Register a Business in Canada: Canadian Business Guide

In this article, we’re going to explain how to register a business in Canada.

This will include breaking down a few of the key considerations that often get overlooked and the post-registration steps that you’ll need to take.

This article is part of our free series on corporate banking solutions and features around the world, which you can access by clicking here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Register a Business in Canada
  2. What Are the Requirements to Register a Business in Canada?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

Register a Business in Canada

To register a business in Canada, an individual must complete the incorporation process and meet all legal requirements in the province or territory of registration. 

In Canada, business registration requirements include business name registration, completing business registration forms, paying business registration fees, and obtaining any necessary business permits and licenses.

On the other hand, you can choose federal registration (incorporation) instead of completing provincial registration. In most cases, you would only consider this if you operate your business in multiple provinces.

Canadian business regulations and the business registration process are governed federally by the Federal Canadian Business Corporations Act and provincially by each province’s business incorporation Act.

Proof of Business Structure or Canadian Company

After a business is registered as a corporation in Canada, the owner will receive the Certificate of Incorporation. As discussed below, this will be an important document to help the business carry out activities and open bank accounts.

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What Are the Requirements to Register a Business in Canada?

The requirements to register a business in Canada include standard documentation, identification, fee payment, and reporting. However, each province has their own registration process and fee structure. Likewise, certain provinces offer more in terms of benefits than others, especially when it comes to registering Canadian Limited Partnerships.

Business Number

After starting a business in Canada, a business will need to register and receive a business number. In Canada, a business number is used as a unique identifier for each corporation. In fact, regardless of the business structure you choose, if you require a GST or HST account for your business, you will need to register for a business number. This is true for sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations.

Business Bank Account

Local Canadian residents will have no problem opening a business bank account. Instead, they should just pay close attention to the monthly maintenance fees and any international fees if they plan on serving overseas clients.

On the other hand, foreign clients that want to open a Canadian bank account for a Canadian business will struggle. This is true regardless of deposit size and business activities. In most cases, there is only one solution, apply in person and try multiple banks.

That said, there are a number of “middle man” services that operate trust accounts for various clients. We strongly advise against these sorts of arrangements because you are effectively handing over control of your bank account and funds.

In most cases, these “middle man” services charge extremely high fees for managing your accounts and sending transfers. And, ultimately, they have control of your money, not you.

If you are a foreign non-resident that is struggling to open a bank account in Canada for your company, feel free to contact us directly to explore your options.

Additional Requirements

Depending on the specific business type you choose to register, there may be additional requirements you’ll need to consider. Likewise, certain business structures have far less requirements, including ongoing reporting requirements than other structures.

For example, the Canadian Limited Partnership (Canadian LP) is a popular structure for foreign non-residents looking for a relatively private structure with limited reporting requirements. But again, Canadian Partnerships still face challenges when it comes to opening bank accounts.

We’ll discuss Canadian Limited Partnerships in greater detail in a future article. This will include breaking down the best provinces for foreign non-residents seeking the best banking, best privacy, and best payment processing options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking at how to register a business in Canada. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Business in Canada?

To register a business in Canada, you will need to pay the provincial registration and name search fee. This fee varies by province, and ranges between a total of CAD 255 and 600 The cost per province is as follows: $255 in PEI; $270 in Nova Scotia; $290 in New Brunswick; $325 in Saskatchewan; $345 in Yukon; $349 in Manitoba; $360 in Ontario; $380 in British Columbia; $406 in Quebec; $480 in Alberta; $600 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Can a Foreigner Register a Business in Canada?

Yes, a foreigner can register a business in Canada. In fact, foreign non-residents who have never visited Canada can choose to register a business in Canada from abroad. However, it’s important to note that Canada is a difficult business banking jurisdiction for foreign non-residents to access, even when their business is registered locally.

Do I Need to Register a Small Business in Canada?

No, you do not need to register a small business in Canada if you decide to operate the small business under your personal (legal) name. However, depending on your business activities, you may need to register for a business number if you require a GST or HST account from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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