Ontario Business Name Search

The first step in registering your business in Ontario is to pick a name, and then do a business name search (NUANS Preliminary Search) to see if the name is available.

  • We perform searches within 2 business hours of receiving your order and sometimes after business hours
  • We will email the results to you when we complete the search
  • We keep all of your information strictly confidential, as required under PIPEDA.

Already done a pre-search?

Questions? Call us

(416) 239-1361

11am – 8pm, Monday to Saturday


You may register a business in Ontario under the Ontario Business Names Act, for:

  • Sole Proprietorship, or a
  • Partnership.

There are two types of partnerships, under the Partnerships Act:

  • A General Partnership, and
  • A Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)

The steps to register a business in Ontario are:

  1. Pick a business name.
  2. Do a business name search to see if the name is available.
  3. Decide whether you want to register as a:
    • Sole Proprietorship,
    • Partnership, or as
    • Corporation.
  4. Register the business.

If you want to register the business as a Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership, then click: Service Ontario’s Integrated Business Services Application to Register or renew your business name, get a Master Business Licence and, if eligible, apply for additional accounts with different government bodies.

Ontario does not permit you to register a Limited Liability Company (LLC) as an Ontario entity. You may only register an Extra Provincial Limited Liability Company that is an entity in another jurisdiction.

To register a business you will need:

  • A printer to print the Receipt, Summary Registration, Profile Summary, and the Master Business Licence.
  • A valid credit card (VISA, MasterCard, or American Express) to pay the Business Name Registration fee is $60
  • The cost to pay the Business Name renewal fee is $60. All business registrations in Ontario expire after 5 years and you only have a 6-month grace period to renew your business after the 5th anniversary of your business registration.
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NUANS Search Ontario


Corporation Name

Please enter your proposed corporate name. The name should be 4 words or less. Banks only include the first 40 characters of your company name on your profile.

Business Activity?

Select up to 4 business activities for more focused search results.

SKU: nuans-search-ontario Category:

To search for a business name, you will need either:

  • A comprehensive Canada-wide preliminary Nuans search for the distinctive keywords in your proposed business name search for $20. (Quebec business names are not included); or
  • An Ontario only Enhanced Business Name Search (the Ontario government fee for this search is $8 at 375 University Ave, Toronto). The Ontario government search report does not include incorporated names of Ontario Corporations nor business names registered in other provinces.

The Ontario Enhanced Business Name Search allows you to search for a business name registered with the Ontario Ministry of Government Services. Searches can be done on exact business names, words in a business name or by the Ontario Business Identification Number. The Enhanced Business Name Search will only search and produce reports for the following ownership types: Sole Proprietor, General Partnership, Business Name – Corporation (Trade/Style Name), Limited Partnership, Partnership Business Name, Ontario Limited Liability Partnership, Extra Provincial Limited Liability Partnership and Extra Provincial Limited Liability Company.

You will be charged a fee for each search that you do. As part of the search you will be able to select one of four reports containing information about the business name you searched for. If the report you selected cannot be generated based on the data in our database then a report substitution will occur. See the chart below for report costs and possible report substitutions.

Report Name
Report Fee (Pre-Authorize amount)
Possible Substitution
Substituted Report Fee
Detailed Business Names Report
Statement of No Match Found
Certified Detailed Business Names Report
Statement of No Match Found
Statement of No Match Found
Detailed Business Names Report
Certificate of Non-Registration
Detailed Business Names Report

Business Name Registration Information

  • If your business is commencing after June 30, 2010, RST is no longer applicable and you will need to contact CRA to register your business for the HST. Visit the CRA website or call 1 800-959-5525 for more information regarding the HST.
  • The Master Business Licence or the Enhanced Business Name Search Report is a PDF file that can be printed or saved to a personal computer.
  • You can pay online by credit card.
  • There is a money-back service guarantee attached to new business name registrations.
  • You can register your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Order a Nuans business name search from us at any time. Our response time is usually within 2 to 4 business hours.
  • To apply for CRA programs including Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), payroll deductions, corporate income tax and import/export accounts visit CRA Business Registration Online.

Business Partnerships

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which limited partners have limited liability. It exhibits elements of both partnerships and corporations. In an LLP, a limited partner is not responsible or liable for another partner’s misconduct or negligence.

In Ontario, the Partnerships Act permits certain professionals to practice in a limited liability partnership if they meet the following criteria:

  • the Act governing the profession expressly permits a limited liability partnership to practice the profession;
  • the governing body of the profession requires the partnership to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance; and
  • the partnership registers its name under the Business Names Act.


The phrase “doing business as” (abbreviated DBA, dba or d/b/a) is a legal term used in the United States and sometimes in Canada, meaning that the trade name, or fictitious business name, under which the business or operation is conducted and presented to the world is not the legal name of the legal person (or persons) who actually own it and are responsible for it. In Canada, the expressions operating as (abbreviated o/a) or trading as (abbreviated T/A) are more common.

In Ontario, businesses are often registered as a numbered corporation, such as “1168087 Ontario Inc.” and then the business may operate as “Skin Care Spa” if it also registers “Skin Care Spa” as a trade style, which must be renewed with the Ontario government every five years. Entrepreneurs do this for a number of reasons, such as:

  • The business will operate multiple lines of businesses, each with a different name
  • The desired name might not have been registrable,
  • The business operates as a franchisee, or
  • The business wants flexibility in changing its operating name.

Note, all legally binding transactions taking place on behalf of the actual corporation’s name and not the operating as name.

The distinction between an actual and a “fictitious” name is important because businesses with “fictitious” names give no obvious indication of the entity that is legally responsible for their operation.

In Ontario, Canada, when a businessperson writes a trade name on a contract, invoice, or check, he or she must also write the legal name of the business. Ontario mandates this requirement with its Business Names Act.

Business Names Act

Registering name

2. (1) No corporation shall carry on business or identify itself to the public under a name other than its corporate name unless the name is registered by that corporation.
R.S.O. 1990, c. B.17, s. 2 (1).

Name to be set out

(6) A corporation and such other persons as are prescribed carrying on business under a registered name or, in the case of a corporation, identifying itself to the public under a registered name, shall set out both the registered name and the person’s name in all contracts, invoices, negotiable instruments and orders involving goods or services issued or made by the person. R.S.O. 1990, c. B.17, s. 2 (6).


In Canada, a person wishing to register a limited company must incorporate in a Province, or Federally, by filing Articles of Incorporation with either their provincial government or the federal government.

All for-profit corporation names must have a single legal ending, selected from one of the following endings:













Numbered Companies and Trade Styles

Often people will incorporate a business with a numbered name, such as “1908087 Ontario Inc.” or “7935978 CANADA INC.” and then register a trade style as their operating name or DBA, such as “Joe’s Pizza,” which is only a division of the corporation. A trade style is not a separate corporation and you cannot then just add a legal ending to it, such as “Joe’s Pizza Inc.,” according to Ontario’s Business Corporations Act:

Unauthorized use of “Limited”, etc.

11. (1) No person, while not incorporated, shall trade or carry on a business or undertaking under a name in which “Limited”, “Incorporated” or “Corporation” or any abbreviation thereof, or any version thereof in another language, is used. R.S.O. 1990, c. B.16, s. 11 (1).

(2) Where a corporation carries on business or identifies itself to the public by a name or style other than as provided in the articles, that name or style shall not include the word “Limited”, “Incorporated” or “Corporation” or any abbreviation thereof or any version thereof in another language. R.S.O. 1990, c. B.16, s. 11 (2).

Business Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER B.16

Corporate Names

It is usually better to order a full NUANS® Corporate Name Search before incorporating, such as “Pizza Pizza Limited” did when the famous chain started their new corporation in 1976 (PIZZA PIZZA LIMITED ON-0000330523 1976Fe10.)