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How to Get a Business License in Ontario

So you’re thinking about starting a business in Ontario – Great! Ontario is a great place to start a business. In fact, it’s one of the best places in Canada to create a new business.

With a population of over 14.5 million people and some of the highest personal incomes in Canada, there are lots of ways to make money here. But if you want to start a business in Ontario, you’ll have to start with a business license. In this piece, we’ll talk about all of the details on how to get a business license in Ontario.

What is a business license?

Quickbooks defines a business license as, “a document that allows the owner of a business to operate within the country, province, territory, or municipality that issues the license”. 

If you are caught operating a business without a license, the Canadian government not only has the right to fine you heavily but also has the right to shut your business down completely.

In Ontario, The first step to registering for a business license is to understand which type of license you’re registering for. There are three different types of Registration in Ontario. 

If you are the sole operator of your business and do not have any business partners, you will register your business as a sole proprietorship. If two or more individuals operate your business, you will register it as a General Partnership. And if your business operates under a corporation that already exists in Ontario, you will register under Tradenames

How you proceed will then depend upon which type of business you are registering.

Registering for a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership:

If you are registering for a sole proprietorship or partnership, the first step is choosing a name for your business. If you have a sole proprietorship and would like to use your own name for your business, you don’t need to register it. With that being said, any other business name does require Registration.

Once you have researched and decided on your name, you can then register it. To do so, you will need the name and address of your business, a description of your business, your name and home address, and your email address.

Once accepted, you will receive a Master Business Licence which you can use as proof of Registration. 

Registering for a Corporation:

If you are registering for a Corporation in Canada, the beginning stages are similar to registering for a sole proprietorship or partnership. You still have to choose and research your company name, but in addition to that, you must also provide a NUANS report (Name Search Report) with your application.

Furthermore, you must also complete an Articles of Incorporation, create a cover letter, and file an application that includes all of the above plus a fee. 

Where do I file for Business Registration? How much does it cost?

Again, this depends on which type of business you are registering. If you register for a sole proprietorship or partnership, you can register through ServiceOntario, through the Canada Revenue Agency, or through the Central Production and Verification Services Branch. 

If you register at Service Ontario, you’ll be charged a fee of $60. If you choose to register by mail or in person, you will be charged a fee of $80. 

If you are registering for a corporation, you can file by mail or in person at the Central Production and Verification Services Branch for a fee of $360. You can also file at any Land Registry Office. 

You can also register for your business license via a private sector provider, including Cyberbahn, OnCorp Direct Inc, or ESC Corporate Services LTD. Fees may vary depending on the chosen provider. 

How long will it take to receive my business license?

Whether you register for a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, or a corporation, you should expect to receive your business license within 20 business days. Your license will be mailed to you at the address given on your application. 

What will I receive with my Business License?

If you are performing a business name search, you will receive your search results and an Enhanced Business Names Report. Of course, you’ll also receive a receipt for your payment. 

Once your name and license have been accepted, you’ll receive a Profile Summary along with your Master Business License and receipt.

In conclusion, if you are opening a business in Canada, you will need to apply for a business license. The only exception to this rule is if you are the sole operator of your business and are opening it under your own name. Registering your business name is a simple and easy process but may require some research. Once you have your license, you only have to renew it every five years. 

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