Incorporating in Canada 3: NUANS Name Search and Pre-Approval

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

Regardless of whether you decide to incorporate provincially or federally, you will still have to perform a NUANS Name search, (unless you want a numbered corporation i.e. without a name, in which case this whole step can be skipped as the government will just assign you a number). As the NUANS front page mentions:

NUANS corporate name search report is required by the federal and most provincial / territorial governments when granting new corporate names for use. The reports list similar existing corporate names and trademarks; they are used to determine the availability of a new proposed name. Ensuring that new corporate names do not create confusion with others is intended to protect Canadian businesses and consumers.

Click on the Create My Own Report button and get started.

Checking the Top matches Before You Pay

One of the great things about NUANS is they actually give you the top matches before you pay and for the full report. This is a great way to guage whether your name will be approved or not without paying. For example, try searching for Sole Marketing, and you should see the top two or three results with an exact match (because that is our company), which would mean you had a very low chance, if any, of getting the name approved. Notice however that the next top results are close to Sole Marketing Inc., namely: “SOLE MARKETING VENTURES”.

When we did the NUANS name search we saw that the company was registered in a different province, and we decided to take the risk of pushing forward with that name, and paid for the full report. Once we had the report it was time to get it approved.

Pre-Approving the Name

The pre-approval step is a cool step that I stumbled upon during my research. You can actually apply for federal incorporation without the pre-approval, but then the whole application might be rejected because of the name. By doing the pre-approval we are overcoming the biggest hurdle in the registration. The pre-approval process can be started here. We found them to be very fast in their response taking about 1-2 business days.

Name Rejection

Our first response was a rejection, citing, “SOLE MARKETING VENTURES” as a possible conflict. They provided a pdf with the following:

In order for the name request to be re-examined, you will need to determine whether the confusing names are in the same field of activities as your proposed corporation. Please note that you must do this for each name that has been identified with a red arrow on the NUANS Name Search Report.

In order to do this, please consult these sources:

  1. The Internet – the confusing businesses might be listed on the internet. You can note their activities and add them to the “Corporate Name Information Form” when you resubmit.

  2. Online telephone directories – the confusing businesses might be listed in an online telephone directory. You can call them and ask them what their activities are. You can note their activities and add them to the “Corporate Name Information Form” when you resubmit.

  3. If there is no information on the Internet or the online telephone directories, you will need to call the Provincial Registrars where each entity is registered and ask for the activities of the business you are trying to find. The list of provincial registrars can be found at the following link: . There may be a small fee. If no activities are listed, you can get the address of the registered office and do a reverse search in the online telephone directories and call the confusing business for information. You can note their activities and add them to the “Corporate Name Information Form” when you resubmit.

  4. If a trademark has been identified, you must search the trademarked activities on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) website and indicate how your activities will be different from those protected by the trademark. Trademark information can be found at the following link:

If your search is unsuccessful, please explain the steps you have taken to reach this conclusion in the “Corporate Name information Form” when you resubmit.

So it looked like we had some hope. It was time to do some research.


I couldn’t find them online, nor in phone directories. When I called the registrar in Alberta they mentioned that the person was in sales, which is a different field than ours. We made our case when we re-applied and they answered us within one business day approving our name. It was time now to start the Incorporation Application.

Next Steps

  1. Submitting Articles of Incorporation and Deciding Share Provision Structure


  1. NUANS Name search

Ahmed Amayem has written 90 articles

A Web Application Developer Entrepreneur.