The main objective of Industry Canada when incorporating a federal company is to have protection for the name across Canada. In order to accomplish this, the federal government must ensure that any name that is proposed does not conflict with any other name being used by an existing business anywhere in Canada. The federal government has established a: FEDERAL NAME GRANTING COMPENDIUM
Procedure for Approval of a Name for a Federal Company
Step 1 – Have a Search House perform Preliminary Name Searches against your Proposed Name.
Step 2 – Have a Search House submit your proposed name for a Federal Name Decision Report.
Preliminary Name Searches
To save yourself time and money you should first do a preliminary name search through an experienced search house. The reason you should have someone experienced perform a preliminary name search is to weed out obvious conflicts to the name. If too many conflicts to the name show up on the preliminary name search a new name can be chosen BEFORE the cost of a NUANS report is incurred.
A search house is trained to look for these types of conflicts. If you do not have a preliminary name search done and the federal government rejects your proposed name search you will be required to order another search and submit another request for approval.
The federal government can provide you with a Federal Name Decision which can be obtained in advance of filing your articles and save wasted time and money. However, a Federal Name Decision cannot be obtained without first providing a Federal NUANS report.
It is advisable to use a search house to assist you with this request because search houses are aware of how to argue a negative decision. If conflicts to your proposed name are highlighted by the Federal government which provides that the name is rejected, a qualified search house will exam those conflicts and in many cases rule them out as conflicts to your name. A second submission will be submitted for a reconsideration of the original request.
Frankly there really is no guarantee with the Canadian federal government when it comes to names but experience can help make the process go much more quickly and reduce the likelihood of a rejection to a small percentage. We have 30 years experience working with Industry Canada in clearing names.
Once you have your Name Decision Report and the name search report in hand you can then use these to register your federal company.
The federal government has complex Name Granting Guidelines when accepting a Federal NUANS Name Search.
The name that you pick for your proposed company should contain at least three but preferably five words and be very descriptive of the type of business that you intend to conduct. A preliminary name search should be done to determine if there are any similar names. If any similar names come up from the preliminary name search, the name should be rejected and a new proposed name should be picked.
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Since preliminary name searches are free with the purchase of a Federal name search, when you use our service, you can continue searching names until you have picked one that is sufficiently different than other corporate names. As part of our service, Resources For Canadian Business Owners Inc. will perform an unlimited number of preliminary name searches for you when you purchase a name search or when you purchase a Federal Name Search and Federal Name Decision.
Once we believe that you have a name that is sufficiently different than others, a full NUANS Report can be ordered. There will more than likely be additional names on the corporation name search that are similar in one way or another to the name you have picked. The federal government will query any name that is similar in any way, even if it sounds the same but is spelled differently.
The name search should be submitted to Industry Canada for approval. A very complete description of the nature of business of the proposed company should also be provided to Industry Canada. They will use this description as part of the consideration they give to granting you approval of the name.
Further if any of the words in the name are a combination of letters rather than an actual word, this should be explained and, if any of the words in the name are in another language, Industry Canada should be informed of the language and meaning of the word.
The more information that you provide to Industry Canada, the more likely you will be able to obtain approval of the name. Providing Industry Canada with the City and province in which you are carrying on business will also help.
Further, if you own a business using any similar name such as a sole proprietorship then you should advise them of this as well. The federal government will then provide you with a Name Decision approving your proposed name and you will be provided an approval number.
If Industry Canada rejects your proposed name you will be provided with an explanation as to why. If they feel the name is too similar to another name being used by an existing company, you can look into the nature of business of that company and find out (a) what they do, and (b) whether they are still in business. If the nature of business is substantially different than your proposed company then Industry Canada may provide its consent to you for the use of your proposed name regardless of whether they first said no to your name.
You may be able to determine the nature of business by checking Yellow Pages or calling and discreetly attempting to determine the nature of business. You can obtain more information about the conflicting company by obtaining a corporate search. A corporate search will provide you with the address of the company and the names of the directors and officers so that you have more information to find out whether the company is active.
If, after doing searches you have determined that the existing corporation is no longer in existence, you may, as well, be granted approval by Industry Canada for the use of your proposed name and can request a re-examination.
You would send a further letter to Industry Canada outlining the information that you have researched and ask them to reconsider your choice of name again. In some cases, Industry Canada will allow you to use the name on the basis that if anyone challenges the name at a later date, you will endeavour to change your name. If, after all efforts have been attempted, your name is still rejected you will need to start the entire process over again.
This procedure is best performed by a qualified search house.
Resources For Canadian Business Owners Inc would be glad to assist you with obtaining an available name.
Which Provinces Accept a NUANS report versus a Specific Province Name Clearance Report?
The province and territories which accept the NUANS report are: Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Federal, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon. All other jurisdictions in Canada will require a name search report specific to that province or territory.
In Alberta and Ontario you are not required to provide a name search report of any type for sole proprietorships, business names or partnerships, however, it is still advisable to perform a preliminary name search since the onus is on you to ensure the name has not been taken by any other business. If you are ordering a name search report or a name search specific to a province as required by the type of registration you are wanting, our service automatically includes preliminary name searches. The only time you would order a preliminary name search would be if you are registering a business name, sole proprietorship or partnership in a province that does not require a name search report such as Alberta or Ontario.
Name search reports and NUANS name search reports all provide the same kind of information. They determine whether a proposed name has been used by any other business across Canada and also provide a list of similar names already registered. Be advised that these reports are specific to the province they are ordered for. For instance a Federal NUANS report cannot be used for an Ontario company.
A name search report compares the name of a proposed business to all other names already registered across Canada.
A NUANS report is specific to certain provinces and is a seven-page report which is generated from the search system which compares a proposed name or trade-mark with the database of existing names that have been registered anywhere across Canada.
What Information is Provided by a Name Search Report or a NUANS Report
By comparing the proposed name against the NUANS name search system or a name granting system in a province or territory, any similarity existing between the proposed name and the names in the database, will show up on the name search report. This will allow you to determine whether you are planning on using a name for your company that is too similar to another name. It is important for your name to be as distinct as possible. If you are ordering a name search for a province that does not accept the NUANS you will be provided with a name search that compares names to other names in that particular province or territory but the name search report will also look at similar names in other provinces right across Canada that may be a conflict.
What is A NUANS Search System
The NUANS search system is a computerized search system which contains a list of all of the company names, sole proprietorships, partnerships, business names and trade-marks registered in the federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada. The purpose of the system is to keep track of all names registered across Canada.
Even if a province or territory has its own name search system in place, the NUANS system will pick up those names in its database and therefore when performing a preliminary name search the search system is the best way to get a pre-clearance of your name.
Only search houses can perform preliminary name searches or full NUANS name searches through the NUANS system with the exception of the federal government’s site which provides limited access to doing searches.
The federal website’s preliminary name search system is limited in that it does not allow for broad searches and it is not workable if ordering a Federal NUANS and it is limited with respect to doing preliminary name searches for other provinces and territories. In order to effectively do a preliminary name search on your proposed business you must have an experienced search house perform the search.
What is a Name Search Report and NUANS Report Used For
A NUANS name search report must accompany articles of incorporation when incorporating a company in the federal, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Yukon jurisdictions of Canada.
NUANS reports are also required in some provinces for registration of business names and partnerships. In Ontario and Alberta you are not required to provide any form of name search when registering a sole proprietorship or partnership.
Do All Provinces and Territories Accept the NUANS Name Search
Some provinces and territories have their own name search system and they do not except the NUANS name search report. Those provinces and territories will require a name search specific to that jurisdiction. The jurisdictions in Canada that do not accept the NUANS report are British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and Northwest Territories.
If you are registering a sole proprietorship, business name or partnership in a province or territory where a name search or NUANS report is not required (such as Ontario or Alberta), it is a good idea to perform a preliminary name search to ensure the name is available but a full name search report or NUANS report would not be necessary. All you need to do is ensure the name is available before you register your sole proprietorship or partnership.
Even though not all provinces and territories accept a NUANS report since all names registered in those jurisdictions are recorded in the NUANS database, it is still advisable to do a preliminary name search through the NUANS system to ensure the name is available. Resources for Canadian Business Owners can provide you with a preliminary name search for situations for situations when a full NUANS report is not required.
If you require a name search report or NUANS name search report to register your company, business name, sole proprietorship or partnership, Resources for Canadian Business Resources Inc. will provide you with unlimited free preliminary name searches when a name search report or NUANS report is ordered through us.
How Does the NUANS Name Search System Capture the Names from the Other Name Search Systems in Canada
The governments which do not accept reports from the NUANS name search system provide a list of any names that have been registered in their province or territory to the NUANS name search system and these names are added to the NUANS system database on a regular basis.
Why is a Name Search or NUANS Report Necessary
You cannot incorporate a company with a name that is exactly the same as another name already registered. It does not matter whether you are registering a company in PEI and the duplicate name is in BC, you will not be able to register an exact name.
When you go to incorporate a company the government must first know if that name has been taken. In order for the government to ensure that the name is free to use it needs to see a NUANS name search report or similar name search report depending on the jurisdiction.
The report will show the government whether there is an exact name already registered for the proposed name you wish to use. The name search report is also your way of determining whether there are additional conflicts to your name. The onus will be on you to look over the entire report and make sure you are not proposing to use a name that is even close to another corporate name or trade-mark since the owner of the name could still have a claim against you if your name is too similar and his or her company name has had a large presence in the marketplace for many years. Order a NUANS name search now.
How Do You Ensure Your Proposed Business Name is Distinct
Refer to the section on name guidelines for more information on how to ensure you have picked a distinct and descriptive name for your company that will not be challenged by the government or another company.
Are There Different Types of NUANS Name Search Reports
Each jurisdiction that accepts the NUANS Name search report will have its own form of NUANS report. If you are incorporating an Ontario company you will be required to obtain an Ontario NUANS Name Search report. If you are incorporating a federal company you will be required to obtain a federal NUANS name search report. If you are incorporating an Alberta company you will be required to obtain an Alberta NUANS Name Search report. Despite the fact that each of these reports is different, all reports will search the NUANS database system for similar names right across Canada.
Why Are Federal Name searches different from Alberta Name Searches, Ontario NUANS, PEI and NB Name Searches
An Ontario company can be incorporated with any name which is different in any regard, even if it is only a few letters in the name. A federal company differs however because when the federal government reviews articles of incorporation together with a Canada NUANS it will not allow any name which is similar to another company in many regards. When you are submitting incorporation documents for a federal company ensure your name is as different as possible from any other company name being used in Canada. Be prepared that the government may also disallow your proposed name if it sounds the same as another existing company even if the spelling is substantially different. You should be prepared that your name might not be accepted. Each time you submit articles for review you will need to submit a new NUANS report. If the first name you pick is too close to others on record, then you will have to buy another federal NUANS and submit again. A qualified search house will be able to assist you with having a better chance of your NUANS report being accepted the first time. Resources for Canadian Business Owners has experience in having proposed names accepted even after they have been rejected. However, some times additional searches must be performed to rule out conflicting companies and there can be an additional cost here. It is possible to obtain an advance Name Decision report from Industry Canada before you submit your articles for filing. Resources for Canadian Business Owners will be glad to submit a request for a Name Decision for your federal incorporation. This will also include as many preliminary name searches as you require without further cost. We are experienced in reviewing preliminary name search results through the NUANS system to help increase your chances of being accepted the first time round when you are submitting articles of incorporation for companies in the federal jurisdiction.
Why Does It Matter if I use a Name Similar to a Name in Another Province
It may seem that if you are registering a company in Ontario and another company in the Northwest Territories has a similar name, that this should not be a problem. With technology as it is today, companies are conducting business across Canada, if not across the World. You will have no idea whether the company with the name that you are proposing may at some time in the future be conducting business in the very province you wish to register in and then there would be a conflict. Further, the Canadian government provides that any company that is registered in any province or territory in Canada can apply to be registered to carry on business in another province or territory. It is therefore very important that your proposed name is distinct and descriptive. This is called an extra-provincial registration.
Is a NUANS Report Required for a Business Name or Sole Proprietorship Registration
A NUANS Report is not required in Ontario and Alberta, and some other provinces when registering business names, sole proprietorships and partnerships. In Ontario and Alberta anyone can register the exact same business name or sole proprietorship as one registered already. However, it is advisable that you do a preliminary NUANS name search before you register to ensure no one else is using the name regardless. This is the one time when you should pay for a preliminary name search for your business name. There is no need to purchase a full NUANS report or other name search report for a business name, sole proprietorship or partnership being registered in Alberta and Ontario. All that is required is to do a preliminary name search just to ensure you are picking a name that is different. It is always advisable not to use a name that is too similar to another name since this would be a conflict for your business in the long run. Some business names such as “Bell Canada” have a high standing in the marketplace because of the number of years the name has been registered and the number of people who know the name.
You should be aware that there is no such thing as a Federal Business Name registration, Federal partnership registration or Federal Sole Proprietorship registration. Business names, partnerships and sole proprietorships are governed by the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada.
What is a Preliminary NUAN Name Search
If you purchase a NUANS Name Search Report and the name you wish to use for your incorporation is on the report as registered for another company or business, you will not be allowed to incorporate with that name. It is therefore important that you do a preliminary NUANS name search first in order to ensure before hand that the name is free. Otherwise, if you do not first ensure a pre-check of the name is done and you order a full NUANS report or other form of name search report, your registration could be rejected if the name is too similar or the same as another name registered.
Please note however that preliminary NUANS Name Searches are not fool proof and there is always a chance a conflict will show up on the full NUANS Name Search or other name search report that did not come up during the Preliminary NUANS Name Search.
You can keep buying full NUANS Name Search reports but it will become costly. It is better that you check the name first with a Preliminary NUANS Name search. Resources for Canadian Business Owners provides FREE UNLIMITED preliminary name searches with the purchase of a NUANS or Name Search Report. We will make great efforts to pre-clear your name in advance so that the odds of your proposed name being rejected are reduced.
How do I Arrange to have a Preliminary Name Search
Resources for Canadian Business Owners Inc. will do as many preliminary Name Searches as you wish with the purchase of a full NUANS Name Search or other Name Search Report. If you are not required to submit a name search report with your registration Resources for Canadian Business Owners will be glad to perform a preliminary name search for you at a nominal fee. This service should only be used when a name search report is NOT required
How Long Does it Take to Get a Name Search or NUANS Report
If you are ordering a report from a province or territory that does not accept a NUANS report, it can take a few days to a week to obtain the report. If you are ordering a NUANS name search report, it takes from 40 minutes to three hours to obtain a NUANS Name Search Report. Once you order a NUANS report a confirmation email will be sent to you to let you know that we have received your request. Depending on the number of searches requested at that time it might take us 40 minutes or three hours. Be assured though you will receive the NUANS in the same day whether you order it at 6:00 a.m. in the morning or 10:00 p.m. at night. Frequently we have someone close to the computer for most of the day right up until late evening so feel free to contact us at any time of the day. We are open 7 days a week. We look forward to serving you.
How Long is a Name Search or NUANS Report in effect.
A NUANS name search report will be in effect for 90 days from the date of issue. If yuou do not use the report until after that time you will be required to order a new one and most other name search reports are also effective for a similar length period.
Name Searches for Non-Profit Corporations and Charities
We can provide you with information about registered companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships or operating trade names on the public record throughout Canada including extensive due diligence searching and reporting.
We also provide registration services for Canadian companies, sole proprietorships, partnerships and operating trade names in the provinces and territories of Canada.
Our staff has over 30 years’ experience in corporate law and we will be glad to answer your questions. We take pride in our work and will provide you with the best, fastest, accurate and reasonably priced service available.
Depending on the province or territory you wish to incorporate your non-profit corporation will depend on the type of name report that you get. There is no difference between a name search report for a not for profit corporation or charitable corporation and a share corporation. It is the province or territory that governs the report you get.
For instance, a name search report for a share company being incorporated in Ontario is the same report given to a non profit or charity corporation wishing to incorporate in Ontario, being an Ontario NUANS name search report.
NUANS Search Houses are trained on the best method of performing Preliminary NUANS Name Search reports in order to ensure that the most conflicts to your proposed names can be found prior to ordering a full NUANS Name Search Report.
If you incorporate a numbered company a NUANS name search report will not be required since the government will provide you with the next number in line. An example of a numbered Ontario company would be a corporation having a name such as 9999999 Ontario Inc.
A numbered federal company might be a corporation with a name called 9999999 Canada Inc. and an Alberta numbered company might be 2244444 Alberta Ltd. The numbers are given out consecutively. You cannot choose the number for your company.
The BC government has name granting procedures and policies that differ from some of the other provinces. The BC government considers any similar BC name already registered and as well looks at the nature of business of the proposed business when granting names. This article outlines some of those requirements and provides tips as to how to get a name approved and obtain a BC Name Search Report for a proposed business name registration.
Three Name Choices When Submitting a Request for a Proposed BC Name Search Report
The British Columbia Corporate Registry allows you to submit three proposed names for their review when requesting a BC Name Search Report. This is the only province that does this. It is very important to take advantage of this opportunity since the examiners have personal views and even though a name may appear to be clear, the examiner may feel it is not for a variety of reasons. If you give them three choices you will have a better chance of approval.
As indicated above, the examiners also consider the business purpose of a company as well when they make decisions on which names can be used for a BC business. It is not possible for you to determine which registered businesses have a similar business purpose to your proposed business name. It is therefore important to choose names that are distinct and different from all other names registered across Canada, regardless of the business purpose, and take advantage of the three choices option.
Why Use a Search House to Pre-Clear Your Names and Submit a Name Clearance Request to the BC Government on your Behalf
The BC Registry does have a free pre-clearance program in place. However, it is very limited and will not bring up all conflicts to any proposed names. If you use this service there is a very high chance that your proposed name will be rejected even if it appears to be clear because the BC name clearing program does not provide enough broad matches. The only way to do a broad pre-clearance of your proposed BC business name is to have a search house check the name through the NUANS system since it allows for broad matches.
A Canadian search house has access to all of the names registered across Canada. Not only will they be able to clear your name for use in BC, they will also be able to confirm that your proposed name can be used anywhere in Canada. Many businesses now conduct business right across Canada so it is important to pre-clear your name throughout. The BC government’s pre-clearance program does not search conflicts outside of British Columbia.
Single Word Names
The BC Ministry does not normally approve single word names. An example of a single word name for a company would be “Doe Inc.” or in the case of a business name, proprietorship name or partnership name, the word “Doe” would not be acceptable. The only time a single word name will be accepted for a proposed business is if the name is a coined name and it has been trademarked first.
Distinct Elements of a Name
The BC Ministry takes the distinct elements of a name very seriously when it considers whether a BC Reservation Report will be provided. Therefore, if you wish your name to be approved it is a good idea to following the name granting rules. There are three elements of a share company name and two elements for operating names, proprietorships and partnerships.
Distinctive Element – This element is the first one or two words of the name and it can be any noun, a street name, a city name, a coined name (which is a name that has been made up), a colour, an object, etc. The more different and distinct this element is will make it easier for you to obtain approval for your proposed name(s).
Descriptive Element – This element is in the middle of the name. It should describe the nature of business. The BC Ministry insists this element forms part of the name. An example might be online store, marina, knitting supplies, etc.
Legal Element – As indicated below, there must be a legal element at the end of a name for a BC company such as “Limited”, “Incorporated”, “Corporation”, “Ltd.”, “Inc.” or “Corp.” See a more detailed description of the requirements for legal elements under Corporate Designations for BC Business Names outlined below.[margin_10t][margin_10t]
The BC Ministry recommends that the use of special characters for corporate and business names be avoided. Some characters are not recognizable by the system and may not be allowed because of that. The symbol for the cent sign is not allowed. To avoid refusal to obtain a favourable BC Name Search Report it is best to avoid symbols. Feel free to contact us if you wish to know if a particular symbol might be acceptable.
Legal Designations for BC Business Names
There are a number of different types of business registrations in the province of British Columbia and each one has to be set out in accordance with the statute requirements for that type of business. Below is a summary of the legal designations for the various types of business registrations:
BC Incorporated Company– The last word of the corporate name must have one of the following legal designations: “Limited”, “Incorporated” or “Corporation”. You can also use the short form versions of the words as follows: “Ltd.”, “Inc.” or “Corp.” If you are choosing a French name then the legal designation would need to be Limitee, Ltee., Incorporee, Inc. or Corp.
BC Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships do not have a legal ending such as Limited, Ltd., Incorporated, Inc. or Corp. however, they may use the following: Company or Co.
BC Cooperativesmust use the word “Cooperative” in their name and may also use “Society”, “Union”, “Association” or “Exchange”.
BC Societies must have the designation “Association” or “Society” as the last word in the business name.
BC Limited Partnerships must use “Limited Partnership” at the end of the name.
BC Limited Liability Partnerships must use the words “Limited Liability Partnership” or “LLP” at the end of the business name.
BC Business Names Cannot Suggest a Government Connection
Certain words that may imply that the proposed business will be connected to the government are not accepted. Specifically the following words must be avoided: “government”, “ministry”, “bureau”, Secretariat”, “commission” or “certified”.
The use of the word “BC” or “British Columbia” as a distinctive part of the name (i.e. at the beginning of the proposed name) is considered in the eyes of the BC government to imply a connection to the government. In cases such as this, in order to use such a name you would need to obtain the approval of the government. You can, however, use these words at the end of a name and before the corporate designation (legal element) of the name. An example would be Veener Shipping of British Columbia Inc.
BC Business Names Must Not Suggest a Connection to the Crown
Any request for a BC Name Search Report for a proposed BC business name registration that implies any type of connection to the Royal Family or the Crown is not allowed including any reference to any living member of the Royal family, or endorsement by the Crown or Royal family. An example of this would be Prince Charles Coffee Shop Limited. You are allowed to use words that relate to places such as Prince George or Prince Rupert.
Using Personal Names in a BC Business Name
Personal names are allowed as part of incorporated BC companies. For instance, if you wish to use a name such as John Doe Inc. or Doe & Brown Inc. this would be acceptable.
Numbered Company Names
It is possible to register a numbered company with the province of BC. If you choose to do this the BC government will assign a specific number to your new incorporation. It will look similar to 999999 B.C. Ltd.
Number names differ from a numbered BC company name. Numerals may be used in company names in the distinctive portion of the name (the first one or two words of a name). An example would be 13457 Enterprises Ltd. or Atlantic Enterprises (1998) Ltd.
Resources for Canadian Business Owners Inc. is a registered search house.
An Alberta NUANS Search is required when incorporating an Alberta company. The Alberta NUANS search report is used by the Alberta government to confirm that your proposed name is available for use.
The Alberta NUANS Search will show all business names registered in Alberta which are similar to your proposed name and also all names registered in all of the other provinces and territories in Canada which may be a conflict to your proposed Alberta name.
The Alberta NUANS Search Report will also show similar named trademarks that have been registered. [margin_25t]
Preliminary Name Search Prior to Ordering Alberta NUANS Search
Prior to obtaining a NUANS Search for Alberta it is advantageous to perform a preliminary name search. If you were to pick a name and order the Alberta NUANS Search, without the preliminary name searches, you would not know in advance if that name is available.
Having in hand a NUANS Search for Alberta is no guarantee that your name will be accepted. If an exact name is showing on the Alberta NUANS search, being a name already used to register another company, your request for use of that name will be rejected.
The only way you will know if there is an exact name already registered for the proposed name is by having preliminary name searches done. If your Alberta NUANS search is rejected you will need to start over and obtain another Alberta NUANS search. Preliminary name searches help to prevent this happening.
Alberta is more lenient with name approval than other provinces. For instance, if you wish to register Joe Clothing Store Inc. and there is a company already registered as Joe Clothing Sales Store Inc., the Alberta government will allow you to register the name Joe Clothing Store Inc. and your Alberta NUANS search will be accepted by them. This does not mean you should use that name.
This would be a clear conflict and the owners of Joe Clothing Sales Store Inc. would not be too happy to see another company registered with such a similar name. Legal action could be taken and you may need to change your company’s name.
When you have a search house perform preliminary name searches prior to ordering your Alberta NUANS Search 90% of any conflicts will come to light and you can then choose another name for your Alberta company if the name is not available. You should be aware that the preliminary name searches do not pick up all conflicts and there is a slight chance there may be additional conflicts showing on the full NUANS search for Alberta but performing preliminary name searches does assist greatly.
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