Registering a business in BC is relatively straightforward, but first you need to decide if your company structure will be a proprietorship, partnership or corporation.
Once you’ve settled on a company structure, the first step of registering your business is name reservation. You can apply for up to three names on one application, and you should thoroughly research your name choices before submitting your application. Research your name choices at www.bcregistrynames.gov.bc.ca/nro.
Once you have researched your name choices you can submit the name reservation application by proceeding to Step 3 on www.bcregistrynames.gov.bc.ca/nro. Alternatively, you can print the name request application form and submit it through the Small Business BC office or mail it directly to the Corporate Registry with payment.
- You can submit the form online for a fee of $31.58 payable by MasterCard or Visa.
- You can submit the form though the Small Business BC office for a fee of $50 +GST payable by cash, debit, MasterCard or Visa.
- You can mail the form directly to the Corporate Registry for a fee of $30 payable by cheque or money order.
The processing time varies depending on how you submit your application. If you submit it online or in-person, processing time is approx. 5–8 business days, and if you are mailing the application it usually takes an additional week.
Once your business name has been processed and approved, you can file the business registration application.
To register a proprietorship or partnership in BC:
- You can submit the registration online at www.bcbusinessregistry.ca for a fee of $40. Processing time will take approximately 15 minutes.
- You can submit your registration in-person at Small Business BC with the assistance of a business officer for a fee of $99 +GST. Processing time will is the same as when submitting on your own online, but you’ll also get a one-on-one consultation with a business officer.
- You can submit a paper copy of registration form by mail directly to the Corporate Registry for a fee of $40. Processing time will take approximately 2 weeks.
To register a provincial corporation in BC:
- You must submit the application online at www.corporateonline.gov.bc.ca for a fee of $351.58. Processing time is instant, but paper copies of your incorporation certificate and original application will be mailed to you.
- If you do not wish to submit the application online, you will then need to contact a lawyer to do it for you.
Once you have successfully registered your company you may now apply for any additional licenses and permits your business requires, such as a business license, a business number, or PST and GST. Visit www.bcbizpal.ca for a detailed listing.