Business Name Search and Business Name Registration


In a single online session, you can register or renew your business, and apply to the Ontario Ministry of Revenue for the Retail Sales Tax (RST) and Employer Health Tax (EHT), and to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).



Business Name Search

Before making a final decision on a business name, it is a good idea to check whether the name you have in mind is already in use. The most complete searches are done, for a fee, by private search houses. You can conduct your own business name searches, however it is important to make your search as complete as possible, including businesses registered in Ontario and other provinces, as well as incorporations and trade-marks.


One of the searches would be to search the records of the Companies and Personal Property Security Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Government Services. This searches business names registered with the Province of Ontario, it does not search incorporated names or trademarks.  The cost is $8.00.  Method of payment online with a credit card. Business Name Search


Please note: if a business incorporates using the business operating name, (as opposed to a number) the corporation is not obligated to also register that business name with the Companies and Personal Property Security Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Government Services. 

Incorporated business names are protected. You may be sued if you use a name that is the same as the legal name of an incorporated business or its registered trademark. Incorporated businesses are registered with the Canada-wide corporate and business name registry called the Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS). A NUANS search report will display corporations, business names and trademarks which are similar to the name you have searched. For more information, please follow this link: (NUANS).

You can check business names registered in other provinces through the business registration authority of the other provinces.

For more information, follow this link: Naming your Business, or the Service Ontario website has more information.


Business Name Registration

The Business Names Act requires any business operating in Ontario with a name other than the owner’s exact name to be registered with the Province. Corporations must register all names they use to carry on businesses if these are not the same as the corporate name.

A Master Business Licence will be issued upon registration of your business name. Proof of business name registration is required by financial institutions in order to open a business bank account.

A unique name will help identify your business to customers; however unincorporated business names are not protected.  Registration places your business name on the public record maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Government Services, allowing consumers and business people to find the owners or principals behind a business name. Registering a business name does not give you exclusive use of the name. The Business Names Act does not prohibit registration of identical names, but if you decide to use the same name, or if you use a name that is confusingly similar to that of an existing business, it could result in a lawsuit.

The person registering the name assumes full responsibility for any risk of confusion with an existing corporation, business name, or trademark. You can get protection for your business name through a trademark.

In Muskoka, if your business is a sole proprietorship, a partnership or if you want to register an operating or trade name under an existing corporation, you have several choices to register your business name with the Province of Ontario. The cost and method of payment varies.  For more information, follow this link: Registering a Business Name or contact Ontario Business Connects:(416) 314-9151, (800) 565-1921.


Povincial/Retail Sales Tax (PST/RST)

On June 30, 2010, all current RST vendor accounts will be closed by the Ontario Ministry of Finance. Vendors should not destroy their permits which should be kept along with other business records as required.

Worker’s Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)
Under new legislation, independent operators, sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership and some executive officers who work in construction will also be required to have WSIB coverage starting in 2013.


If you are hiring employees or contractors, you are responsible for payments to the WSIB. In accordance with the Act, employers must notify the WSIB within 10 days of hiring someone. WSIB will send you an application form and notify you of the payments.


When you register your business name provincially, this application is automatically sent. For more information, visit www.wsib.on.ca. Further information on WSIB can be found by following this link: Small Business Services - Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

To better understand your obligations under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, contact the Office of the Employer Advisor (OEA), 1-800-387-0774




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