Trade Register in Canada

Updated on Monday 24th February 2020

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The Corporations Directorate or the Trade Register is the main authority in charge of the registration of companies and other legal entities in Canada.
Entrepreneurs who relocated to Canada or have the status of a business immigrant can register their businesses in the country. With complete help from our local company formation specialists in Canada, a foreigner can open a company in compliance with the requirements of the Corporations Directorate and provincial registry. Even if you are not living in Canada, you can start your business here by setting up different types of companies or partnerships. 

How does the Trade Register in Canada work?

The Canadian Trade Register has the same functions, just like company registers from other countries. Among these functions, we mention the following:
  • it is in charge of accepting and processing the documents filed for company incorporation in Canada;
  • keeping a database of all existing legal entities and amending it every time changes in these companies occur;
  • providing information on an existing company at the request or a person or another company;
  • entering new companies into the database and removing companies ceasing to exist.
The Corporations Directorate has branches in all provinces in Canada.

Types of companies that can be registered in Canada

The main role of the Canadian Trade Register is to accept and process documents related to the incorporation of various types of legal entities. The following types of companies can be registered with the Corporations Directorate:
  1. the sole proprietorship, which is the simplest business form, however, it requires incorporation;
  2. the partnership which can be general or limited and which is widely spread in Canada;
  3. the limited liability company which has the same characteristics of a partnership in Canada;
  4. the corporation, which is the most popular business form in Canada and its provinces;
  5. the co-operative, which can be set up for-profit or non-profit purposes and it allows great flexibility in terms of shareholding structure;
  6. the branch office which is a popular choice among foreign companies seeking to operate in Canada;
  7. the extra-provincial corporation and the non-resident company which are available in Canada only.

As a general rule, the documents to be filed with the Trade Register in order to incorporate a legal entity are pretty much the same, however, our agents in Canada can offer detailed information and can help you prepare the documentation in accordance with the chosen legal entity.

Given the fact Canada has specific particularities in terms of registering a business, a foreign investor must first check all their options in order to make the correct choice.

What to consider before registering a business in Canada

There are several aspects that need to be considered before setting up a company in Canada. Some of these aspects will influence the office of the Trade Register the business will be incorporated here. Among these, an investor must consider where the main office will be located and if the company plans on offering services or selling goods in other provinces.

For those seeking to register a company, registered agent services are available when deciding to set up offices in other provinces.

You can rely on the support of our Canadian company formation representatives for various registered agent services, including virtual office packages.

General steps of registering a company in Canada

From the beginning, we mention that each province in Canada has particular rules regarding the incorporation of a company, and an entrepreneur must fulfill the requirements of the local Trade Register. Before the registration process of a company in Canada, a distinctive name must be chosen, as there are laborious standards imposed by the authorities when accepting the corporate names.
Besides the name and the address of the company, one must provide the articles of association, the memorandum, the documents offering details about the company owners and the activities. Notice of office is another important document which must mention two necessary addresses: one of the registered office and the second of the records office. We remind that, in document preparation, our specialists in company incorporation in Canada can provide complete support and guidance.

Companies in Canada are also required to register for VAT.

You can also read about the steps for registering a company in Canada in this scheme:
How to register a company in Canada

Federally or provincially company incorporation in Canada

Businessmen from overseas can establish companies in Canada without having to relocate to the country. In this matter, our consultants can provide help and guidelines on whether you are interested in setting up a company or a partnership with a Canadian citizen. Once you have decided on a business form, you can register it with the provincial registry, considering that you must decide whether you want to incorporate the company provincially or federally.

company registered federally can perform activities in all territories, if the business is registered in all provinces where the business will be directed. The provincial incorporation will only be subject to activities in that chosen territory. Extra-provincial incorporation in Canada can be issued later on.

Federal company registration in Canada

As mentioned above, a Canadian company can be registered at a federal or provincial/territorial level. The most popular choice among local investors is federal incorporation with the Trade Register in Canada. This type of company formation procedure comes with several advantages, among which we mention the following:
  • simultaneous registration in other provinces;
  • lower incorporation costs;
  • a federal business number;
  • access to the federal corporate tax program account;
  • optional federal tax accounts registration.

The registration of a company with the Federal Trade Register is not different from that of a provincial registration, however, in terms of taxation and payment of the value added tax, the differences are important.

Our company registration advisors in Canada can offer detailed information on the main differences between federal and provincial or territorial business incorporation. Another aspect to consider related to the taxation of companies is that even if they register with the Canadian Revenue Agency, the value added tax bears different names in several provinces and territories. Also, in some of them, the value added tax, or better said, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is made of two different taxes.

For situations like these, you can rely on us for accounting services.

Searching a company with the Canadian Business Register

Investors who want to search for information on other companies in Canada should direct their attention to the Trade Register which holds the history of businesses with current activities, but also of those that have been liquidated and dissolved.

Those interested in doing business with a Canadian company can search the database of Corporations Canada. The information they can find is usually related to:
  • the date of incorporation of the company and its shareholding structure (in certain cases this information is not visible);
  • the legal address of the company and information about the managers or directors;
  • information about the financial situation of a corporation or partnership;
  • information about the number of employees can also be found with the Trade Register.

You can rely on us if you need company due diligence services in Canada. All our searches are performed with the federal and regional offices of the Corporations Directorate.

You can find out how to register a company with the Canadian Trade Register from the video below:


Why start a company in Canada?

According to the Business Development Bank (BDC), the Canadian economy is expected to register a slight increase in 2020. The real estate market is expected to generate important revenue for the economy.

According to the report:
  • the global economy slowed to 3% in 2019 which also triggered a slowdown in the Canadian one, which has reached 1.5%;
  • despite the modest increase, Canadian companies generated 360,000 jobs in the first 10 months of 2019;
  • the Canadian economy is expected to increase by 1.7% by the end of 2020;
  • British Columbia and Quebec are the regions expected to drive the highest economic growth in 2020;
  • the National Bank is expected to maintain the key interest rate at 1.75%.
For complete information about how to register a company in Canada with the Trade Register, and the conditions which need to be attentively measured, we invite you to contact our team of company formation representatives in Canada