If you want to start a Corporation of any kind in Canada, you’ll need to obtain a copy of your Articles of Incorporation. You may also hear these referred to as “Articles of Association”, “Corporate Charters” or “Certificates of Incorporation”. Let’s talk more about Articles of Incorporation, answering some commonly asked questions and informing you on where to obtain yours.
What are Articles of Incorporation?
Articles of Incorporation are legal documents that establish a corporation or business within Canada. They are submitted to the Territorial, Provincial, or Federal Government and are important because they inform the Government about the critical aspects of your business.
Articles of Incorporation also help to protect you if your Corporation should ever go into debt, as they help to establish your business as a separate entity from you as a person.
When you file for Provincial Incorporation, you are filing to operate your business within that specific jurisdiction. In such a case, the name of your business is also only protected in that province or territory.
When you file for Federal Incorporation, you are filing to operate your business anywhere in Canada. In this case, your business name will also be protected nationally.
What is included within Articles of Incorporation?
Articles of Incorporation contain a variety of information about your business. Depending on what type of business you are operating, the exact information included within your article can differ.
Articles of Incorporation will generally include the legal name of the Corporation, the address of the Corporation, the number of directors within the Corporation, and information about these directors.
Articles of Incorporation also include any restrictions placed on business activities, information about shares, and any relevant information about voting requirements. Signatures of all directors will also be required.
Why do people file for Articles of Incorporation?
In most provinces in Canada, there are two different options when opening a business. You can register as a small business, or you can register as a corporation.
If you choose to register as a small business, you will not need to file for articles of incorporation. If you choose to register as a corporation, you will need to file for an Articles of Incorporation but will also receive all of the benefits that come along with owning a corporation.
Firstly, operating as a corporation separates you from your business. In the event of loss, you don’t take on any of the liability personally. Secondly, filing as a corporation allows you to protect your name.
Once you register your business name, no one else within your jurisdiction can use that exact name. If you file federally, no one can use your name anywhere in Canada. And finally, filing as a corporation can save you money on taxes – a significant benefit for business owners.
Where can I obtain forms for Articles of Incorporation?
Where you will obtain your forms depends on which type of Articles you are filing for. If you are filing for Provincial Incorporation, you can get forms from your Provincial Registrar. If you are filing for a Federal Incorporation, you can obtain forms from Corporations Canada.
How can I obtain a copy of my Articles of Incorporation in Ontario?
If you live in Ontario and would like to obtain a copy of your Articles of Incorporation, you must submit a manual request. You can do so at the Provincial Office, located in Toronto at 393 University Avenue.
Articles can take anywhere from 3-10 days in turnaround time to process. Documents can be mailed to you, emailed to you, or both.