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Business Registration in Alberta

Part 3: Name Registration & Creating an Alberta Corporation

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young male CEO of a computer programming business

Registering a Corporation in Alberta

Image (c) Gunnar Svanberg / Getty Images

Registering your trade name (sole proprietorship) or partnership in Alberta is quick and easy. As you don’t even need to fill out forms anymore, it’s just a matter of turning over the required information and paying the required fee. Trade name registration or partnership registration will cost approximately $30, plus the cost of service, according to the Alberta Business Service Centre.

Registering an Alberta corporation is a longer and costlier process.

To register an Alberta corporation, you need to provide a corporate name and address, describe the structure of the corporation, identify the type of corporation you want to set up, and provide information about the directors of the corporation, such as the names and addresses of the directors, and their Canadian residency status. The type of Alberta corporation you choose will depend on the number of shareholders involved, and whether or not the corporation will be distributing shares to the public; there are three categories to choose from:

  • corporations with less than 16 shareholders,
  • corporations with 16 or more shareholders that don’t issue shares to the public,
  • corporations with 16 or more shareholders that do issue shares to the public.

This last type is the most heavily regulated type of Alberta corporation. For more information on these types and choosing a name for an Alberta corporation, see Service Alberta's information on Corporations.

Whether you’re registering a new corporation, performing an extra-provincial registration, or registering a society or non-profit company, the basic business registration procedure is the same; after having a NUANS search done on your chosen name, you will take the NUANS report to an accredited service provider. (Note that every extra-provincial corporation (any corporation created elsewhere) has to register in Alberta within thirty days of doing business in Alberta. This includes federally incorporated corporations. Here is more detailed information on extra-provincial incorporation.)

Looking at the forms that are related to incorporating in Alberta on the Alberta Corporate Registry site will help you get your information together before you visit your your accredited service provider and go through the corporation registration procedure.

How much you pay when incorporating in Alberta will depend on the service provider you choose; fees vary. The service provider will examine the information you provide to be sure it’s complete and meets the legislated requirement for Alberta corporations. If all is as it should be, he or she will process your application and issue you a certificate of incorporation as proof that the registration has occurred.

This article deals with incorporating a for-profit business in Alberta. Here's the Alberta Corporate Registry's explanation of the procedure for incorporating a non-profit company.

For more on the incorporation process and what your responsibilities are afterwards, see my articles, How to Incorporate Your Business and Getting Your New Corporation Up and Running.

No matter which form of business you choose, it’s wise to seek the advice of professionals who have more experience setting up businesses. Besides consulting a lawyer or notary public, you may also wish to discuss your situation with an accountant, who will be able to advise you about the best form of business for you.

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