All businesses, large and small, are subject to laws and regulations in Ontario

Published by Paragon Legal on 25th June, 2021


In most cases, registering a small business is one of the tasks you'll need to complete when starting a business in Ontario. Fortunately, registering a business is a relatively simple and inexpensive process. If you are thinking about registering your Ontario business, there are several details you need to be aware of. For starters, you might not even need to register!

Before you register your business, you must decide on the legal form for your company - Sole proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation. In Ontario, you are required to register your business name within 60 days of opening your business. You are exempt from this requirement if you use your own name for the business.  Contact a professional consultant before registering.


In Ontario, as registered business you will receive a Master Business License (MBL) that includes your Business Identification Number (BIN), which is proof of your legal business name registration. You can use it when dealing with the Ontario government or financial institutions.

Business registration is managed by the Central Production and Verification Services Branch of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. 

There is a per-search fee to use the business search service. When you perform a search on a name, you will be provided with a report. Detailed Business Names Report – If your search resulted in a match, meaning one or more businesses with that name where found, you will receive a Detailed Business Names Report. If no match is found, you will receive a Statement of No Match Found report. Have a qualified consultant conduct your research.

When deciding on a name, there are a few restrictions on naming your business. Obscene or objectionable words or expressions, or words prohibited under federal or Ontario law. A business name that could deceive regarding the type of business it is in your business name if you are a sole proprietorship. Abbreviations are prohibited, unless "limited" is used in the name of a limited liability partnership.


The words “college,” “institute” and “university” are prohibited without special permission. Business names cannot imply a connection with the Canadian government or the Crown. Using another person’s name is prohibited without their permission unless the person has been dead for more than 30 years. It is your responsibility to make sure your business name doesn’t violate these rules. Even if you are granted a registration, it could be revoked at any time if it is in violation.

Once you know your business name and the type of entity you want to form, you can have a certified specialist apply for business registration with the government. You will need to provide - the name of your business, business address, the name of the owner or partners and addresses (you can’t use a PO Box), business activity – giving a brief description, example - operating a restaurant, house painting, et cetera.


You’ll have to indicate if you have or plan to have, employees or hire contractors. If you answer yes to either of those, you’ll need to register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board within ten days of hiring a worker. This provides employees with workplace insurance coverage. If your estimated annual payroll is greater than $450,000, you need to file for an Employer Health Tax number.  Paragon Legal can assist with your business registration.