Now That I Know I Want to Incorporate, What Do I Name My Company?!

When you incorporate a company in B.C., you have two options with respect to the corporate name.

The first option is to have a number assigned by the corporate registry, which would result in a numbered company, for example 1234567 B.C. Ltd.  The advantage of a numbered company is that it is simple, the incorporator does not have to determine a corporate name and have it approved by the registry.  The second advantage of a numbered company is that it avoids the time and cost it takes the corporate registry to approve a name.  A disadvantage of a numbered company may be that it is more difficult to create a brand in a numbered company.  We primarily tend to see numbered companies for holding companies where there are no services being provided by the company, and thus no goodwill is being created.

The second option for a company name is to submit a name reservation to the corporate registry for name of your choosing.  The corporate registry must approve the name choice prior to approving its use.  The registry will review up to three submitted names in one application.  The registry will review the names in the order submitted and will advise whether one is approved. In our experience, the registry is currently taking three weeks to review and approve names, however, for an additional fee of $100.00 paid to the corporate registry the process can be expedited to less than 48 hours.

When reviewing a name, the registry wants to ensure that the names chosen comply with the requirements under relevant legislation, they do not conflict with pre-existing names for corporations in B.C. and the names are not objectionable. Some of the naming rules include the following:

  1. The name should include a distinctive element (i.e. Sitka), a descriptive element (i.e. Law) and a corporate designation (i.e. Inc., Ltd., Corporation), for example Sitka Law Corporation;
  2. A person’s name may be considered distinctive enough to qualify (i.e. John Smith Holdings Ltd.);
  3. Well known names will not be considered unless consent from the owner of the name is granted (ie Coke, Exxon, Xerox);
  4. There can be no connection to the Crown or Royal Family;
  5. The use of BC or British Columbia cannot be used as the distinctive element without consent from relevant authorities; and
  6. The name cannot include obscene words or connotation or racial, physical or sexual slurs.

It is important to note that if you are a professional (i.e. doctor, dentist, lawyer, realtor, etc.), there are likely rules relating to your corporate name created by regulatory bodies for your profession which you should be aware of prior to submitting the name reservation.

If you have incorporated, there is an option to change the name (whether the company is a numbered or a named company) at any time in the future so long as it complies with the aforementioned rules.  As far as the corporate structure and purpose, there is no difference between a named corporation or a numbered corporation.

Feel free to read Sitka Law Group’s blog “Are you thinking of Incorporating” for further information on incorporating.  Should you have any questions about corporate or businesses law, feel free to consult Sitka Law Group for a free consultation.