Ontario Business Registry: How To Do It Right

Ontario is one of the best places to do business in Canada. With a population of 14.5 million, Ontario is Canada’s richest market and has the country’s highest personal income. Its location is also strategically important for businesses, being at the crossroads of many pathways to the United States.  

If you’re planning to do business in Ontario, you need to register your business at the Ontario business registry. No business is allowed to operate in Ontario without being previously registered. Here are a few suggestions on how to register your business in Ontario the right way: 

  1. Choose A Business Entity 

One of the first things you have to decide on if you want to do business in Ontario is the structure, form, or business entity that you’re going to employ to operate your business. You might think that it’s an irrelevant or less important part of starting a business, but it’s crucial because it will affect a lot of things about your business. It’s going to affect how you operate your business, how you can protect your personal assets in case the business incurs obligations, and the manner by which you’ll have to file your personal and business taxes. 

There are four main types of business entities in Canada. These are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability corporation, and the C corporation. Take note, however, that only lawyers, chartered accountants, and general accountants can register partnerships and limited liability corporations.  

It’ll help you understand the differences between these business entities if you do a little bit of research and reading. It’ll also help you appreciate their advantages and disadvantages. This will help you make a more informed decision about what kind of business entity is most apt for you to register as when starting your business

  1. Indicate Your Location 

Aside from your own business considerations of placing your business near or in the middle of a marketplace to attract the maximum amount of customers, your business location is important in your transactions with the federal and provincial government authorities. You’re going to use the same business address in filing your taxes. When dealing with banks and other government offices, they’ll need your business address so they can send important notices and documents. 

If your business doesn’t have a location yet, you must choose the place where you plan to set up your business. If you’ve already chosen the location where you’re going to set up your business, you just simply have to indicate the location in your application to register your business. Anyway, there are notable success stories of businesses that chose to be located in Ontario. 

  1. Select A Business Name 

An important step in your application to register your business is your choice of business name. In general, you should choose a business name that’s unique and is related to the kind of business that you’re starting. You shouldn’t choose a name that’s closely similar to the names of businesses that already exist in your industry.  

Before you can register your business name, you’ll need to do a business name search. The purpose of this is to make sure that the name you’ve chosen hasn’t been registered yet by another business. In Ontario, businesses aren’t prohibited from registering similar names; it’s allowed under the Ontario Business Names Act. But, you have to keep in mind that it’s best to have a unique name so you won’t run into any problems when you register your business trademarks.  

Your business structure or entity will limit the choices that you have for your business name. If you’re a sole proprietor, you won’t be allowed to put ‘limited’ or ‘LLC’ to your business name as this would indicate incorporation. 

  1. Register Your Business Name 

After you’ve done the search for your business name, and you’re sure it’s not confusingly similar to another business name in the same industry, you can now register your business. You can opt to do this online or by personally going to the office of the registrar. It’s unlawful to operate an unregistered business, and this is punished under the Ontario Business Names Act. An unregistered sole proprietorship can be fined up to CAD$2,000. 

You’ll be required by the registrar of companies to provide numerous details and documents about your business. They’re going to ask for your address, as well as a description of the nature, scope, and activities of your business. Once you’ve submitted all the requirements and the registrar of companies is satisfied with your application, you’ll be considered for approval. They’re going to send you a Master Business License (MBL) when your business is approved. The MBL also serves as proof that your business is properly registered.  

Wrapping It Up 

Ontario is a very populous and wealthy place in Canada, which means it’s quite suitable for setting up a business. But, make sure you register your business in Ontario before you start doing business. Doing business without registration isn’t allowed in Ontario. In fact, it’s prohibited by law. You could be meted with hefty fines if you start your business without being registered. 

June McGown