*originally published on ManMade before they were purchased/merged with Esquire and the content removed.
Once you decide to incorporate a company, the next thought must be how to incorporate in Canada. As a small business owner or as a prospective entrepreneur, this is the first step of an exciting endeavor. Learning about company incorporation process in Canada will help you to have your company registered without any issues or problems.
1.Decide what type of company you want to incorporate. There are two incorporation options available in Canada:
- Federal incorporation: A federally incorporated company can conduct business all over Canada including the territories.It can use the same name in all of the provinces. The downside is that incorporating this type of company costs more and involves fulfillment of a lot of statutory paperwork filing on federal as well as provincial level.
- Provincial incorporation: A provincially incorporated company can conduct business only in the province where it is incorporated. The upside is that it costs less and does not involve as much annual filings. Also, if you wish to expand your business to another province you can do an extra-provincial incorporation.
2.Choose a name for your company. Don’t just pick any name for your company; your chosen company name should meet the legal requirements as well as have a branding element. It should tell your customers, who you are, what you do and how you do it. It also needs to identify the legal structure, such as, limited or corporation. It can be either in English, French or a combination of both languages. Finally, the most important requirement, it should not be same as, or even similar to, an existing company.
3.Have the company name searched and reserved. Before you can use your chosen name, you need to have it searched to make sure that it is available and suitable. For federal incorporation and in some provinces, a NUANS report is required. It is a report that matches your chosen company name against a database of company names registered in Canada. In provinces, you need to file a name approval request form. Once the name is approved, it is then reserved for a limited number of days.
4.Prepare the required incorporation documents. The following documents are required for federal as well as provincial company incorporation:
- Articles of incorporation: This document specifies the purpose and regulations for the company and includes company name, share structure, names of directors etc. Please note that for federal incorporation you will also need to submit a NUANS report with the articles of incorporation.
- Memorandum of association: This document defines the rules of conduct for the company
- Notice of officers: This document states the address and location of the registered office and the records office
In addition to these requirements, each province may have additional requirements for incorporation.
5.File the incorporation application. After preparing all of the documents you can now submit your application, either online or through the post.
- Don’t automatically assume that you will need a professional service or a lawyer to have your company incorporated. You can do it yourself and save around $300-$500.
- The requirements mentioned here,apply to most of the provinces and territories in Canada. However, for provincial incorporation, make sure to check with the registry of the specific province for any additional requirements.