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Business Registration in BC

Part 1: Before Business Registration

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Business Registration in BC

Get your business started!

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Starting a business in BC and need to know about business name registration? The basic registration procedure is the same, no matter where you live in Canada, but the details are different in each province and territory. This article will guide you through the steps you need to follow to get your new sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation legally set up in BC. (For start up information for other provinces, see the sidebar, or visit my Starting a Business Library.)

Step 1: Choose a form of business ownership

Before registering your business in BC, you need to decide how your new business will be legally structured. In Canada there are basically four choices of business ownership, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation or a cooperative. (For a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the four forms of business ownership, see my article, Choosing a Form of Business Ownership.)

Step 2: Choose a name

You also need to choose a name for your new business. The name you choose will depend on what form of business you've chosen to operate, as the registration rules are different for each form of business ownership.

If, for example, you've chosen to set up your business as a sole proprietorship using your own name, without adding any other words, business registration in BC is not necessary.

However, if you choose to operate a sole proprietorship under any other name, or want to set up a partnership or corporation, you need to have your name approved by the provincial Corporate Registry before you can register your business.

In BC, this means you have to fill out a Name Approval Request Form. You can get a Name Approval Request Form from your local government's agent office or from the Corporate Registry Web site. This link will take you directly to the Name Approval Request Form.

Filing the Name Approval Request Form will cost you at least $30 (at all OneStop Government Agent offices or the Corporate Registry). The fee will vary if you file your Name Approval Request Form at other places such as a Community Futures Development Corporation.

Once your business name has been approved, you'll have 56 days to complete the registration procedure. If you don't, you'll have to start the process all over again with another Name Approval Request.

So what name restrictions apply? Where and how can you file your completed Name Approval Request Form? How long does the name approval process itself take? Continue onto the next page for the answers to these questions.

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