Ministry Fee for Registration
The Ministry fee for registering a business name is $60, regardless of whether it is completed in person or online. At the time of registration, an additional fee of $8 – $26 is required to do a Business Name Search to ensure that another business does not already use your expected business name.
Master Business Licence (MBL)
When registering a business name, you will be issued a Master Business License (MBL). A Master Business Licence confirms that a business name has been submitted to the Ministry of Government Services, Companies and Personal Property Security Branch for registration on the public record. It includes the registration, expiry dates, and a Business Identification Number. It can also be used as proof of registration for a business name at financial institutions. A Business Name registration is required to be renewed every five years, and a new Master Business Licence will be issued. It is the registrant’s responsibility to keep the registration information up-to-date and renew the registration on time. The Branch does not issue reminders.
Penalties for Not Registering
Under the Business Names Act, fines of up to $2,000 can be levied against individuals and up to $25,000 for corporations failing to register or registering false or misleading information.
Registration of Similar or Identical Names
The Business Names Act does not prohibit the registration of identical names. Still, if you decide to use a name that is the same or confusingly similar to that of an existing business, it could result in a lawsuit. The person registering the name also assumes full responsibility for any risk of confusion with an existing corporation, business name, or trademark.
The registrant of a business name who has suffered damages because someone else has registered the same name, or one that is deceptively similar, can take legal action through the courts. The Business Names Act entitles you to recover compensation for damages suffered and provides for a court order cancelling the registration that was the cause of the action.
Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS)
One of the most comprehensive searches of company names and related information is called a NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search). This search includes registered trademarks, registered business names (which include trade names) and incorporated company names. The NUANS can be conducted through their website located at www.nuans.com.
Additional Business Registrations and Licences
The Service Ontario website will also provide information and access to additional registrations you may require for your business, such as Employer Health Tax and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Depending on the type of business you start, you may also require registrations and licensing through your federal and municipal governments. Information on federal registrations can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website www.cra-arc.gc.ca. These may include registrations for HST, Import/Export Accounts and Payroll Deductions. Some municipalities also require additional licences, taxes and have specific zoning requirements. For information on the city of London requirements, visit the website www.london.ca.
BizPal is a one-stop website that provides simplified online access to information on registrations, permits and licences you may need to start and run your business. This unique partnership among federal, provincial, and local governments is designed to help you find all requirements in one location. Visit www.bizpal.ca, input the information for your business and a list of permits, registrations and licences will be generated.