Incorporating a new company in Ontario: Corporation Name

When incorporating a new company in Ontario, it is the responsibility of the incorporators to ensure the name for an Ontario business corporation complies with the Business Corporations Act and its Regulations.

Legal element

The word “Limited”, “Limitée”, “Incorporated”, “Incorporée” or “Corporation” or the corresponding abbreviations “Ltd.”, “Ltée”, “Inc.” or “Corp.” shall be part of the name of every corporation, but a corporation may be legally designated by either the full or the abbreviated form (S.10 (1)).

English/French versions

The name of a corporation may be in an English form only, a French form only, an English and a French form combined, or an English form and a French form which are equivalent but used separately (S.10 (2)).

When incorporating a corporation with an English and French form of the name a name search is required for each form of the name (English and French) unless the English and French forms of the name are identical and the legal element in the French form is the French version of the legal element in the English form (for example, ‘incorporee’ and ‘incorporated’). There should be a forward slash (/) separating the two forms of the name.

Versions in languages other than English

A corporation may have in its articles, a special provision permitting it to set out its name in any language and the corporation may be legally designated by that name (S.10 (4)). This would allow the corporation to legally use a foreign version of its corporate name for the purposes of conducting business. However, the foreign version would not be entered into the Branch’s electronic database (ONBIS) and, therefore, would not appear on a Certificate of Status produced in respect of the corporation name. Despite subsection (4), a corporation shall set out its name in legible characters in all contracts, invoices, negotiable instruments and orders for goods or services issued or made by or on behalf of the corporation and in all documents sent to the Director under this Act (S.10(5)).

Identical names

A corporation may only acquire a name identical to that of another corporation if it meets the requirements of Sections 6(1) or 6(2) of Regulation 62 under the Business Corporations Act.

Subsection 6(1)

Except as provided in subsection (2) and section 10, no corporation may acquire a name identical to the name or former name of another body corporate, whether in existence or not unless, (a) the body corporate was incorporated under the laws of a jurisdiction outside Ontario and has never carried on any activities or identified itself in Ontario; or (b) at least ten years have elapsed since the body corporate was dissolved or changed its name.

Note: that although a Federal corporation with an identical name to a proposed Ontario corporate name may not be currently operating or active in Ontario it is entitled to commence activities in Ontario at any time in the future. Incorporators who incorporate with the same or similar name are therefore assuming the risk of an objection to their corporate name, which may result in a name hearing under section 12 of the Business Corporations Act.

Subsection 6(2)

Before the name can be duplicated under Subsection 6(2), Central Production and Verification Services Branch requires that a legal opinion accompany the articles being filed. The legal opinion must be on legal letterhead and must be signed by an individual lawyer (not a law clerk or law firm). It must also clearly indicate that the corporations involved comply with Section 6(2) by referring to each clause specifically.

Section 10

Under Section 10 of the Regulations the name of a corporation formed by the amalgamation of two or more corporations may be identical to the name of one of its amalgamating corporations, if the name is not a number name.
Requirement for a name that is not identical

Corporation names can be duplicated only if the name is not a number name and only in the case of an amalgamation, or where the corporations comply with S.6 (1) or S.6 (2) of Regulation 62. All other instances prohibit the use of a name for a corporation that is identical to the name or former name of another corporation, whether the corporation is active or not (S.6 (1) of Regulation 62).

In order to acquire a name that is not identical, the name may be varied by the addition or deletion of words, numerals, or initials, or by substituting one of the other required legal elements or their corresponding abbreviations.

The addition or deletion of punctuation marks or other symbols is not sufficient to make the name different for the purposes of the Act (S.7 of Regulation 62).

Note: that under the Business Corporations Act, incorporators are responsible for ensuring that Articles conform to law. Under the policy of Endorsement as of Right, the Branch does not review proposed corporation names for similarity to any other name. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the corporation name is not confusingly similar to that of another corporation, business name or trademark. A corporation that acquires a name similar to that of another corporation may be subject to a names hearing under Section 12 of the Business Corporations Act or a lawsuit.

Incorporate today your new Ontario Corporation for Only $99. Fast, Easy, Online

We Offer only one full Ontario incorporation package for only $99.99 and this package includes:

  • Receipt and review of your incorporation information.
  • If you choose to incorporated a named company, we conduct a Provincial or NUANS pre screen search of your proposed corporate name and advise you if there are any difficulties with your name.
  • Preparation and filing of Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Preparation of Organizational Minutes – covering the election of directors and officers, issuing shares, the form of share certificates and fixing the number of directors.
  • Preparation of Corporate Bylaws which sets out the organization of the corporation, including the powers and election of directors and officers, filling vacancies, holding meetings of shareholders and directors, required notice periods, setting the fiscal year end and the execution of documents.
  • Preparation of the Register of directors, the Register of Shareholders, the Register of Officers and the Stock Transfer Register.
  • Issuance of share certificates per your instructions
  • Blank share certificates
  • Shareholder ledgers for each shareholder
  • Provincial-specific startup checklist