Canada Company Registration

Canada Company registration. A corporation is an independent legal entity that exists separate and apart from its owners (shareholders). Basically, the corporation acts as a ‘person.’

As a ‘person,’ a corporation can:

  • buy, sell and own assets, including land
  • make contracts
  • sue
  • be sued

You do not need to be a large business to register as a corporation. A small business with only one owner can register as a corporation.

Registering a company in Canada. To register as a corporation in Canada, you will need to:

  • incorporate your business (obtain your articles of incorporation) through federal incorporation or provincial/territorial incorporation
  • get a federal business number and Corporation income tax account from the Canada Revenue Agency
  • register as an extra-provincial or extra-territorial corporation in all other Canadian jurisdictions where you plan to do business
  • apply for any permits and licenses your business may need

If you have decided to incorporate in a specific province or territory instead of incorporating federally, you will need to follow the steps outlined here:

Step 1. Choose a name

A corporation n name consists of 3 elements:

  • distinctive
  • descriptive
  • legal

‘ABC Building Supplies Ltd.’ is an example of a corporation name that contains all 3 elements.

Distinctive element

A distinctive element is a unique word or location that makes your corporation name different from others.

In the example above, ‘ABC’ is the distinctive element.

Descriptive element

A descriptive element describes what the corporation does or what the corporation is.

In the example above, ‘Building Supplies’ is the descriptive element.

Legal element

All Alberta corporations are required to have a legal element at the end of their name.

In the example above, ‘Ltd.’ is the legal element.

Accepted legal elements

The following legal elements are permitted by the Business Corporations Act:

  • Limited
  • Limitee
  • Ltee
  • Ltd.
  • Corp.
  • Corporation
  • Inc.
  • Incorporated
  • Incorporee
  • ULC
  • Unlimited Liability Corporation

The ‘Professional Corporation’ element can only be used for one of the following types of professions:

  • Chartered Professional Accountants
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Optometry

Your corporation can also use a ‘number’ name, such as ‘785843 Canada Inc.’

  • the number portion of the name is assigned by Corporate Registry
  • ‘Canada’ always forms the second part of the name
  • You may choose one of the standard legal elements above

Step 2. Get a  NUANS report or provincial name search

You need to get a NUANS report or provincial name search report and review it to make sure there is no other corporation with an identical name or a name that is too similar to your proposed corporation name. Unlike business names, identically named corporations are not allowed.

The NUANS report or provincial name search report reserves the proposed name for 90 days. The complete report, whether an original or fax copy, must be submitted with the incorporation details and must be less than 91 days old.

You do not need a NUANS report or provincial name search report when the proposed name will be a ‘number name’ assigned by Corporate Registry (for example, 9999999 Canada Ltd.).

Step 3. Collect information needed for incorporation

To prepare the articles of incorporation you will need to have the following information:

  • Proposed Company name
  • Proposed business activities of the corporation
  • Jurisdiction of Incorporation
  • The business address of the corporation
  • The mailing address of the corporation
  • Name(s) of the Director(s)
  • Address(s) of the director(s)


Step 4. Record your corporation’s address

The registered office needs to be a physical location in the jurisdiction of incorporation so that the corporation can get legal documents delivered.

The records address, if not the same as the registered office, also needs to be physically located in the jurisdiction of incorporation.

Mailing address in the jurisdiction of incorporation for the corporation if you do not have mail delivered to the registered office of the corporation.


Step 5. Elect a director

Elect or appoint at least one director for your corporation and record that information on the Notice of Directors.

Directors must be adults and some provinces required at least one-quarter of the board to be Canadian residents.

Canadian residency requirements for company directors:


Canada Residency Requirement: Yes


Canada Residency Requirement: Yes


Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement

Prince Edward Island

Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement


Canada Residency Requirement: Yes


Canada Residency Requirement: Yes

New Brunswick:

Canada Residency Requirement: No

Nova Scotia

Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement


Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement


Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement


Canada Residency Requirement: Yes


Canada Residency Requirement: YES

Northwest Territories

Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement


Canada Residency Requirement: No requirement

Step 6. Submit your application

You need to submit your application to the corporate registry office of your desired jurisdiction of registration. The application will include:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Notice of English/French Name Equivalency (optional)
  • Notice of Address
  • Notice of Directors
  • NUANS report or provincial name search reservation
  • valid ID
  • fee payment

Canada Company Registration Services

Company Formations Canada offers Canada company registration and business registration services to Canadian entrepreneurs, non-Canadian residents and foreign companies interested in doing business in Canada.

Register a new company in Canada as a Canadian resident

Register a new company in Canada as a non-Canadian resident

Register a new company in Canada as a Foreign Corporation