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How To Register Your Business In Ontario 2023 Updated

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How To Register Your Business In Ontario 2023 Updated

Business registration is an important step in legitimizing any business, no matter the size. This is true whether you’re in Ontario or anywhere else in the world.  To become a duly recognized legal entity and enjoy the benefits that go with having a business in Ontario, you need to register your enterprise, whether solely-owned, a partnership, or a corporation. 

Need help?  Understand who needs to register based on the type of business you have, and how.  

Step #1 Find Out Who Needs To Register 

Register your business in Ontario, but, first, you need to know which types of businesses need to do so under the Ontario Business Names Act. 

1. Sole proprietorships bearing a business name, not of the owner’s

2. Partnerships using a business name that doesn’t bear the full names of the partners

3. Limited liability partnerships

4. Corporations that don’t bear their corporate name 

5. General or limited partnerships using a business name that’s different from its registered firm name 

6. Limited liability partnerships covering Canadian and foreign corporations seeking to do business in various Canadian territories  

7. Limited liability companies of the same nature as above 

The Ontario Business Names Act states that individuals and corporations who fail to register or provide false information must pay penalty fees.   

Step #2 Think Of A Business Name 

Choose a business name that’s directly related to your line of business. For instance, if you provide laundry services, you can’t name your enterprise something that can be attributed to a pet shop.     

Besides coming up with a catchy and appealing business name for a sole business proprietorship, make sure to check the guidelines, as some words and expressions are restricted. 

Step #3 Check If Your Business Name Is Available 

The Business Names Act allows businesses to use a name that’s already used by another entity. However, you still need to think of a unique name to prevent consumers from getting you confused with another venture. Worse, you may risk being sued by one of the businesses that’s already using the same title.

You can either use third-party business listing platforms or the Canadian government’s New Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS), for minimal costs.   

Once you’re sure that your name is unique, the next step is to go through the actual registration. You can do this in many ways, as you’ll find out in the next step.  

Step #4 Register Your Business Name

You can register your business in Ontario through several channels. 

1. Digitally through Service Ontario, for new registration and renewal. You’ll get your master business license (MBL), which contains the registration details, such as the business identification number (BIN). You can launch your application through this portal while completing your other business requirements. MBL is an important business document that you can use in transacting with the government and financial institutions. It typically shows the date of registration, expiry date, and the BIN.

2. By appearing at the Central Production and Verification Services Branch (CPVSB). Forms can be had in there or in any local land registry office. It’s better to personally visit the office to get your MBL immediately rather than applying through mail, wherein you’d have to wait for 20 business days to receive your MBL.   

3. Through a third-party service provider accredited by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

4. Online through the Business Registration Online (BRO) service run by the Canada Revenue Agency 

Step #5 Register For Other Licenses And Certifications You Need To Start Your Business

Depending on the type of business you have, you’d probably need a business license. Some of the basic applications you need to file apart from the business name registration typically include retail tax, health tax, insurance coverages for the workplace, federal business number, and corporate tax, among others.    

For sole proprietorships, you only need to prepare the enterprise name and address, a description of the nature of business, as well as your name and home address. 

1. What If You Want To Cancel Or Update Your Business Details?  

The CPVSB maintains the business database in Ontario. If you want to change or update your business information, such as amendments to your address, business activity, or partners, visit the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

If you want to change your business name or the nature of your business, it’s considered a new registration and you have to pay specific fees.  

2. When Do You Need To Renew? 

A business name registration lasts for five years, and you have to renew your registration before it expires. It’s every owner’s responsibility to renew its business name registration as the government doesn’t issue reminders. Once your renewal application is approved, you’ll receive a new MBL, too.  


Registering a new business in Ontario is relatively easy. Use the steps discussed in this article to guide you. Otherwise, check the sites of Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade for additional information.  




Bhanu Garg

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