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The BC government requires that a BC name search report accompany any documentation submitted to them for review when registering a BC company, a business name registered on behalf of a BC company, a BC partnership or a BC sole proprietorship. A report is also required when incorporating a BC society (non-share company) or registering extra-provincially in BC.


Guidelines to Obtain a Favourable Approval from the BC Government

All names accepted for registration in BC must be distinct and different from other names registered in BC including not sounding the same. The BC government also considers the nature of business as well when they consider a BC proposed business name request. 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. The reason we will do this is that it is important that the name be cleared not just in BC but right across Canada.


Order Three Proposed Name Submissions to the BC Government for the Price of One BC Name Clearance Request

When ordering a BC name search report for a business you will be allowed to provide the BC government with three names to check. BC is the only province that gives this benefit. 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 choice and that name is not accepted you cannot later on come back and request a search for the two additional names. They will want to be paid again for those additional name clearances.

Resources for Canadian Business Owners will pre-clear all three proposed names in advance of submitting your request to the BC government, so that you have an excellent chance at having one of those names approved in the order of your preference. The examiners can be difficult to please so having your name pre-cleared carefully before submitting the request increases your chances of success and we will be able to advise of your chances with the names you are interested in.

BC Name Clearance Report – Reserved for 56 Days

Once the name is approved by the BC government the name will be reserved for 56 days. You will be provided with a report indicating the name is reserved.

How to Choose a BC Business Name

The three components of a name are the distinctive, descriptive and corporate designation.

  • Distinctive Element

  • Vancouver

  • Dominique's

  • Butterwind

  • Descriptive Element

  • Lawn Mowing Services

  • Graphics Design

  • Wind Surfing Instruction

  • Legal Element

  • Ltd.

  • Corp.

  • Inc.


The first word or word combination for the BC name is called the Distinctive Element.

Examples would be Giant Apple Pie Baking Corporation for a corporate name, Jefferson Storage Service as a proposed name for a trade name registered by a BC company, or EISSAXX Jet Ski Services Limited reflecting the distinctive element for a made up word or coined word name for a BC company.

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.

In the case of Partnership Registrations, Sole Proprietorship Registrations or Operating Trade Name registrations, the Corporate Designation is not required.

BC Name Clearance Report
BC Name Search Reservation Report to be used to register BC Businesses.

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.