Ontario attracts entrepreneurs for a number of reasons, among which is the ease with which one can do business here. Before you begin, however, it is important to register a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership in the province. Here is everything you need to know about Ontario business registration for a sole proprietorship, partnership or Limited Liability Partnership, from choosing a name to licenses required to legally operate your business.
1: Choose A Name
If you operate a sole proprietorship using your own name, with no additions, you don’t need to worry about Ontario business registration. If you choose to call it anything else though, the business name will have to be registered with the Companies Branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. Failure to register or registering false or misleading information can lead to fines of up to $2,000 against individuals and up to $25,000 for corporations under Ontario’s Business Names Act. Choose a business name that sounds and looks good, while understanding that certain words or expressions are prohibited.
2: Check For Exclusivity
Is there any other business using the name you have chosen for registration in Ontario? While registration is no guarantee of exclusivity, it always helps to conduct a name search, via a detailed report from the ServiceOntario Integrated Business Services Application or by searching the Canada-wide corporate and business name registry NUANS (New Upgraded Automated Name Search). If you find that someone already is using the name you want we recommend you choose another name. Even if you alter the name phonetically it is not a good idea to use the name.
3: Register Your Name
This is when the actual Ontario business registration process begins. It will require you to supply the name and address of your business, a description of the business activity that will be performed, as well as your name and complete home address. You can register online through ServiceOntario or through Service Providers under contract with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. If you register in person, you will receive your Master Business License (proof of business name registration) immediately, which must then be renewed every five years.
4: Licenses And Registrations
Check for certifications, licenses or registrations required to legally operate your type of business. You may also need to register for Workers’ Compensation Insurance or collect GST/HST.
Business Registration In Ontario
If you have questions about business registration in Ontario, or anything else related to starting or growing your business, Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre is the leading resource center for answers to all your queries. Contact us today for advice from our team of experts.