How to Register a Business in Newfoundland & Labrador
By Melissa Kotton | June 30, 2001
This article was updated on January 18, 2016.
Think back to the time when your small business idea first flashed before your eyes – that precise moment when you experienced that thrilling 'A-ha'! You probably couldn't wait to dig your heels in and get to work. Your path was clearly mapped out before you. No detours. No roadblocks – just 'full steam ahead'. Then bureaucracy reared its ugly head, and before you knew it, you were so swamped with the complexities of registration and mandatory fees that the original idea seemed like a distant dream.
Well, if you're one of those entrepreneurs who long for a simpler life, there is still a place where you can start your own partnership or sole proprietorship without having to cut through red tape.
According to Agnes Hogan, a Communications Officer for Government Services and Lands in Newfoundland, there is no legislation at this time in Newfoundland governing the registration of business names, sole proprietorships or partnerships. That means you can open your sole proprietorship or partnership business in Newfoundland without registering a name and, most importantly, without shelling out a dime. Why? Perhaps to foster economic growth and to give new and expanding companies a competitive edge, to paraphrase a message from Beaton Tulk, Minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development.
You can use the Companies and Deeds On-line (CADO) to perform basic searches of the Registry of Companies no cost. You may also do the following according to CNLBSC website:
- file Articles of Incorporation
- file an Annual Return
- file a Notice of Directors
- file a Notice of Registered Office
- request a Name Reservation
- file a Notice of Registered Office in NL
- obtain a Certificate of Good Standing
- pay on-line, where applicable, via Visa or MasterCard through a secure payment system.
There is one rule, however, that these types of businesses have to follow. Sole proprietorships and partnerships are not permitted to use the words 'incorporated', 'corporation'; 'limited' or the abbreviation of any of these words in their names.
All Corporations must be registered in Newfound and Labrador with the Registry of Companies.
If you wish to incorporate or register a limited liability corporation in Newfoundland, there are a number of legal and administrative issues to consider. For further information, go to http://www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/registries/companies.html or contact the Registry of Companies (see address at the end of this article). All forms and information are available at the Web site, and you can also read more about the Corporations Act; the Limited Partnership Act and compulsory fees. Because the process of registering a limited liability or corporation is relatively complex, consulting with a lawyer before registering is always recommended.
To Incorporate, you must first get approval for your business name. This link outlines the guidelines for the Newfoundland Name Approval Policy
If you need to obtain a specific permit, for example, if you need an electrical permit or a food license, application forms can be obtained from Regional Offices around Newfoundland. These Regional Offices will also be able to provide information on all legislation and regulations. See the list of government service centres in Newfoundland listed below for further information.
Registry of CompaniesCommercial Registrations Division
Ground Floor, East Block
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NF.