Government oversight is part of what you sign up for when you decide to start certain types of business in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Some businesses demand more oversight than others. One of the more common types of oversight in the province is the requirement to register with the Newfoundland & Labrador government.
Registering can give your business legitimacy in the eyes of the provincial government and with private business partners, ensuring you qualify for certain benefits.
We’ve put together a list of tips and steps to help you register a business in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Do I Have to Register My Business in Newfoundland & Labrador?
Businesses in Newfoundland & Labrador must register when they are using a brand name for the business other than the owner’s name or the owners’ names. This frequently applies to a corporation.
Typically, a sole proprietorship or a general partnership would be the only types of businesses in Newfoundland & Labrador that would operate under the name of the owner or owners.
If you set up a corporation in the province under an operational brand name, you would need to register with the government. This is the most common legal business structure that registers in NL. The Registry of Companies in Newfoundland & Labrador also handles registrations for limited partnerships, condominiums, and cooperatives that incorporate.
By incorporating, you receive protection through the separation of your business’ finances and liability and your personal finances and liability. With a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you do not receive these protections.
Benefits of Registering Your Newfoundland & Labrador Business
Registering and incorporating your business in Newfoundland & Labrador carries a few different benefits, including:
As part of the registration process in most Canadian provinces, you will select a business structure under which you will operate your business.
In Newfoundland & Labrador, incorporation is the only type of business structure that typically requires registration, which differs a bit from other provinces. However, you can select what type of corporation you want to use in NL, including non-profit corporations, co-operatives, limited partnerships, and condominium corporations.
Is There a Deadline for Registering My Business in Newfoundland & Labrador?
Newfoundland & Labrador does not set a deadline for registering your business. However, you don’t receive the benefits of registering the business until the province accepts the registration.
Understand that if you need licences or permits to operate your business in the province, you may need to finish the registration before you can apply for them. Start the registration process early enough so that you aren’t scrambling just before you open to try to track down licences.
Newfoundland & Labrador does not specify the length of time it takes to receive notification of a successful registration. Third-party companies that help with the registration process estimate anywhere from one to 15 business days to complete the process in NL.
What Does It Cost to Register a Newfoundland & Labrador Business?
The costs for registering your corporation in Newfoundland & Labrador are part of The Corporations Act in the province. The most common fees for registering your corporation include:
You may be subject to additional fees, depending on how you structure the corporation. Consult with an attorney to determine exactly what your registration process should include and what it will cost.
Sole proprietorships and partnerships do not need to register, so they do not have a cost, unless you want to become a corporation.
Understand that fees for registration could change at any time. Check with your attorney for the latest fees in Newfoundland & Labrador.
What Items Do I Need to Register a Business in Newfoundland & Labrador?
When incorporating and registering your business, you will need to provide Newfoundland & Labrador with certain types of information, including:
How to Register a Business in Newfoundland & Labrador
You can use the Companies and Deeds Online (CADO) website in Newfoundland & Labrador to search for existing business names that others already registered. You then can be certain that your desired business name is available.
You also can register your name through CADO, if desired, and you then can check on the status of your name reservation request on the same website.
To seek information about registering or incorporating your business in Newfoundland & Labrador on paper forms in person or by email, you can reach out to the Registry of Companies by phone, by fax, or by email.
If you want to make an in-person filing, you should contact the NL government by phone, because you may need to set up an appointment time.
You may want extra help with the filing process. If so, you can access a third-party paid service that will help you collect the correct information and complete the forms. It will file the forms for you, too.
You must pay a fee to use these services that can range from about $50 to a few hundred dollars. These fees are above and beyond any fees you must pay to the NL government as part of the registration and incorporation process. Some of the third-party services you can hire to use include:
Business Name Registration Lookup - Choosing a Name for Your Business in Newfoundland & Labrador
You can select a name for your business following the rules in:
Follow the act that matches the legal structure you created for your business.
You can start by searching CADO to see if your desired business name is available. CADO in Newfoundland & Labrador tracks names for business corporations, non-profit corporations, co-operatives, limited partnerships, and condominium corporations.
Some of the rules for creating a corporate name in Newfoundland & Labrador include:
Registration Process for a Newfoundland & Labrador Business
There is no need to register your business in Newfoundland & Labrador unless you are incorporating. A sole proprietorship or a partnership does not have to register.
You can reserve your business name through CADO. You must provide the name that you would like to use, along with your contact information.
Once you have your name reserved, you then can file the Articles of Incorporation through CADO as well. Should you need to file additional documents, you can do this online through the NL CADO website.
5 Steps to Register a Business in Newfoundland & Labrador
The CADO service with the Digital Government and Service NL website allows you to search for existing business names, so you can figure out whether any other businesses in the province are already using the name you would like to use.
You then can attempt to reserve the business name you want to use through CADO. You must pay $10 for each name you attempt to reserve. This fee is non-refundable, even if the NL provincial government rejects your name request.
Another option is to perform a name search federally across Canada through the NUANS service.
- 2Incorporate Your NL Business
Although you can run a variety of operational legal structures for your business in Newfoundland & Labrador, you only need to register when you are incorporating the business.
File the Articles of Incorporation and any other supporting documents through CADO on the NL provincial government website.
If you must incorporate your business federally, you can save some time by registering your business in Newfoundland & Labrador at the same time.
Start by incorporating the business on the federal website. Once you complete the incorporation process federally, you then can register federally and provincially in NL at the same time.
Although the NL provincial government does not require you to purchase insurance for your business, it does make some recommendations about the types of insurance you may want to purchase, including:
Insurance protects you from catastrophic occurrences that could destroy your financial investment in your business, such as severe weather events or fire. It also protects you if a visitor or customer suffers an injury on the property and attempts to sue your business and hold you liable.
BizPaL is a database that contains a list of permits and licences you need to operate certain types of businesses in several Canadian provinces, including Newfoundland & Labrador.
Other licenses and permits may be necessary for special events or for other aspects of operating your business in NL. Search for items you need on the Newfoundland & Labrador website and on the St. John’s website.