How to Incorporate in Ontario? A Step-by-Step Guide!

Are you considering starting a business in Ontario? Congratulations! The province of Ontario, Canada, offers a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs, with its strong economy and vibrant business ecosystem. However, before you can start reaping the benefits, you need to go through the process of incorporating your business in the province. Incorporation is the legal process of forming a company and giving it a legal existence separate from its owners. If you are unsure about how to go about incorporating in Ontario, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of Ontario business setup, ensuring you have all the information you need to get started on the right foot. So let’s dive in and explore how to incorporate in Ontario!

The Benefits of Incorporating in Ontario

Incorporating a business in Ontario provides numerous advantages that can significantly benefit entrepreneurs and business owners. From safeguarding personal assets to ensuring continuous business operations, the benefits are substantial and varied.

1. Limited Liability

One of the most compelling reasons for incorporating a business in Ontario is the benefit of limited liability. Shareholders are not liable for the company’s debts, protecting their personal assets if the company goes bankrupt. This layer of protection is crucial for reducing personal financial risk and promoting business stability.

2. Tax Advantages

Another significant advantage from incorporating in Ontario is the tax benefits. Corporations enjoy lower tax rates compared to personal income taxes and can deduct a wider array of expenses, including travel and health insurance. This structure allows businesses to optimize their taxable earnings and enhance overall profitability. Canadian Controlled Private Companies (CCPCs) and their shareholders may also benefit from the small business deduction and lifetime capital gain exemption.

3. Credibility and Professionalism

Incorporating a business can instantly boost its credibility, making it easier to attract investments and expand operations. This level of professionalism helps build stronger relationships with partners, vendors, and customers, signifying that the business is serious and well-structured. Incorporation conveys a message of stability and reliability, essential for long-term success.

incorporating a business in Ontario

4. Easier Access to Capital

An incorporated business often finds it easier to raise capital, secure loans, and access various grant and loan programs specifically designed for corporations. Incorporations can issue shares to investors, providing an additional funding route beyond traditional banking loans. Businesses can also leverage better terms and larger funding amounts due to the perceived reduced risk by lenders and investors.

5. Perpetual Existence

A corporation in Ontario benefits from perpetual existence, meaning it continues to operate beyond the involvement or lifespan of its initial shareholders or managers. This ensures business continuity and stability, allowing for long-term planning and strategy implementation. The lasting nature of a corporation aids in safeguarding the business’s future, making it an appealing option for entrepreneurs planning long-term growth.

Steps to Incorporate a Business in Ontario

Understanding the essential steps to incorporate in Ontario is pivotal for setting up your business successfully. Below, we delineate the process clearly.

1. Choosing a Business Name

The first step in registering a business in Ontario involves selecting a unique and distinct business name. To ensure its availability, a NUANS search must be conducted. This search costs $39.95 plus tax, while a preliminary name search is priced at $15 plus tax. Choosing a distinctive and legally compliant name is crucial, incorporating a unique, descriptive, and proper legal ending name

steps to incorporate in Ontario

2. Filing the Articles of Incorporation

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in the process. You need to detail your company’s name, share structure, board of directors, and other essential details such as share transfer limitations. The Province of Ontario has streamlined this by transitioning to online or electronic filing, which replaced the manual filing process as of October 19, 2021. This step is mandatory and includes the completion of a name search and NUANS report.

3. Paying the Incorporation Fee

To complete the incorporation process, the incorporation fee, which is $360.00, must be paid. This fee applies to both named and numbered corporations. The payment can be processed either online or by mail, ensuring flexibility for business owners. Additionally, for a named corporation, the NUANS report fee is $24.99, with an extra $20.00 for the preliminary search.

4. Receiving the Certificate of Incorporation

Once the required documents have been filed and the fees paid, the final step is receiving the Certificate of Incorporation. This official document signifies the legal recognition of your corporate entity. The entire process, when done online, can be completed within a few minutes, with results emailed the same day, ensuring a swift and efficient registration.

Service Cost Details
Preliminary Name Search $15 + tax Check the availability of the corporate name
NUANS Search $39.95 + tax Mandatory for incorporating a business
NUANS Report Fee $24.99 For named corporations
Preliminary Search for Named Corporations $20.00 Additional check for name availability
Incorporation Fee $360.00 Applicable to both named and numbered corporations
Corporate Registered Address Service $249.00 + tax Plus account activation fee of $35.00
Corporate Minute Book (Legacy or Attaché Kit) $199.00 + shipping & tax Annual fee, important for corporate records

By carefully following these steps to incorporate in Ontario, including choosing a unique business name, filing the required Articles of Incorporation, and paying the necessary fees, you can smoothly navigate the process of registering a business in Ontario, culminating in the receipt of your Certificate of Incorporation.

How to Incorporate in Ontario?

Incorporating a business in Ontario involves several crucial steps. This guide aims to provide detailed instructions on each step, ensuring a seamless Ontario business registration process.

Step 1: Conduct a NUANS Name Search

The first step in incorporating a business in Ontario is to conduct a NUANS name search. This search helps ensure that the business name you choose is unique and not already in use by another entity. A NUANS name search is essential to avoid conflicts and secure a legally acceptable name for your corporation.

NUANS name search

Step 2: Prepare Articles of Incorporation

After securing a name through the NUANS name search, the next step is to prepare the Articles of Incorporation Ontario. This document outlines key details about your corporation, such as its name, the names of directors, the share structure, and other necessary provisions to comply with legal requirements.

Step 3: Submit Incorporation Documents

Once the Articles of Incorporation Ontario are prepared, you need to submit all required documents to the appropriate authorities. The Ontario business registration process can be completed online, by mail, or in person. The costs to file the incorporation materials typically range from $300 to $360.

Step 4: Register for Taxes

The final step in incorporating your business is to register for the applicable taxes. This step ensures your corporation complies with all financial regulations and is eligible for any tax benefits. Registering for taxes is crucial to maintaining legal compliance and optimizing the financial operations of your business.

Step Description Cost
NUANS Name Search Securing a unique business name $30
Prepare Articles of Incorporation Document with key corporate details Included in filing costs
Submit Incorporation Documents Filing with authorities $300 – $360
Register for Taxes Ensuring compliance with tax regulations Varies

Legal Considerations and Requirements

Incorporating a business in Ontario involves meeting various legal responsibilities and requirements. Adherence to Ontario business laws and legal requirements Ontario business is essential for compliance and maintaining the corporation’s standing.

legal requirements Ontario business

1. Maintaining Corporate Records

Ontario corporation registration mandates the maintenance of comprehensive corporate records. This includes an updated minute book and a thorough shareholder registry. These records are crucial for ensuring that the corporation’s operations are transparent and comply with Ontario business laws. Proper documentation reflects the corporation’s decisions, activities, and financial health.

2. Annual Returns and Reporting

Filing annual returns is a legal requirement Ontario business owners must adhere to. According to Section 2 of the Corporations Information Act, corporations must file an initial return within 60 days post-incorporation. Furthermore, Ontario’s OBCA corporations are obliged to submit a Schedule 546 Corporations Information Act Annual Return via the Ontario Business Registry. It’s vital to document any changes in directors, officers, and other essential information. Non-compliance can result in legal implications, potentially jeopardizing the corporation’s legal status.

3. Shareholder Agreements

For corporations with multiple shareholders, having a comprehensive shareholder agreement is fundamental. This agreement details the rights and responsibilities of each shareholder and governs the corporation’s management framework. Well-documented shareholder agreements are vital for mitigating disputes and ensuring legal harmony among shareholders. Ontario business laws emphasize the importance of clear, legally compliant agreements for all shareholders.

Cost and Duration of Incorporation

When considering the incorporation of a business in Ontario, understanding both the costs involved and the duration of the process is crucial. The cost to incorporate in Ontario depends on the method of filing, with online submissions typically being more efficient. Similarly, the duration varies depending on the incorporation service selected, making it essential to weigh these factors carefully.

1. Incorporation Fees in Ontario

The cost to incorporate in Ontario via the Ontario Business Registry system is $300 for immediate online service. While mail and email submissions also charge $300 in fees, the processing times are longer, taking 15 business days and 7 business days, respectively. For Not-for-Profit Corporations, the fees are $155, with a 5 business days turnaround for online submissions and 15 business days for mail submissions.

Incorporation Type Fee (CAD) Online Processing Time Mail Processing Time
Business Corporations $300 Immediate 15 business days
Not-for-Profit Corporations $155 5 business days 15 business days
Extra-Provincial Licence $330 5 business days 10 business days
Sole Proprietorship/Partnership $60 Immediate 15 business days

Additionally, incorporating a Co-operative under the Co-operative Corporations Act involves a longer processing time of 35 business days at a cost of $335 for mail submissions. For entrepreneurs planning to incorporate in Ontario, it is vital to factor in these costs and processing durations to better manage expectations and planning.

2. Timeline for Incorporation Process

The timeline for incorporation in Ontario varies significantly based on the submission method. Online applications for a Business Corporation are processed immediately, while email submissions take 7 business days and mail submissions take 15 business days. The efficient processing of online submissions makes them an attractive option for those needing faster registration. For Not-for-Profit Corporations, the online processing time is 5 business days, providing a quicker turnaround than mail submissions.

Extra-Provincial Corporations licensing online takes 5 business days, whereas mail submissions are completed within 10 business days. Sole proprietorship or partnership registrations under the Business Names Act are processed immediately online, with mail submissions taking 15 business days.

Incorporating in Ontario has varied timelines and associated costs, and understanding these details helps businesses navigate the process more effectively. Whether opting for provincial or federal incorporation, it is essential to consider all variables to make an informed decision.


Incorporating a business in Ontario is a pivotal decision offering substantial benefits including limited liability, tax advantages, and enhanced credibility. This legal process ensures that your business operates as a separate entity, thereby protecting personal assets and making the business more attractive to investors and clients. In return, business owners enjoy the myriad perks that come with the incorporation, such as easier access to capital and a stable, perpetual existence.

Understanding how to incorporate in Ontario involves navigating several steps and adhering to specific legal requirements. The process is facilitated by service providers like ecore by Dye & Durham Corporation and ESC Corporate Services Ltd., making it efficient and straightforward. Online incorporation through the Ontario Business Registry can be completed in a few hours, whereas mail incorporation may take up to 15 business days. Furthermore, paying the incorporation fee of $300 and filing the Initial Notice within 60 days are crucial to avoid potential cancellations for non-compliance.

To achieve success in business incorporation, it is advisable to consult legal experts to effectively manage the intricacies involved. Post-incorporation, timely filing of annual returns within six months of your fiscal year-end is mandatory. With these actions completed, you not only solidify your business’s standing but also pave the way for potential growth and sustainability. By establishing a strong legal foundation, your entrepreneurial journey in Ontario is set for a successful trajectory.


1. What are the steps to incorporate in Ontario?

The steps to incorporate in Ontario include choosing a unique business name, conducting a NUANS Name Search, preparing the Articles of Incorporation, submitting incorporation documents online, paying the required incorporation fee, and registering for applicable taxes. Successful completion of these steps results in receiving a Certificate of Incorporation.

2. What are the benefits of incorporating a business in Ontario?

Incorporating a business in Ontario offers several benefits, including limited liability protection, potential tax advantages, enhanced credibility and professionalism, easier access to capital, and perpetual existence. These benefits make incorporation an attractive option for business owners.

3. How much does it cost to incorporate in Ontario?

The cost to incorporate in Ontario ranges from $300 to $360 for online filings. This can be more or less than the cost of federal incorporation, which is typically around $200 CAD. Additional costs may include NUANS Name Search fees and other related expenses.

4. What is a NUANS Name Search, and why is it important?

A NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) Name Search is a mandatory step in the incorporation process that checks the availability of the proposed business name. It ensures that the name is unique and not already in use, helping to avoid legal issues and confusion with other businesses.

5. What information is required in the Articles of Incorporation?

The Articles of Incorporation must include crucial information such as the corporation’s name, share structure, the number of directors, any restrictions on the business operations or share transfers, and the initial registered office address. It serves as the legal foundation of the corporation.

6. How long does the incorporation process take in Ontario?

The duration of the incorporation process in Ontario can vary. However, filing online through the Online Filing Centre often expedites the process, enabling business owners to receive their Certificate of Incorporation relatively quickly, typically within a few days.

7. What are the ongoing legal responsibilities after incorporating in Ontario?

Incorporating in Ontario comes with ongoing legal responsibilities such as maintaining an up-to-date minute book, keeping accurate shareholder records, filing annual returns, and complying with corporate governance rules. This ensures the corporation remains in good standing.

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