Setting Up A Business? 3 Steps To Incorporate In Ontario

Setting Up A Business? 3 Steps To Incorporate In Ontario

There are multiple reasons why you would want your business to be incorporated instead of just having a Business Name Registration formerly known as a Master Business License in Ontario. A few of those are continual existence, business name security, tax incentives, and the ability to extend your business in other regions, among others.

The question now is how. This article will contain all of the steps you’ll need to incorporate in Ontario.

1. Choose where and how you’ll process your incorporation

If you want to incorporate in Ontario, there are three methods to get started:

  • You can file online through an approved Ministry of Government and Consumer Services service provider and intermediaries.
  • You can process your incorporation by email directly with the Province.
  • You can also file your incorporation by mail to the Central Production and Verification Services Branch.

2. Prepare the requirements

You must prepare and submit four primary requirements to get your business incorporated and experience the benefits of having a corporation:

Online Incorporation

  • Online submission  You are able to provide the details for the incorporation online where you are not required to provide any actual forms.  The submission allows you to give the incorporation details within a few minutes as a service provider or intermediary completes the incorporation on your behalf.  
  • A NUANS preliminary and NUANS report (7 page report provided similarly named businesses and corporations to your proposed corporate name) is mandatory. Typically it is included in the online incorporation experience.
  • Payment can be made through most major credit cards, PayPal, etransfers.

Email/Mail Incorporation

  • Cover letter: In it, you must indicate your name, phone number, and address. If you want to set a specific date when you want your business to be legally incorporated, be sure to write it in the letter as well. Note that the date you specify must be only up to 30 days later than the date you send the letter.
  • Articles of incorporation:  If submitting by email or mail, you must submit two completed and approved copies of Form 1 from the Minister. Be sure that both copies have original signatures. You can download this form from the Central Forms Repository. You also have the option to get a copy from name search houses and legal stationers.
  • A unique business name with a Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS) report: Unlike registering a typical business, incorporation in Ontario can protect your business name against duplicates. So, before a business can incorporate, they need to get their proposed business name searched and cleared in the NUANS databank. If you’re planning to be registered as a numbered company—a company that’ll be registered under a number instead of a name—you don’t have to go through a NUANS search.
  • Payment: You need to send a check worth CAD$360 to the Minister of Finance.

3. Be mindful of the following

While the steps and requirements seem simple enough to do and accomplish, you need to be mindful of some minor intricacies and nuances in the process. 

Here are some of them:

  • Language of your business name: You can choose to have a French only, English only, a combination of French and English, or both French and English versions of your business name but used separately. That being said, be sure to choose the perfect business name for your corporation.
  • Identical names: If your proposed business name is similar to another business name, you can still use it if your situation and the other business’ circumstances meet the requirements. For example, if the company operated and was incorporated outside Ontario or defunct for more than ten years, you can use its business name or likeness. Alternatively, you can use a similar business name if the other company allows it, or it’ll be a part or merged into your new corporation.
  • Share and shareholders: Once your business becomes incorporated, know that you’ll be authorized to issue shares. This means you can start adding shareholders to your business to raise capital. 
  • Future effective date: Aside from adding the effective date of your incorporation in your cover letter, you must also notify the clerk who’ll receive it and endorse your application that you have set a date.  Most incorporations are completed on the day received by the third party unless otherwise specified by the incorporator.
  • Corrections: As much as possible, be careful when filling out the online application or forms. It is important to ensure the documents or submissions are provided correctly. 
  • Ontario corporation number: Your company will be given and identified with an Ontario corporation number in addition to your business name. It’s a unique number given to a corporation, and you can’t get it changed or transferred.
  • Legal advice: Know that no one can provide legal advice outside of a lawyer. The service providers, intermediaries, Ministry Branch, or any other person cannot give you legal advice about your corporation. They can only assist you with the process of incorporation. If you need legal advice, seek private counsel.


These are the steps and requirements you need to take and fulfill when incorporating your business in Ontario. Don’t forget about the nuances mentioned here, and if you need help in securing your business incorporation, you may want to choose to process this with a service provider.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.