Business registrations in Canada can be completed provincially or federally. A brief description of these two kinds of business registrations is described below.
A provincial business registration will allow your business to operate in one province only. This is the simplest form of business registrations that will not operate or carry on any business outside of the province of registration.
For example, a mechanic will most likely only perform his services in vicinity near to where his shop is. This is a small geographical area where clients are served. Other similar businesses for provincial registrations will include retail stores, corner shops, gas stations, and barber shops. These are typical businesses that will be surrounded by a relatively small geographical area that serves their interest and it’s not expected to expand. After all, there are only so many vehicles a repair facility can repair at once.
Joes Pizza for example, can be registered in Ontario. However, this does not prevent another person in Alberta from registering a business also called Joes Pizza. Joes Pizza registered in Ontario will prevent another person in Ontario only from registering the same or similar business name. Persons in the other provinces and territories are free to register another Joes Pizza as long as they do not carry on business in Ontario.
However, if the business to be started will offer services in more than one province or territory, or sell products country wide, then a federal business registration will be required. There are many advantages of a federal business registration, however, one the most important factors is that your business name is protected in all provinces and territories. It’s registered in the NUANS system and will prevent anyone anywhere in Canada from registering your business name or one that’s similar to yours. The NUANS system is a fee based service that offers the search capability to see if your proposed business name is already in use, or if it may be confused with already established businesses.
However, federal registrations will require registering for the GST/HST program, and thereby receiving and remitting taxes becomes compulsory. This would also involve incorporating the business rather than a sole proprietorship.
The choice as to whether to register a business in Canada provincially for federally will be determined by the nature of the proposed business, the number of locations of the proposed business, the type of product or services that will be offered, or if a sole proprietorship or a corporation is necessary.