On this page, we provide a general overview about incorporating a business in the province of Ontario, Canada. We describe three ways to incorporate your business as an Ontario Corporation.
In Canada, Federal Corporations are governed by the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA). Meanwhile, Corporations that are incorporated as Ontario provincial Corporations are governed by the Ontario Business Corporations Act. To find out more about the differences between a Federal Corporation and a Provincial Corporation such as an Ontario Corporation, please read our general Incorporation article.
Ontario Incorporation Fees
As you will see below, to incorporate a Corporation in Ontario, you must file a number of documents, but you must also pay an incorporation fee. Currently, this fee is of:
- $300 – For Electronic Incorporation (incorporating through Service Providers under contract with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services of Ontario – some are recommended below);
- $360 – For Incorporation by Mail or in Person Over-the-Counter.
Now let’s take a look at the 3 ways you can incorporate your business in Ontario; proceed with the incorporation by yourself by mail or in person, use a Service Provider, or more precisely, an online incorporation service, or use a corporate lawyer.
How to Incorporate a Business in Ontario by Yourself
To incorporate your business yourself in Ontario, whether it be over-the-counter, or by mail, you will need to submit the following:
- Articles of Incorporation – you will need to fill out two copies of a form – Form 1. Both copies must bear your signature. The form can be downloaded HERE;
- Ontario-biased NUANS – a Nuans search provides a report which compares your proposed name for your Corporation to-be with the names of existing corporations and trademarks, and highlights similarities which could be the cause of confusion between existing names and your proposed name. An Ontario-biased Nuans is not required if you want a number company. Visit the Nuans website;
- $360 Fee – you must make out a cheque of $360 payable to the Minister of Finance;
- A Cover Letter – the Cover Letter must provide a contact name, a return address and a phone number. If you wish that the incorporation be processed at a future date (up to 30 days), you must include it in the covering letter as well;
- Any support documents – any other documents that can be required (e.g. a legal opinion). You must also draft a Consent to Act as First Director, but it does not need to be filed.
How to Incorporate Online in Ontario with Incorporation Services
If you are not comfortable incorporating your Ontario Corporation by yourself, do not want to pay the higher fees associated with hiring a corporate or start-up lawyer, and if your future corporation’s structure won’t be too complex, another option you can consider is using the service of an online incorporation company or a Service Provider.
An online incorporation service usually provides an order form on their website, where they make you go through a questionnaire where they ask you simple question about your Ontario Corporation to be. You must pay the Government fees as well as Service fees to the online incorporation company.
Online incorporation services are a hybrid of a do-it-yourself service and a professional service. The people behind the incorporation service usually have experience filing corporate documents and should be able to identify and correct with you any problems with the information you provide. Moreover, incorporation services also offer other services and product you may need, such as organizational minutes and resolutions, minute books, share certificates, tax accounts registration and more.
Here are two online incorporation services that offer incorporation of an Ontario company:
Incorporating a Business in Ontario through a Corporate Lawyer
Perhaps, the safest choice of the three is to use a corporate lawyer or a start-up lawyer to incorporate your Ontario business for you. A professional attorney will not only ensure that incorporation filings are done properly, he or she will also be able to use his or her expertise to advise you with the different aspects of setting up a business. For instance, a lawyer will be able to guide in your choice of incorporating a Federal or Ontario Corporation.
The drawback is the added cost that comes with using a lawyer. Depending on the complexity of the Corporation to be created, the fees can run up in the thousands. That said, in the long run, in some cases, it might cost you more doing it yourself and dealing with the fallouts in the future, than dishing out the big bucks now, but have a business legally sound.
To find a lawyer in Ontario to incorporate your corporation, you can visit The Law Society of Upper Canada website which offers a directory of lawyers and a referral service among other resources.