Ontario is Canada’s second-largest province. It also has the most population among the provinces in Canada—almost 50% of the country’s total population. With its dense population and strategic geographic location, Ontario is considered one of the best places to start a new business venture.
If you plan to register a business in Ontario, you can register for a business license, known as ‘FORM 1’ or ‘Master Business License.’ Even so, Ontario business registration is a straightforward and affordable way to start a business there.
Registering your business in Ontario allows you to legally conduct your operations in the area. Therefore, after developing an excellent business idea, your next step is registering your company. It can be a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or corporation. Fortunately, you can perform a business registration in Ontario online through Ontario’s registration portal or use a third-party service provider such as Ontario Business Central.
Notably, it’s best to work with the professionals since they’re already familiar with the registration process and can ensure it’s completed more efficiently in less time. Therefore, as you plan to register your new business or renew an existing one, here are vital things to know:
1. The Requirements
Ontario business registration allows businesses to operate legally in Ontario under a specific business name. Below are the details required for business registration:
- Name of the business
- Business address
- Owner’s name and physical address (P.O. Box addresses aren’t acceptable)
- The physical location of the business in Ontario
- Business objective or main activity
- The individual authorizing the business registration
- Naics code for business activity
Gathering all the necessary documents before starting the online registration fast-tracks the process:
2. Decide Your Business Structure
The next step to registering your company in Ontario is choosing an ideal business structure. The following are the common business structures under this classification:
- Sole proprietorship: There’s only one owner and no legal distinction between you and the business. Therefore, if someone takes legal action against the company, they also sue you personally. Also, you’ll report business income on your personal income tax return.
- General partnership: At least two people own and manage a general partnership. A partnership agreement outlines the ownership rights and responsibilities of members. Also, since they’re not distinct legal entities, individual owners are personally liable for the business, and they account for their taxes individually.
- Trade name: You can register a trade name (secondary business name) under a corporate entity already registered or incorporated within the province.
Depending on your needs, you should choose one of the above structures to register your new business.
3. Choose A Business Name
A business name is your brand’s identity, so you should carefully select it. Choosing a unique business name is vital to distinguishing yourself from other entities. Also, note that for any structure you choose, the Ontario government doesn’t offer name protection against other companies in Ontario using the same business name. Below are some of the ways to verify business name availability online:
- Ontario Business Name Search: You can leverage this database to check if your business name is already taken. It searches for name matches against other business names existing in Ontario.
- New Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS): It’s a more effective and updated automated name search tool. The database contains records of business names throughout Canada, so you can use it to check if your name is similar to another business name already existing in Ontario.
Also, you should understand all other restrictions on name use. For instance, business owners shouldn’t use phrases such as “Federal” that may imply the business is a government entity.
4. Complete The Online Business Registration
Finalize your Ontario business registration online by following the steps below:
Select the ‘New Registration’ option to register your new business
- Enter your business name
- Include your business address
- Add your business activity
- Select the business structure, for instance, sole proprietorship or partnership
- Enter your name and street address
- Include the person authorizing the business registration, which is usually the business owner
After completing and submitting the online business registration form and it’s verified, your business will be successfully registered in Ontario province. You’ll receive a unique Business Identification Number (BIN) identifying your business.
5. Renewal Of A Business Name
If you already have a business in Ontario, you only have to renew the registration. Usually, you’ll follow the same online procedure as when registering a new business. Businesses in the province are required to renew their registrations after every five years. Also, renewals should be done six months before or 60 days after the expiry date. If you go beyond this, you must submit a new registration.
6. Amendment And Cancellation Of Business Registration
The government only allows business addresses, individual addresses, and business activity changes. However, you can’t amend your business name or owner’s details. Instead, you’ll be required to file a cancellation of the old business and submit a new business registration.
Registering your business in Ontario online is the fastest and easiest way to start or renew your business registration. Above are some elements to know to help you successfully perform an online business registration. Also, you’d want to use a professional service to ensure your online registration is filled entirely and efficiently.