General Guide on Company Formation in Canada

Updated on Friday 10th January 2020

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Canada is currently one of the most sought countries to relocate in. This is because the government has created various programs through which foreign citizens are allowed to enter the country for employment or investment reasons. Even if most of them come here for work, the easy company registration process allows them within a short amount of time to start their own Canadian company.

Below our company registration consultants explain the requirements related to starting a business in Canada.

Types of companies which can be registered in Canada

Unlike other European countries, Canada offers one type of company which can be registered here. That is the corporation. However, the corporation can be divided into:
  • he federal corporation, which is registered with the Canadian government;
  • the provincial or territorial corporation, which implies registering the company with one of the governments of the 13 Canadian provinces.

Foreign companies can register branch and representative offices, as well as subsidiaries.

Our local agents can explain the types of companies which can be registered in Canada.

Documents related to company formation in Canada

Foreign investors must first prepare a set of documents before registering a company in Canada. These documents are represented by the Articles of Association which can be drafted in English, French or even in both languages. The Articles of Association must state:
  • the company’s name, which must be first reserved and approved by the Commercial Register;
  • the name of the shareholders, as well as information on their nationality;
  • the name of the company’s directors together with their personal information;
  • the registered business address- the address must a local one (a virtual office can be used for this purpose);
  • information related to the share structure of the company to be registered.

A specific application form must be filed with the Electronic Filing Centre which processes company registration at both regional and federal levels. An application fee must also be paid.

Our agents can also help with VAT registration in Canada.

The main steps for opening a company in Canada are also presented in the scheme below:

How to open a company in Canada in 5 steps

Steps for starting a company in Canada

The following steps must be completed upon the formation of a company in Canada:
  • choosing a business name which can be a numbered or a corporate one;
  • filing the documents mentioned above with the Electronic Filing Centre;
  • applying for tax and VAT numbers with the federal or provincial tax authorities;
  • applying for the necessary business licenses and permits before starting operating.

It should be noted that if the business name is not a numbered one, name research must be completed in order to make sure it is unique.

We invite you to watch our video on the company registration procedure in Canada:

FAQ on company incorporation in Canada

Foreign investors who want to open companies in Canada usually have questions. Among the most frequently asked questions on company formation in Canada are:

1.      How long does it take to register a company in Canada?
The registration process of a company in Canada depends on the province the business will be registered in and can take up to a month.

2.      Must I register the company at the federal and provincial levels?
No, the company must be registered at the federal or provincial level.

3.      Do I need to appoint a local director?
Yes, at least one of the directors must be a Canadian resident.

4.      What is the corporate tax in Canada?
The corporate tax rate in Canada depends on the province the company is registered in; however, the federal tax rate is 38%.

5.      Is it hard to register a company in Canada?
No, the company registration process is not hard and does not imply a lot of paperwork.

For full information and assistance in starting a company in Canada, please contact our local company formation advisors. You can also rely on us for assistance in drafting the incorporation documents for the chosen business form.