Incorporating in Canada 2: Incorporating Federally or Provincially?

This post is part of a series on my story incorporating in Canada.

After deciding that we wanted to proceed with registering a corporation we then had to make the decision between registering provincially (in Ontario) or registering federally (with the federal government of Canada). Again there were some differences to keep in mind.

Provincial (Ontario) Incorporation Federal Incorporation
$360 to register, either by mail or in person. There is online registration through Service Providers, but I could not find these Service Providers $200 to register online
No Annual Filing $20 Annual renewal
Requires a NUANS Name search costing $21.47 plus applicable taxes
Name is screened in Province only, so it’s easier to get a name approved Name is screened across Canada so it is harder to get the name approved

Though there isn’t that much information in the table, getting it all in one place was a real headache because there is so much material out there about this and it can get confusing. There are also many businesses out there that want to help you with registering the businesses for an extra price. Such services can be helpful, but we wanted to get our hands “dirty” and work directly with the system.

We found the Ontario registration process to be difficult to work with, and their lack of an online registration system was really a let down. In contrast, we found that the Industry Canada online services were very user friendly, and very helpful. Incorporating Federally was also cheaper. The only real con was the renewal fee of $20 annually, but it was so small compared to what we were hoping to make that we thought it was a worthwhile investment. The difference is $160 which translates to 8 renewals. Hopefully by then, such amounts will be miniscule in our balance sheets.

The only other thing to take into account is the taxes, and for that you will have to talk to an accountant.

We decided to go ahead with Federal Incorporation.

Next Steps

  1. NUANS Name Search and Pre-Approval
  2. Submitting Articles of Incorporation and Deciding Share Provision Structure


  1. Ontario Articles of Incorporation Information
  2. Industry Canada Corporations Canada Online Incorporation Services
  3. Enterprise Toronto Handout

Ahmed Amayem has written 90 articles

A Web Application Developer Entrepreneur.