Ontario Sole Proprietorships are governed by the Business Names Act (Ontario). An Ontario Sole Proprietorship is sometimes called an Ontario Trade Name. It is a good idea to look over the statute requirements to ensure you comply with them properly.
The legislation indicates that a person must not carry on business under another name other than his or her own name or identify his or her business to the public under a name other than his or her own name unless the business name has been registered by that individual. You do not have to do a registration if you are carrying on business under your own name.
An Ontario Nuans name search report is not required when registering an Ontario sole proprietorship. The Business Names Act (Ontario) has no requirement for an Ontario trade name / Ontario sole proprietorship to be different than other Ontario registrations. You are allowed to register the exact same name as another sole proprietorship already registered with the Ontario government. Should you register a name that is the same as another name already registered? Absolutely not, unless you are connected in some way to that other registration or have written permission to register the name.
First you must determine whether there are any conflicts to the name you wish to use and this is done by having a search house perform a preliminary name search for you. Search houses will usually clear your proposed name for free when you purchase their service to register your sole proprietorship and others will provide you with a preliminary name search for a small fee. It is important that you have a professional search house clear your name for you before you register. Search houses are trained and they will be able to pre-clear the name and ensure that no one is using that name all across Canada. If you were to register a name that is the same as another name you could still open yourself up to a law suit if the name is the same or close to another name registered if that name has a long standing in the community. Many businesses now conduct business in more than one province across Canada.
Once you have registered your Ontario business it will stay in place for five years. A Master Business Licence will be issued for the Ontario sole proprietorship. It will be a photocopy and if you order it online from a Ontario service provider it will be sent to you in the form of a pdf. The expiry date of the Ontario business registration will be on the form and you must ensure that you keep track of this since the government will not remind you.
It should be noted that no Ontario company can have the same name. It is only Ontario business names, Ontario sole proprietorships and Ontario partnerships that have no protection for the name.
If any information on the Ontario sole proprietorship changes you must file an amendment within fifteen days. You cannot amend the name of an Ontario sole proprietorship. If you wish to change the name you must register a new Ontario trade name.
In order to cancel your Ontario sole proprietorship you will need to file a dissolution with the Ontario government.
An Ontario sole proprietorship registration expires after five years. The expiry date will be shown on the Master Business Licence. The onus is on you to renew your licence and it is a good idea to renew it a few days before the expiry date. No reminder notice is sent out by the government.
Resources for Canadian Business Owners handles legal and government registrations and can assist you with an Ontario Trade Name
and GST Number
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