Starting a Business in Canada

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Aug 22, 2011 - 2 minute read - Comments - legal

Registering a Business Name in Alberta

It’s important to note the difference between a business name and the name of a corporation. A corporation is a distinct legal entity that will have a legal element such as Ltd., Inc. or Corp in its name. A business name is used by a sole proprietorship or a partnership as the name under which it is “doing business as”. Sole proprietorships and partnerships are not separate legal entities from their owners.

While there is no restriction on two sole proprietorships or partnerships having the same name, no two Alberta corporations can have the same name. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) are treated differently from regular partnerships as no two LLPs can have the same name in Alberta.

If you are doing business under a name other than your own personal name, you should register that name with the Provincial Government. This will be required by the bank before you can open a bank account. They will not let you deposit cheques made out to the business’s name otherwise.

The process of naming a business can be quite important as it will have long-term implications for your marketing and branding. There are also legal considerations that must be taken into account. If your business’s name is too close to that of an existing business or a trade-mark, you could wind up defending your choice of business name in court.

It’s best to avoid all of this by conducting a name search and by making sure that your business name is as unique as possible. A sole proprietor would register a trade name for his or her business. A partnership would register itself and its business name.

The Alberta Government has contracted out the business name registration process to a number of authorized service providers . Any authorized service provider will be able to provide basic business name registration services. Registering a business name is one of the steps of starting a business in Alberta. It’s a rather simple process that sole proprietors can do for themselves. Those of you who are registering a partnership or a corporation might want to have your lawyer handle the process for you in addition to drafting a partnership agreement or articles of incorporation.