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Registering a Business in Manitoba, Canada

By Michelle Collins |

The process of registering a business varies from province to province. Here's an overview of how you would register a business in Manitoba, based on information available in April 2007.

This article was updated January 18, 2016.

STEP 1: SELECTING THE TYPE OF BUSINESS

The first step is to identify what type of business you want to operate, and the type of identity (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation) that will meet your needs. A lawyer or accountant should be consulted if you are not sure which type of business best meets your needs.

STEP 2: REGISTERING YOUR BUSINESS

A Two-Step Process

Manitoba has taken a unique approach to business registration. For unicorporated companies, you don't register the business - as you would in many other provinces - you register the business name. Only businesses that are run under the sole proprietor's name, e.g. John Smith Roofing, do not have to register their business name.

All businesses - sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations - must complete the first step in the process, the reservation of a business name. The second step is different for corporations, who file articles of incorporation, then it is for sole proprietorship and partnerships.

Step One: Reserving a name

Before you can register your business name, you must first submit a Request for Name Reservation form to determine if the name is available for use. The Request for Name Reservation filing fee will cost you $45.00 (as of January 2016). The Request for Name Reservation can be filed online. You can use this link to get started: https://direct.gov.mb.ca/coohtml/html/internet/en/coo.html

The name you select must have a distinctive element (such as a coined name, location, or personal name), a descriptive element (such as the type of services offered) and if it will be a corporation it must end with a legal element (such as Inc., Ltd. or Corp.). For example, Zoobilee Pet Shop, where Zoobilee is a distinctive, invented name and Pet Shop is the descriptive element, would be a valid name as long as it was not objectionable.

Be sure to review the province's name reservation guidelines carefully, as there are a few specific restrictions. For example, the word Manitoba can be used in a business name, but not as the first word of the name. Meanwhile names containing the words Golden Boy - the Golden Boy on Manitoba's legislature is recognized symbol of Manitoba's achievements and proud heritage - are considered objectionable and will be rejected. The link above breaks it down pretty clearly.

If the name is already in use or reserved, you will have to go through the process and pay the fees again. To save yourself this time and money you should carefully review the criteria for name selection and then check provincial business directories, online phone directories (e.g. Canada411.com) or the list of registered names at the province's Company Office for similar names.

If the name that you've chosen is available it will be reserved for a 90 day period. From there you can move onto the second step of either registering or incorporating your business.

Step Two: Registering your business

Once you have reserved a name for your business you can then move onto the next phase. If you plan on operating as a sole proprietor or a limited partnership then you will need to complete and file the Registration of A Business Name form. This form is to be sent to the Companies Office along with the $60.00 fee. You can get the Registration of a Business form here: (http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/forms/bnr_e.pdf).

The guidelines for completing the Registration of a Business Name form require you to complete your forms using ink, or typed. They do not accept double-sided forms for faxed copies of the form, so you will need to send this form directly to the Companies Office.

The content of the forms basically are looking for you to provide some information, including the business name, the contact person, the address of the business, the start date of the business, the type of business, as well as your business number (if applicable), and registrant information.

This link breaks down the instructions for registering a business name:

http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/instruction_sheets/business_registration_e.pdf

For a corporation, once you have your name reserved you will have to file the Articles of Incorporation and pay the $350 fee to the Companies Office. When these are received you will be assigned a number to the corporation. To print out a copy of the Articles of Incorporation form g here: (http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/forms/artincsh.pdf).

You will also need to file what is known as a Request for Service if you wish to incorporate. There is no fee for this form. However, it must be submitted with your Articles of Incorporation to complete the process. A copy of the form can be found here: (http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/forms/requests.pdf).

STEP 3: FEES

 

Name Reservation $45
Registration of Business Name  
  Partnership $60
  Sole Proprietorship $60
Power of Attorney $40
Incorporation $350
Non-Profit Incorporation $120

FINAL STEP: MORE INFORMATION

You can find a more expanded list of forms and instructions related to this topic on the government website.

Another option is to contact the Companies Office at:
1010-405 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3L6
Phone: 204-945-2500
Toll-free: 1-888-246-8353
Email: companies@gov.mb.ca

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