the details of registration wording where it may be confusing to the business being owned by one single person
  • Another business cannot operate under a Sole Proprietorship.
Why do individuals register a General Partnership?

A General Partnership is a useful tool to start a business whether the business is a grassroots organization, a part time business or a way to see how the world views your business idea with little cost to establish.

The main things to keep in mind when registering a General Partnership are:

  • How important is name protection to the business? If you are spending what you consider to be a fair amount of money for promotional material, advertising, social media whereas the business name is going to be viewed by a larger segment of the population, name protection for the business may be an important aspect of protecting the brand you want to establish. If you are spending money to promote the business and are concerned about protecting the name or brand, incorporating the business where name protection is available may better suit your needs.
  • How important is liability protection? When registering a General Partnership as 2 or more individuals, the business is not a separate entity from you as individuals. If the business you are operating is, in your mind, at higher risk for personal or property damage from the activities associated with the business, it may be a good idea to view incorporation as an alternative where the business is a separate entity from yourself as an individual. You may also want to speak with your insurance broker or insurance company regarding obtaining business insurance in the event of risk.
  • What about taxation? A General Partnership as 2 or more individuals is filed under the individuals’ personal taxes of the individuals who operate that business. If the revenues associated with the business are or will be higher than the needs of the individual owners, it may be an option to look at incorporation or at minimum a conversation with an accountant or tax expert to advise you on what would work best for you in your specific circumstance.


What is a Tradename?

A Trade Name also known as a DBA or carrying on business name is under the classification of setting up a business known as a Master Business License. The Trade Name is specifically designed for registering a secondary business name under an existing corporation already registered in Ontario.

Details about registering a Trade Name
  • Owned by an existing corporation either incorporated or registered as a corporation within the Province of Ontario
  • Registration exists for 5 years and is renewable
  • Taxation for the business is included under the corporate tax return filing
  • Easy to establish and cancel
  • Inexpensive to start
  • No name protection for the business name
  • Inflexible to making changes to details of registration
Why do individuals register a Trade Name?

A Trade Name is a useful tool to operate a secondary business name outside of the corporate name.

Typically, individuals operate a Trade Name under their existing corporation for the following reasons:

  1. To use the business name without the legal ending for signage or advertising. Example ABC Holdings Inc. added a trade name ABC Holdings.
  2. To add a secondary business name under the corporate name to highlight a specific section to a business. ABC Holdings Inc. added a trade name DEF Landscaping.
The main things to keep in mind when registering a Trade Name under a corporation are:
  • How important is name protection to the business? If you are spending what you consider to be a fair amount of money for promotional material, advertising, social media whereas the business name is going to be viewed by a larger segment of the population, name protection for the business may be an important aspect of protecting the brand you want to establish with your business. If you are spending money to promote the business and are concerned about protecting the name or brand of the business, incorporating the business where name protection is available may suit your needs.
  • How important is liability protection? When the business is registered as a trade name under an existing corporation, the corporation has liability protection which is carried forward with the trade name operating under the corporation.
  • What about taxation? A trade name is taxed under the taxation of the corporation and any revenues generated from the secondary business. Any tax accounts including HST, Payroll etc will also be considered under the corporate umbrella of the existing corporation the trade name is registered under.

 

Register/renew a small business online by selecting one of our packages above. The detailed information on this page provides answers to the questions of key importance in setting up an Ontario business registration

1. How to Register or Renew a Business in Ontario

A small business in Ontario may be registered as an ONTARIO BUSINESS REGISTRATION (also known as a "FORM 1" or Master Business Licence) as a simple, inexpensive way to set up your business. The registration is available as either a Sole Proprietor (for a single individual) or Partnership (for two or more individuals) or as a Trade Name ("operating as" name under a Corporation).

The information required for company registration:

  • The business name
  • Business address
  • Principal place of business in Ontario
  • Individual/s name and address (Post Office Boxes are not accepted)
  • Activity carried on by the business
  • Person authorizing the registration of the business
  • Naics Code for business activity from listing provided

Advantages & Disadvantages of Registering a Business in Ontario

The advantages of registering an Ontario Business Registration are that it is an inexpensive and simple format to begin doing business. The disadvantages are that there is little name protection of your business name and the business owner is fully responsible for all the debts and obligations related to his/her business.

 

2. Choosing a Business Name

Choosing the right name for your new business is a very important decision. You want a name that will draw potential customers, help clients identify your product or service and build a business image. Choose a name that is easy to remember and provides information so potential customers easily understand your product or service.

A business registration is not required if an individual is doing business under his/her own name (e.g. John Smith). If a descriptive element (e.g. John Smith Books) is added then under the "Business Names Act" the registration must be completed.

The individual registering the business assumes full responsibility for any risk in confusion with an existing corporation, business name or trade mark. It is very important when choosing a name for your business that you consider the uniqueness of the name. Any name provided by the registrant will be accepted by the Ontario Government, as there is no name protection for small businesses. If you choose a name that is deceptively similar to an existing name, you risk legal action being taken by the other party.

Restrictions On Name Use

When choosing a business name certain words or expressions cannot be used. They are as follows:

  • Obscene or objectionable words in nature
  • The words "University, College or Institute" may not be used unless written consent is Provided by the Ministry of Education.
  • The words Incorporation (Inc.), Limited (Ltd.) or Corporation (Corp.) may not be used, as this is an identifier for a corporate entity.
  • Individual names other than individuals registering business (e.g. Tiger Woods)
  • Words that imply an association with a government body or are restricted by Federal or Ontario Laws.
  • Sole Proprietors cannot use words to imply more than one individual (e.g. group, associates or partners)
  • Numbers that would make it appear the business is an Ontario numbered corporation.
  • The @ sign is not available to use in any business name.
  • You may use the following symbols but not as the first character in your business name: ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + ; : { } / ^ \

If you want your business name in a language other than the Roman Alphabet you may do so as long as the name is registered in the Roman Alphabet. Your business name may be displayed in Chinese, Italian, Spanish etc. as long as the English name is also displayed at the place of business.

Business Name Search

You want to chose a business name that is tailored to you and your business. It is very difficult to find a name that is not infringing on another business name. Your name should be specific to you, what you do, the area you live, the times available, the speediness or accuracy of your service etc. all of these identifiers help to make a name that is unique to you and your business.

Business Name Availability

There are two ways to search for available business names as part of the registration process. Neither of these is mandatory, however it is recommended that you consider verifying the business name availability to ensure you are not infringing on another business name and to verify that you have a distinctive name to separate you from your competitors.

Ontario Business Name Search
This is a search done through The Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. This database searches for exact name matches against business names that already exist in Ontario. It does not search for similar names to the name you are proposing. It does not verify that you are not infringing on another corporation name, trademark within the province of Ontario or other provinces.

NUANS Name Search (new updated automated name search)
This databank contains records throughout most of Canada. It displays corporations and business registrations with the same or similar name to the one proposed. This search is much more effective in determining name availability. A preliminary search is done initially to check for availability before the expense of ordering the actually search printout.

3. Finalizing Your Business Registration

The next step to complete the Ontario Business Registration is to begin the registration of your new business. You will be prompted to provide the following information:

  • Do you require an Ontario Business Name Search?
  • Do you require a Nuans Name Search?
  • Is this a New business, Renewal, Amendment or Cancellation?
  • Provide business name/s in order of preference
  • Business address
  • Address of principal place of business or same as above
  • Activity of business
  • Sole Proprietorship or Partnership?
  • Individual/s name and address ( P.0 Box not acceptable) - if you are in a rural area, provide your rural route number or lot number when street address is not available.
  • The person authorizing the registration (usually the owner of the business if other than yourself).

Once the registration is completed the new business is registered with the Ontario Government and given a Business Identification Number (BIN) that identifies your registration from any other. The registration is valid for a period of five years as indicated on the completed form. Within that five year period if you want to amend or cancel the registration you must provide your business BIN number to link the changed registration with the previous one. After a five year period, you are required to renew your business registration.

After You Have Registered Your Company

Renewal of Business Name

Your business registration must be renewed every five years. The renewal must be completed within 60 days of the expiry date of your registration. On your present registration it will show you two dates, when the business commenced in Ontario and when it will expire. If this time has lapsed you must register your business as New. You also have the business BIN number that must be given to link the expiring registration to the renewal. When completing the business registration form you will be required to provide the same information as when you originally registered your business name. Once the form is completed you will have five years before requiring to renew your business registration again.

Amendment of Business Name

When amending your Business Name the business BIN number is required. The Ontario government allows you to make changes from your original registration in these areas:

  • Business address or principal place of business in Ontario
  • Individual/s address
  • Activity of your business

You may not change the name of the individuals or business name by amending. If you require these changes a cancellation of the old business name must occur and a new business registration must be submitted. When completing the business registration form you will be required to provide the same information as when you originally registered your business name. Once the form is completed the amendment will continue throughout the remainder of the five year period.

Cancellation of Business Registration

If you want to wind up or cancel your Business Registration, you must file a cancellation with the Ontario Government. The information provided must be completed as when you initially registered your business with the business name, name and address of individuals, activity of business and person authorizing the cancellation. The business Identification Number (BIN) must be inserted to link the cancellation of your registration against the business your originally registered with the government. Your (BIN) number is listed on your original registration.

Once you have completed the filing of the cancellation your business name will be shown as a cancellation and no longer as an active business in Ontario until the original expiry date has passed.

BIN Number Not Known

If you do not have a copy of your original registration to renew, amend or cancel your registration, we can search your registration with the Ontario government to find it. An additional fee will be required.

Other services offered by Ontario Business Central include Nuans Search and Report and Online Company Incorporation services and more.

StartUp Resources

We have provided a guide to starting a new business. This is a quick and handy reference to assist you to start or grow your business.

Business Opportunities

When looking at starting a business, you want to consider whether you want to take the time and effort to start a business from scratch where sales are at zero, there is no branding, social media, suppliers or staffing or look at purchasing an existing business or franchise. There are always pro’s and con’s to each option. Starting a business takes a lot of time and effort to get the business up and running, an existing business although you have to pay to purchase it, will have revenue flow from the day you begin r where sales, branding and staffing are already in place with the knowledge and expertise for the business. Many individuals purchase businesses that they do not have an expertise in and rely on the individuals who have been with the business to help them gain the knowledge required.

Another option is to purchase a franchise. In this case, if you purchase a seasoned franchise, the franchisor has gone through the hurdles of growing and branding the business, has marketing, support, storefront configuration and many other things that allow you as a new business owner to step in and operate. This, however can come at a hefty price where you have the initial cost to purchase the franchise and ongoing monthly expenses as royalties to the business franchisor.

Market Research

Doing market research as part of your evaluation prior to starting your business gives you the understanding of what you face as far as competitors, what they are selling, where, how effective they are. Whether there is a niche within the market that you can tap into. You can view their social media, what their sales focus on, pricing and so many other things to give you a very good comprehension of what you will face as you start your business.

Business Plan

The business plan is the foundation of determining the concept of the business, to provide a listing of services or products you will provide, both market landscape and strategy along with your financial plan, advertising budget, investor opportunities, risk and mitigation planning and a view for expansion and growing your business well into the future. The business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically as new business opportunities and variances become apparent.

Finding Investors

This is a very commonly asked question from new business owners and there are financing options in Canada to gain outside investors such as angel investors and business grants to help make your dream a reality. Venture capitalism is at the root of many startups that have gone from nothing to becoming very successful. A cash infusion can make a world of difference to any business owner. In 2019, Canada saw over 6 billion, that is with a B invested in local Canadian startups.

Brand Awareness

Building a brand is properly one of the trickiest aspects of starting a business and one that can either catch on with people or not. It is so important to put focus towards the business name, font selection, colours, logo, and so much more. The business name is crucial and should be something easy for people to say, spell and remember. Those are three of the best practices when choosing a business name. You also want an identifier as in what does your business do. Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s using words like enterprise, global, products, services that are so generic, no one has any idea what you do. Name what you do as part of your business name. This not only is a huge identifier to people looking for what you offer but it also gives you an SEO boost for your marketing.

Social Media setup

As you choose your business name, it is vital to ensure the name you are vetting to use to operate your business is also available when it comes to domain registration and social media. You want to establish universal branding for the business name, domain, and social media such as facebook, google my business, instagram, tik tok using the same business name, fonts, colours, and presence.

Revenue Canada

This is a favourite topic for every Canadian and of course every business owner. Revenue Canada Agency is not something to fear, it is something to understand and follow when it comes to your responsibilities as a business owner. When you initially register your business, the record is sent to the Revenue Canada Agency and verifies to them that someone has set up a new business. When you register a business versus incorporating, the tax implications are much more simple. The revenue received from your business is added to your regular income made by employment when applicable. Your personal tax return now includes any income made from the business minus the expenses of having the business operation including things such as rent, telephones, suppliers, business insurance etc. If your business revenues reach a point of having $30,000.00 in revenue within a year (Jan 1 to Dec 31), you are required to apply for HST. Prior to reaching this revenue status, the HST is a voluntary program where you can opt in to including HST or not. Payroll is only mandatory when you hire employees. Import and export is only necessary when you are bringing goods into Canada or exporting goods outside of Canada.

Taxation

As previously stated, if you register a business, you will pay personal taxation on income earned from the business minus the business expenses. It is recommended to hire a bookkeeper to assist you in determining what your tax implications are as you go through the year. A registered business has the same tax year as you as an individual from January 1 to December 31 of each year and finalizing tax payments are due April 30th each year.

Permits and Licenes

After you have registered your business, there may be additional provincial or municipal licensing requirements. There is a useful tool called bizpal which can assist you to determine what additional licensing, if any, is required for your specific business.

Business Insurance

Often people who register a business forget they have taken on a new risk and liability as business owners. With a registered business, you as the business owner are personally liable for any damages brought forward because of the business activity. It is recommended to find business insurance to protect not only your business but also your personal assets.

When you register your business with Ontario Business Central you will also receive the freebiz guide, our business guide which provides additional information and support for your new business including additional information regarding the government of Canada, market access, income tax,associations to join, mentorship programs and much more.

 

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