A Ontario Sole Proprietorships Registration is governed by the Business Names Act (Ontario). An Ontario Sole Proprietorship is sometimes called an Ontario Trade Name. The statute provides that no individual shall carry on business or identify his or her business to the public under a name other than his or her own name unless the name is registered by that individual. Therefore you can carry on business under your own personal name and not register. However, some licensing offices will still require you to be registered before they issue certain licenses.

Registration of an Ontario sole proprietorship expires after 5 years. When you receive your registration it will be called a Master Business Licence. It will have an expiry date on the form. The government will not remind you to renew your sole proprietorship registration so you must put some kind of tickler in place to remind you.

You will be issued a BIN number which means Business Identification Number and this number can also be found on the Master Business Licence.

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Is an Ontario NUANS Name Search Required to Register an Ontario Sole Proprietorship

You are not required to provide a NUANS name search report to register an Ontario Sole Proprietorship. The Business Names Act (Ontario) has no requirement for a sole proprietorship name to be unique. Any company, sole proprietorship or partnership can register the same business name at the same time in Ontario. This does not mean that you should just go ahead and register any name you wish. It is important that you make all attempts to have a distinct name that is very different from all names out there. The best way to ensure this is to do a preliminary name search before you register your sole proprietorship.

Just to clarify, Ontario company names are unique and no one can register a company with the exact same name as another company. It is only business names that are not protected.

Purchase Ontario Sole Proprietorship with an unlimited number of preliminary name searches until you find an available name.

How to Obtain an Ontario Sole Proprietorship Registration and Receive Your Ontario Master Business Licence

Resources for Canadian Business Owners can assist you with registering your Ontario sole proprietorship  and if you wish also obtain a Business Number (which includes a GST number, payroll number, import / export number (if needed)  and an unlimited number of preliminary name searches until you pick a name that is available.

The form being registered is a Form 1 – Registration under the Business Names Act – Sole Proprietorship/Partnership.

How to Maintain an Ontario sole Proprietorship Registration – Ontario Master Business License

Within 15 days of any information on the form changing you must register an amendment which amendment can be submitted on the same form as the registration form.

Order an amendment to an Ontario Sole Proprietorship registration.

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How to Dissolve an Ontario Sole Proprietorship

An Ontario Sole Proprietorship can be dissolved by filing a Form 1 – under the Business Names Act – Sole Proprietorship/Partnership.

Order a dissolution of an Ontario Sole Proprietorship registration.

Renewing an Ontario Sole Proprietorship

If you are renewing your sole proprietorship in advance of its expiry date you can submit a renewal application and obtain the same BIN number on your new Master Business License. If the sole proprietorship has expired you will need to register a new sole proprietorship and you will be issued a new BIN number.

Order a renewal for your Ontario sole proprietorship

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Changing the Name of an Ontario Sole Proprietorship

You cannot change the name of a sole proprietorship. If you wish you can dissolve an existing sole proprietorship and register a new Ontario sole proprietorship under the new name. You would transfer the assets from one to the other. However, it is not considered a name change. You would be registering a new Ontario sole proprietorship.

Federal Business Number for an Ontario Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorships are issued Federal Business Numbers by the federal government. The numbers have extension numbers on them for adding the GST number, Import / Export number and the Payroll number. If you do not have employees you do not need the payroll number. If you do not import / export then you do not need that number. If you are not making more than $30,000 you do not require a GST number although you can register voluntarily.

If you own more than one sole proprietorship the federal government will issue you one Business Number for both proprietorships. All you need to do is let the government know about any additional proprietorships that you register. If you wish you can have a separate GST number, separate Payroll number and/or a separate import / export number for each sole proprietorship. You might have one number for one and not for the other. You can track GST for both sole proprietorships under one GST number if you wish. You just need to provide the federal government with this information. For instance you might want to track GST separately for both proprietorships so you would have a separate number for each.

Registering in Another Province

Every province and territory has its own statute that governs carrying on business in that province. You need to review that statute to see what that province or territory has defined as carrying on business. If you are conducting that type of business then you must register. It is a good idea to get advice from a solicitor about this since sometimes it might appear as if you need to be registered but you actually may not need to. If your conducting business in a number of provinces and territories it can become extremely expensive to register and maintain those registrations so you want to know in advance whether it is absolutely necessary.