In most cases, when you're starting a business in Canada, once you've chosen a form of business ownership, the next step is business name registration, the registration of your selected business name with your province or territory.
I say "in most cases" because whether or not business name registration is a necessary step depends on which form of business ownership you've chosen.
In most provinces and territories, every business has to be registered except for sole proprietorships that use only their owner's legal name with no additions. So here in B.C. for instance, I have a sole proprietorship named 'Susan Ward' which I have not had to register.
However, if I had named my sole proprietorship Susan Ward Wordsmith or Wardworks, just to pick a pair of examples, business name registration would be needed. (Newfoundland & Labrador is the exception to this; in that province no sole proprietorships or partnerships need to have their business names registered.)
Partnerships, corporations and cooperatives always have to be registered.
Starting a Business: Register a Business Name provides information on business name registration for each province and territory.
Note that registering your business name doesn't give you a business license. You may also have to register your business with your municipality. Some businesses will also need to register for special operating licenses from their provinces.
Read more about The Steps to Starting a Business in Canada.
And if you're having trouble coming up with a great name for your new business, these articles will help:
Image (c) Dave McLeod