Register a Company in Canada
How to Start a Business in Canada
Incorporating your company federally is a five-step process.
Step 1) Deciding how you want to name your corporation
Before you begin the process of incorporation, you need to name your corporation.
Every corporation must have a name; this is known as a corporate name. The name must be distinctive and it must not be misleading or likely to be confused with names used by other organizations and businesses. In general, a corporate name is distinctive if it does not make those who encounter it think of another organization or business. Corporations Canada applies very rigorous standards when granting names.
Step 2: Completing articles of incorporation
This step establishes the structure of your corporation. However, you can apply to change the structure of your corporation once you are operating. Your articles of incorporation will need to be signed by the incorporator(s). If an incorporator is a company or other incorporated body, the articles must be signed by an individual authorized by that body. Note that changes to the approved articles can only be made by amendment. The fee for amending articles is $200.00. You can file your articles of incorporation through the Online Filing Centre or you can complete Form 1 – Articles of Incorporation (see Federal incorporation forms). If you complete Form 1, you need to state:
Step 3: Establishing the initial registered office address and first board of directors
The registered office address is where you must keep your corporate records and where official documents will be served on the corporation. Choose an address where you will be sure to receive any documents that are sent there since, legally, they will be assumed to have been received by the corporation. Information about the registered office address is corporate information, and as such, is required to be made public. Make sure the directors meet the eligibility requirements (See Director requirements). Information about directors is corporate information, and as such, is required to be made public. If you incorporate online, this step is part of your incorporation process. If you complete Form 2, you need to state:
Step 4: Filing the appropriate forms and paying the fee
Corporations Canada offers several methods of filing (see How do I file my application under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA)?). Your request for a certificate of incorporation, sent to Corporations Canada, must also include the filing fee (see Services, fees and turnaround times – CBCA).
Corporations Canada does not acknowledge receipt of applications, except for online applications.
Don't forget that you have to fulfill other obligations once you are incorporated (see Completing provincial and territorial registration and other requirements).
Step 5: Processing your applicationCorporations Canada will make sure your articles of incorporation have been properly completed and that the proposed name is acceptable. An application is complete if:
Step 5: Processing your application
Most businesses require licenses or permits in order to operate. Please click on each of the resources below to determine if your business requires any licenses or permits.