Naming a corporation – How to obtain a name

How to obtain a name

You can propose a name for your federal corporation when incorporating, amalgamating or continuing (import). You can also change your federal corporation’s name by amending your corporation’s articles.

Corporations Canada reviews proposed names to confirm that they comply with the regulations. The proposed name will become the legal name of the corporation when Corporations Canada issues the certificate of incorporation, amalgamation, continuance or amendment.

Note

To improve readability on the rest of this page, we only refer to the incorporation process. However, the information also applies to amalgamation and continuance (import), and amendment of the articles to change the name.

On this page

Obtaining a numbered name

If you want a numbered name, indicate this in your incorporation application and a numbered name will be assigned to you. If you are a business corporation, include a legal element. If you are a not-for-profit corporation, include a prescribed term.

Note that if you are creating a cooperative, you cannot request a numbered name.

If you want a numbered name, the rest of the information on this page does not apply to you.

Obtaining corporate name pre-approval

You can apply for a word name before you incorporate (it’s called pre-approval of a corporate name). Obtaining pre-approval is optional but it ensures that the name will be available when you incorporate.

Corporate name pre-approval is only valid for 90 days from the date on the Nuans name search report, not the date of the pre-approval.

It can be useful to obtain pre approval before purchasing a domain name or embarking on a marketing campaign, for example.

Obtaining a word name

If you want a word name, you will be asked to include with your application for incorporation:

  1. The proposed name that meets the naming requirements
  2. The reservation number of a Nuans name search report (two Nuans name search reports are required if you are proposing a separate English version and French version)
  3. Additional information on the proposed corporate name
  4. Supporting documents such as a consent letter, if necessary (see Cases when a confusing name can be approved with a consent letter and Name and family names).

Nuans name search report

A Nuans name search report provides a list of existing corporate names, business names and trademarks that are similar to the one being proposed. Corporations Canada reviews the report to assess the availability of the name. The report is valid for only 90 days.

Note

Obtaining a Nuans name search report does not mean that your name is pre-approved by Corporations Canada.

Make sure you select “federal” when ordering your report. The fact that you receive a Nuans report does not guarantee that your proposed name will be approved by Corporations Canada.

Quebec business names are not included in Nuans reports. Corporations that plan to do business in Quebec should also search the Quebec Government’s Enterprise Register to ensure that the proposed name is not similar to Quebec businesses; the results of the search are not required to be sent to Corporations Canada.

Additional information on the proposed corporate name

It is to your advantage to provide more information because this could reduce the back-and-forth between you and Corporations Canada. Your information will only be used to make a decision on the proposed name.

When you fill in your application online, you will be asked to provide additional information on your proposed name, that is to say:

Supporting documents

If you find that there are similarities between your proposed corporate name and the names on your Nuans name search report, you will have to attach a letter explaining why the use of the proposed name would not cause confusion with an existing name or trademark (see Confusion with other names or trademarks).

You could also have to attach a consent letter when your corporate name includes a family name. There are also other cases where a consent letter may be required.

Obtaining corporate name pre-approval

Business and not-for-profit corporations can obtain prior approval of their corporate name (see Pre-approval of corporate names). Obtaining pre-approval is optional but it ensures that the name will be available when you incorporate.

Corporations Canada will review your proposed name to confirm that it complies with the regulations before you file an application for incorporation. The proposed name will become the legal name of your corporation only when Corporations Canada has issued the certificate of incorporation.

There is no fee for obtaining a pre-approval of a corporate name.

Corporate name pre-approval is only valid for 90 days from the date on the Nuans name search report, not the date of the pre-approval.

It can be useful to obtain pre-approval before purchasing a domain name or embarking on a marketing campaign, for example.

Date modified: