Registering Your Business Name and License in Ontario Canada

In this article I want to cover a sub topic of the Ontario business registration process in detail, registering for your business name as well as registering for your business license.If you want to incorporate in Ontario to conduct business, you must first register a business name and obtain what’s called the Master Business License.You can do this in one of three ways, either by person by visiting a Service Center, by mail or online through a third party service provider.You can also hire an attorney to execute the Ontario business registration process for you, but this is a longer process on average and more expensive.The entity you want to register with is the Ministry of Government Services’ Companies and Personal Property Security Branch. This is the entity that issues the Master Business License that shows your registration number as a proof that you can legally do business in Ontario.As already covered on this website in other sections, the first step in the Ontario business registration process is to select a name for your business that is in accordance with the Business Names Act and the Business Regulations Reform Act of 1997. Basically, for a sole proprietorship, you can use your own name, but any slight variation or addition will require filing a separate legal entity name for your business. There is more information on what you can and cannot do on the Canada Ontario Business Services Center website or in a local office / branch.If you want to take the most streamlined approach to an Ontario business registration, I highly recommend you register online through the Service Ontario site so that you can register your business’ name and at the same time register with other authorities to obtain relevant account numbers such as the Ontario Ministry of Revenue, tax account numbers, permits, etc.Using online services can mean a relatively quick turnaround as well in terms of getting your Master Business License. You can get this in electronic PDF format. If not, you get a hard copy through mail. But before doing anything else, you need to do a name search to see if your contemplated business name is already registered.TIP: For a more comprehensive search select the “Enhanced Business Name Search” option. It costs a little more but it is worth it as it does a comprehensive check. You can do this under $12 typically online with a credit card.Again, you can register for your Ontario business license online as well, which is a legal requirement in order to do business in Ontario. Remember, if you are not comfortable transacting online or don’t want to do it in person, you can do so via mail by downloading the required forms online (Service Ontario website) and then mailing it to them at the address stated on the forms.All Ontario business registration forms are owned and managed by the Companies and Personal Property and Security Branch in Toronto. If all else fails, visit the nearest Service Ontario branch where you can use a self-help workstation and completing the forms there. You can contact Service Ontario at 1-800-565-1921.Registering the business name is the first step. Once you have that out of the way, you can proceed to incorporating your business and then obtaining the other relevant licenses and certifications needed that are specific to the nature of your business.Read more about why incorporate in Ontario Canada. Read more about the Ontario business registration process step by step here. I hope you found this brief run down on registering a business name in Ontario. Please let me know if I can be of further help to you.All the best to you,Benjamin Lashar

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