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Sole Proprietorship

Sole Proprietorship Business Registration

When starting a business everyone knows that you need to “register” your business with the government.  But it can get really confusing because there are many different kinds of “registrations” and people or websites don’t always distinguish between them.

Sole Proprietorships Defined

When talking about a “Business Registrations” we are typically talking about what is called a “sole proprietorship” registration.  A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of operating a business that is owned by one individual. The business has no existence apart from the owner. Only one owner is responsible for making all of the business decisions and, therefore, earns all the profits, but also assumes all of the risks and obligations. The owner includes the income and expenses of the business on his or her personal tax return.  You always register your sole proprietorship with the provincial government department or agency that handles business registrations in your province.

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Business Registration

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Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Most Canadian sole proprietorships tend to be small and localized. The advantages commonly associated with carrying on a sole proprietorship are the following:

  1. ease in which to start and dissolve the business (through a simple business registration); and
  2. modest start up expenses (see below for business registration fees).

Disadvantages of Sole Proprietorships

There is, however, a significant disadvantage which may lead you to decide against choosing this business form, namely, unlimited liability. The owner is personally responsible for all of the debts and obligations incurred by the business. The owner is thus liable to the full extent of his/her personal assets for all of the liabilities and losses which are incurred by the business. Also, the owner is liable for the actions of employees in the course of their employment.

Trade Name and “Doing Business As” (DBAs) Registrations 

Most jurisdictions require that sole proprietorships register with the relevant government department or authority under the business name it is operating under. This is sometimes referred to as a “Business Registration”, “Business Name Registration” “Trade Name” or “Doing business as (DBA)”. Of course, you do have to get the same business licenses and permits as any other company that goes into the same business.

Name Search before Registering your Sole Proprietorship

To register your business, a business name search report is generally required by provincial governments. These reports are used to determine the availability of a business name by searching the relevant databases or registries listing any similar or possibly confusing existing business names and trademarks. In other words, you need to make sure that no one else has already registered the business name you would like to use for your business.  We can take care of this at the same time we process your business registration or you can do it before hand by clicking here to order your business name report.

Sole Proprietorship Registrations does not Replace Tax Registration

Its important to know that when you register your business name with the government’s registration division, you still have to register with the tax department. You may be required to apply for GST/HST and PST and payroll tax numbers (if you have employees) and Import/Export tax numbers.

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 Canadian Province

Registration Fees

Processing Time
(business days)

Alberta $55 2
British Columbia $40 2
Manitoba $60 10
New Brunswick $112 7
Nova Scotia $66.55 7
Ontario $60 2
Price Edward Isand $90 10
Québec $34 7*
Saskatchewan $65 7**
Yukon $25 7

* Please be advised that the NEQ (Numero d’entreprise du Québec) is obtained at the time of filing, however, there is a government processing time of approximately 14 business days before the trade name is officially approved.

** Please be advised that the current government delay to obtain a name decision for Saskatchewan is approximately 15 business days. This delay is in addition to the processing times for incorporations and business name registrations.

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