Some of the most frequent questions I get asked, both wearing my YBE hat and not, are:

  • How do I get a business license?
  • How do I apply for a patent?
  • How do I register a trademark?

Let’s take a look! Because I know that some of you are operating your businesses in different parts of Canada, I will go through how it is to be done properly and legally in every province and territory, with a focus on sole proprietorships and partnerships. For those looking for information on Trademarks and Patents, I’ve listed the most important pages on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s website.

For those following along from outside of Canada, I encourage you to consult your local government authorities for more information.

NOTE: If you are under the age of 18, you will need a parent to assist you and possibly sign-off on any documents. In some provinces & territories, businesses can only be registered to someone over their age of majority (which varies province to province and territory).

Registering a Business Name (Obtaining a Master Business License)

Ontario

Main source: Business Name Registration- Government of Ontario

  1. Gather all required documents and information (including email address and applicable payment method);
  2. Decide how you will be registering, as this will be a determining factor in costs and speed.
  3. If you are unsure if a business with the same or similar name is already operating in Ontario, you can conduct an Enhanced Business Name Search, which can only be done online.
  4. If registering online, go to OBC Integrated Business Services Application. The cost will be approximately $60.00, payable by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) only.
  5. If in person, you have one option, and that is to visit the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services in Toronto (full address found on main source page). The cost will be approximately $80.00, payable by cash, debit, credit card (Visa or MasterCard), cheque, or money order.
  6. If by mail, select the type of business to get the form that you need to fill out: Sole Proprietorship/Partnership or Corporation. Once it is filled out, it needs to be sent to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (full address found on main source page). The cost will be approximately $80.00, payable by cheque or money order only.

Alberta

Main sources: How to Apply for a Business Name- Government of Alberta and How to Register, Change or Cancel a Business Name- Government of Alberta

  1. Determine the type of business name that you will be registering: a trade name (sole proprietorship), partnership, limited partnership or limited liability partnership. See How it Works for more information on what each entails.
  2. Choose your business name.
  3. Obtain a Business Name Report (not mandatory, but highly recommended to lessen the chances of any legal trouble). To generate this report, you need to contact an authorized NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) member.
  4. Complete the required paperwork. All PDFs are found on the How to Apply page.
  5. Take all of the necessary information (business name information, Business Name Report if obtained, identification, and fee payment) to an Authorized Corporate Registry service provider.

British Columbia

Main source: Registering Proprietorships and Partnerships- Government of British Columbia

  1. Request a business name. You need to search the name choice database to see if your desired name is still available, and then submit a name approval request. This can be done online, in person at a Service BC location using a Name Approval Request Form, or by mailing the same completed form (full address found on main source page).
  2. Register your business. You need to complete the appropriate form for your type of business, Statement of Registration Sole Proprietorship or Statement of Registration General Partnership. You can submit the registration paperwork either online, in person at a Service BC location, or by mail (full address found on main source page).

Manitoba

Main source: Instructions for Registering a Business Name- Government of Manitoba

  1. Reserve your business name to determine if it is available. This can be done either online, in person (full address at the bottom of the main source page) or by mail (contact the Companies Office for full mailing address).
  2. Register your business.  You will need to complete and submit a Registration of a Business Name form to the Companies Office either in person or by mail .

New Brunswick

Main source: Register/Renewal of a Business Name- Government of New Brunswick

  1. Determine the type of business name that you will be registering.
  2. Register your business. This can be done online, or by downloading the  Certificate of Business Name form and mailing it to the Corporate Registry Operations (Unit) (full address found on main source page).

Newfoundland and Labrador

Main source: Registry of Companies- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

  1. Currently there is no legislation at this time in Newfoundland governing the registration of business names, sole proprietorships or partnerships.

Nova Scotia

Main source: Ready to Register My Business- Government of Nova Scoti

  1. Reserve your business name. This can be done either online, in person at any Access Nova Scotia location, or by mail (full address found on main source page).
  2. Register your business name with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies (mandatory). This is done either online, in person at any Access Nova Scotia location, or by mail (full address found on main source page).

Northwest Territories

Main source: Business Registrations- Government of the Northwest Territories

  1. Important note: you must register your business name within 60 days of commencing operations.
  2. If you wish, you can do a search of business names and partnerships using the Corporate Registries Online Search system.
  3. Register your business name via mail or in person to the Corporate Registries office (full address found on main source page). You must fill out the following forms in duplicate: Declaration of Use of a Business Name (Sole Proprietorship) or Declaration of Partnership. If submitting by mail, fees can be paid credit card (Visa or MasterCard), cheque, or money order. If submitting in person, fees can be paid by cash or debit in addition to the options listed above.

Nunavut

Main source: Registering a Business for the First Time- Government of Nunavut

  1. Register your business name. If a sole proprietorship, complete the Declaration of a Business Name and if it is a partnership, complete the Declaration of a Partnership
  2. Register your business with the government on an annual basis. Print and complete the application form, attach copies of any required supporting documents (varies depending on business), sign it, and either mail or drop off the completed package to either NNI Headquarters or your regional NNI Office.

Prince Edward Island

Main source: Business Name Registration- Government of Prince Edward Island

  1. If so desired, conduct a business name search on the Corporate/Business Names Registry
  2. Register your business name. If it is a sole proprietorship, complete the Declaration for the Registration of a Business Name and if it is a partnership, complete the Declaration of Registration of a Business Name (Partnership). Based on my research, these forms must be filled out, printed, signed and mailed/dropped off to the Consumer, Corporate and Financial Services Division of the Department of Justice and Public Safety (full address found on main source page).

Québec

Main source: Register an Enterprise- Government of Quebec

  1. To register your business, you must do so online. For a sole proprietorship, you must go to Produire la déclaration d’immatriculation d’une personne physique. For a partnership, you must go to Produire la déclaration d’immatriculation d’une société de personnes.
  2. Register your business with Revenu Québec for one or more of their file. For more information, see Registering for the Main Revenu Québec Files.

Saskatchewan

Main source: Register a Business- Government of Saskatchewan

  1. Choose your business type. For more information, see  Choose a Business Type.
  2. Register your business name using the Corporate Registry Customer Portal.
  3. To register your business, gather all required documents and login to Corporate Registry Customer Portal. For more information on all of the required documents you need, see Register a Sole Proprietorship or Register a Partnership.

Yukon 

Main source: Partnership and Business Names- Government of Yukon

  1. To apply for a business name, complete, print, sign and submit the Application for Name Reservation. This can be either mailed or dropped off to the Department of Community Services (full address found on main source page).
  2. To register your business name, complete, print, sign and submit the Declaration of Business Name. If you will be in a partnership, you also need to complete, print, sign and submit the Declaration of Partnership. These can both be either mailed or dropped off to the Department of Community Services (full address found on main source page).

Applying for a Patent

A Guide to Patents- Canadian Intellectual Property Office

This page details absolutely everything you need to know about applying for a Patent in Canada. It outlines everything from what exactly a patent is and why they are valuable, to how to prepare your application (including format), and all the way up to information about how to market the fact that your product/service has been patented.

Registering a Trademark

A Guide to Trademarks- Canadian Intellectual Property Office

This page details absolutely everything you need to know about registering Trademarks in Canada. It outlines everything from what exactly a trademark is, to how to file your application, and all the way up to monitoring your trademark to make sure no one is using it without your knowledge or consent.