“Registering” a business most often refers to registering the name of a business. In Ontario, it is a legal requirement to register your business name if you are operating a sole proprietorship (1 owner) or partnership (more than 1 owner) under a business name other than your exact legal name and you plan to operate a business in Ontario, open a business bank account, and/or advertise under a business name.
The Process to Register your business in Ontario is done ONLINE. It is called a BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION.
There are two ways you can register your business in Ontario:
Option 1 – OWNR
If you would like to register a sole proprietorship or a corporation you can also use a licensed platform called OWNR. It is a very user friendly platform that can help you register your business in minutes.
Complete with 30 free business name searches, exclusive discounts and offers for your business, and dedicated customer support to guide you every step of the way.
Use our OWNR partnership link to receive 20% off your business registration, incorporation, or managed corporation plan today. Managed corporation plans also include unlimited access to OWNR’s legal agreement library.
When registering through OWNR, your account will be given a Company Key that can be used to access the Ontario Business Registry to make any changes to the company if needed in the future.
When registering with OWNR you will be prompted to book an appointment with a financial institution to open a business bank account. If you click the option “Open an account in-branch” this will skip that step and allow you to proceed with the registration. It’s not mandatory for you to open the bank account. If you do open a RBC Account, there is a further rebate available to you.
*Note, Partnership cannot be registered through OWNR.
Click here to register your business through Ownr today!
(Note, the following link will take you off of the BACD website)
Option 2 – Ontario Business Registry (Through Service Ontario)
Note: You will need to create a ONe-Key ID account first. Ensure you have a valid email address for confirmation purposes and make sure that you keep all your login credentials secure for future use.
- The cost to register or renew a sole proprietorship or partnership is $60.
- The cost to incorporate your business through this platform is $300.
- The cost to add an operating name to a numbered corporation is $60.
- (If you require a named corporation, you will need to have completed a NUANS name search before incorporating. The name search costs $13.80 and can be completed here. You will have to include “Inc.” “Ltd.” or “Corp.” in your name search even though the NUANS website will say not to.)
- Note: Only VISA, VISA/Debit, Mastercard, or Mastercard/Debit are accepted payment methods and an email is required for all forms of registration).
An Ontario Business Licence (Business Name Registration) is valid for 5 years. If you had a licence which is older then 5 years (and more than 60 days past the expiry date) then you will have to register a new licence. If your licence is less than 5 years old and you need to renew it, you will have to request what is known as a Company Key on the Ontario Business Registry. This Company Key is a code that once requested is sent to you either by email or postcard which will allow you to claim your licence and tie it to a new ONe-Key ID account. Once the old licence is tied to the new account you will be able to pay the $60 to renew your previous licence. (As this process tends to cause some confusion, it may be easier to let your previous licence fully expire and just register again under a new business licence with the same name).
Click here to take you to the Ontario Business Registry website to register online.
(Note, the following link will take you off of the BACD website)
Once Here, look for the the text saying “Register your business or not-for-profit corporation online”
After clicking that text, find the option on the list that applied to you. You will then be prompted to sign-up for a ONe-Key ID account. After creating the account and saving your login information, follow the instructions and enter the relevant information that the application asks for. If done correctly you will eventually pay a fee and your Business Licence or Articles of Incorporation will be sent to the email address you have put on your account/application.
You can incorporate provincially or federally. To name your corporation you must first conduct a NUANS® name search to verify if the name is available, because corporate names are protected. NUANS® is a computerized search system that compares a proposed corporate name or trade-mark with databases of existing corporate bodies and trade-marks. This comparison determines the similarity that exists between the proposed name or mark and existing names in the database, and produces a listing of names that are found to be most similar.
Provincial incorporation costs $360 plus the cost of forms are available from this provincial government website. You can incorporate on-line through the OnCorp Direct Inc. website The cost for on-line filing is $300, plus the service provider’s fee. Payment can be made by credit card or by setting up an account.
- Business Corporation – $300If you are registering as a Business Corporation, you will also need to order an Ontario-biased or weighted Nuans name search report to reserve your business name if you are not using a number name. A Canada (federal) biased Nuans name search will not be accepted. The Nuans report must be obtained from a private name search company and may be found online or you can find a local Nuans member to order your report.
Federal incorporation costs $250 if filing in person. If you wish to file in person, you need to check details required by visiting this Corporations Canada webpage. Federal incorporation costs $200 if filing via the Internet at this other Corporations Canada website.
If you don’t know whether to operate as a sole proprietorship/partnership or a corporation, read our article about the different business structures.
Alternatively, a business advisor at The Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) can register a sole proprietorship/partnership for you for a service fee of $25.00. Connect with us through email@example.com or 905.668.4949
If you prefer to use a local lawyer, our Referral Partners are professionals we work with regularly in Durham Region.
PLEASE NOTE: REGARDING THE CRA BUSINESS NUMBER
These processes register your business for a Business Identification Number (BIN) (or a Ontario Corporation Number (OCN)) and not a Business Number (BN). A business number (BN) is your single account number for dealing with the federal government regarding taxes, payroll, import or export and other activities. If you plan to hire employees, or if you will be importing and/or exporting products or services you will need to get a business number. If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to charge and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).For more information, contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525.