In British Columbia you will be required to do a name search of a proposed name for a corporation, a partnership, business name, a sole proprietorship, a society (non-share company) or an extra-provincial registration. British Columbia has its own name clearance system. In BC you cannot register any name which is exact or similar to another name already registered. Notwithstanding this, all names registered through the BC name clearance system are eventually included in the NUANS name search system as well. Resources for Canadian Business Owners has access to this system and will pre-clear your name across Canada as well as within the province of British Columbia.
Ability to Order Three Choices for Your Proposed Name for the Price of One Name Clearance Request
When ordering a name search for a BC company or business you will be allowed three choices for your name in BC. Not all provinces allow this. This is actually very cool because if you provide the BC government with three proposed names that you have attempted to clear in advance, you will have a better chance of having at least one of those names accepted by the government. If you only provide one name suggestion and that name is rejected you cannot later on come back and say, oh, I have two other names. You will need to pay again. Resources for Canadian Business Owners will pre-clear all three choices so that you have an excellent chance at having one of them approved in the order of your preference.
Reserved for 56 Days
Once the name is approved by the BC government the name will be reserved for 56 calendar days. You will be provided with a Name Reservation number and you will not be able to register your business without this registration number.
How to Choose a Name
The three aspects of a name are the distinctive, descriptive and corporate designation. In the case of sole proprietorships, partnerships and trade name registrations, the corporate designation is not required.
The first word or word combination for the name is called the Distinctive Element. Examples would be Green Tree Landscaping Limited for a company name, Johnston Towing Service as an operating name registered on behalf of a company, ISSO Catering Services Ltd. reflecting the distinctive element for a company name as a coined or made up word, etc.
The second word or word combination for the name is called the Descriptive Element of a business name. The descriptive element must describe the type of business that will be carried on by the corporation. The BC government will not accept any general classification for this part of the name. You must be specific about the nature of business. Examples would be: Star Accounting Services Corporation, Makco Roofing Corp. If you use something such as "Services" on its own, this would be an example of a name that would not get accepted because it does not describe the type of service being performed by the business.
The last word in the name, in the case of corporations only, is the Corporate Designation. Incorporated company names must have as the last word in any name one of the following corporate designations: Incorporated, Inc., Limited, Ltd., Corp. or Corporation.
The British Columbia Corporate Registry is very particular that all three elements are used for a company name and the distinctive and descriptive element be included for any proposed business names. They will also not accept any names that are close in any way to another registered name in BC. Resources for Canadian Business Owners will be glad to assist in ensuring the name you pick has a higher chance of acceptance.