In Nova Scotia you will be required to obtain a NUANS Name Search report for a proposed name for a corporation, a partnership, business name, sole proprietorship and extra-provincial corporation being registered in that province prior to the registration being accepted.

Procedure of Nova Scotia Government with Respect to Name Clearances for a NUANS Name Search

Although the Nova Scotia government does accept NUANS Name Search reports the report must be obtained directly by them.  The problem this represents is that the Nova Scotia government only allows for one name to be picked and once you pay your money there is a chance the name will not be accepted since the pre-clearance procedure by this government is limited.  What this means is that if the name you provide to the Nova Scotia government is not accepted by them you will need to pay for the service over and over again until a name is accepted.

The Nova Scotia government does indicate it will pre-clear names in advance however there are limitations on the pre-clearance.  The Nova Scotia government does a preliminary name search of the Registry of Business Names in Nova Scotia.  They do not pre-clear names against names already registered in New Brunswick (see Reciprocal Agreement between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick above) and any conflict that shows up after a full NUANS Name Search is ordered will result in the name being rejected.  The Nova Scotia government also does not pre-clear names against registrations across Canada.

However, at the time that the Nova Scotia government orders a full NUANS Name Search report (which will result after you have paid) that report will be reviewed with respect to names registered right across Canada and any conflicting names will result in a rejection.

Anyone who is registering a business anywhere in Canada must have a distinct and different name from all names registered across Canada, not just in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  Many businesses are now operating right across Canada and the onus is on you to ensure you are not in conflict with any of them otherwise you could be sued.


Using a Search House to Obtain Your Preliminary Clearance of a Nova Scotia Proposed Business Name

It is best to find a search house that will check the name in advance of submitting the request to the Nova Scotia government.  Search houses can also handle both the pre-clearance of the name and the submission of the request to the Nova Scotia government directly which will result in your having a better chance of being accepted the first time around.

If you wish we can provide the following services for you:

1) Have Resources for Canadian Business Owners do a preliminary name search on your proposed name through the NUANS system (which will bring up 99% of the conflicts for the name in all provinces and territories in Canada and will provide for a higher level of clearance of the name than you would receive from having your preliminary name search done by the Nova Scotia government ) and then you will be able to then order a request of a full name clearance from the Nova Scotia government on your own.  If the first name you provide to us is not clear we will request you to provide us with additional names to check at no other cost; OR

2) Have Resources for Canadian Business Owners handle the pre-clearance and submission of your name to the Nova Scotia government to obtain a name reservation report from the Nova Scotia government.  We will also do a preliminary name search on your proposed name through the NUANS Name Search system.  If any conflicts show up we will ask you to provide us with another name, at no additional cost, to check until such time as a name is chosen that appears to be clear.

Our service does not guarantee a name reservation for your proposed business because each examiner at the Nova Scotia office will have his or her own ideas about what names are a conflict and sometimes an examiner can be too strict however we do guarantee you will have a better chance at acceptance.

Picking a Descriptive and Distinct Name for Your Nova Scotia Business

Since Nova Scotia personnel does approve the final request it is therefore important that all rules with respect to name granting are complied with which include a distinctive element, a descriptive word and an appropriate ending if it is a corporation.  See below for more information on this.

An example of a name would be:

[Ottawa] [Dry Cleaning] [Inc.]

“Ottawa” is the distinctive element of the name and this can be anything that makes your name stand out.  Other examples might be Redcliff, Green, Mountain Road, etc. The distinctive element serves to differentiate names having identical or similar descriptive elements and, for that reason, it is the most important element to be examined by the Nova Scotia examiner.  The more distinct and different it is, the more likely your name will be approved.  Examples of names that do not comply would be The Tire Shop Limited or the Shoe Store Inc.  They lack an appropriate distinctive element.  They only mention the type of business.  Peterson’s Hair Salon Inc. would be good because “Peterson” is a very distinct part of the name.

“Dry Cleaning” describes the type of business.

“Inc.” relates to the legal ending which is provided for corporations.  Nova Scotia companies can have the ending Inc., Incorporated, Ltd. and Limited.

Since Nova Scotia pre-clearances are done by the government you absolutely must choose a name that has all three of these elements if you are going to have a chance at obtaining a clearance from the Nova Scotia government.

Resources for Canadian Business Owners provides as part of its service the pre-clearance of a name for your business.  We will check as many names as are needed to be checked in order to come across a clear name and we will then submit the name to the Nova Scotia government on your behalf.  Keep in mind there is no guarantee as to whether a government office will agree to a name, however, you will have a better chance at acceptance first time around.

The Nova Scotia government is more expensive than other provinces with respect to providing a name reservation report and it is also slow and it can take a week to obtain a name reservation.

More Examples

  • Distinctive Element

  • Vancouver

  • Dominique's

  • Butterwind

  • Descriptive Element

  • Lawn Mowing Services

  • Graphics Design

  • Wind Surfing Instruction

  • Legal Element

  • Ltd.

  • Corp.

  • Inc.

Reciprocal Agreement between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

The government of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have a reciprocal agreement in place which provides that any business properly registered to carry on business in Nova Scotia can also carry on business in New Brunswick without being registered a second time.  What this means is that if a business name is being used in New Brunswick and it is similar to the name you wish to use in Nova Scotia, you will have a problem obtaining a name clearance for your proposed name.

Special Consideration for Nova Scotia Names

The words Nova Scotia (in either English or French form) will not be allowed at the beginning of a corporate or business name.  Other words which might imply connection with, or endorsement by, any government require written consent of that government.

The use of “Nova Scotia” as the distinctive element in any name is considered to imply connection with the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia.  Use will be accepted only on the written consent of that government, usually obtained from the Nova Scotia Protocol Office, after the name has been approved by the Registrar.

Use of the words “Nova Scotia” and “N.S.” will be accepted without consent, if they are placed at the end of a name and before the corporate designation.  “Nova Scotian” may be used anywhere in a name.

The use of brackets with the words “(Nova Scotia)” and “(N.S.)” implies affiliate or subsidary with another company with a similar name, outside of Nova Scotia and will be accepted only on confirmation of the existence of the affiliate.

Objectionable Names

Names that are considered to be objectionable on public grounds will not be accepted.    A name will not be approved if it includes a vulgar expression, obscene word or connotation, racial, physical or sexual slur.

The use of names of public figures will not be acceptable without advance written consent of the person named.  You cannot use a surname other than your own, without advance written consent of the person named.

Your request may be rejected if you have not included the following in your name:

Not Distinctive:  The name will require a distinctive, non-descriptive first word or phrase (e.g. person’s name, initials, geographic location, etc. )

Descriptive Word:  The name will require a descriptive second word or phrase (e.g., electrical, restaurant, construction, flowers, accounting, etc.)

In the case of corporations a legal ending:  Corp., Corporation, Inc., Incorporated, Limited or Ltd.

Number Names

The province of Nova Scotia provides that companies can have numbered names in the form as follows:  1245321 Nova Scotia Limited.  The government will assign the number to the name and you will not be able to pick it.  Unlike other provinces, this province requires a name reservation report to be obtained even in the case of a numbered company.