Are you about starting a business in Manitoba and need to register a name? If YES, here is a 13-step guide on how to register a business in Manitoba, Canada. As of April 2019, the population of Manitoba was estimated to be almost 1.3 million. It is the 5th most populous province in Canada. Manitoba is the 12th largest province in Canada in terms of total area with 649,950 square kilometers (250,950 square miles).

Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba. Manitoba is a perfect place to start a business. It is affordable, and there is no much paperwork. However, it comes with a filling different from other provinces in Canada. Manitoba has taken a unique approach to business registration.

For unincorporated companies, you don’t register the business – as you would in many other provinces – you register the business name. Only businesses that are run under the sole proprietor’s name, e.g. John Smith Roofing, do not have to register their business name.

All businesses – sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations – must complete the first step in the process, the reservation of a business name. The second step is different for corporations who file articles of incorporation, it is for sole proprietorship and partnerships. If you are interested in registering a business in Manitoba, here are the steps that you are expected to follow;

13 Steps on How to Register a Business Name in Manitoba 13 Steps

Step 1: Choose a Workable Business idea or Niche

No serious entrepreneur registers a business without first settling for a workable business idea or niche in an industry. The fact that businesses are known to thrive if the right things are done, does not mean every business will thrive in Manitoba. In essence, the first step that you are expected to take if you are serious about starting a business in Manitoba is to come up with a workable business idea.

For example, if you are not too sure whether starting a Marijuana dispensary business is legal in Manitoba, why go ahead to choose such business idea? So, the rule of thumb is that you must ensure that your business idea falls in line with what is acceptable and one that you can easily secure the necessary permits and license to operate legally.

Step 2: Choose a Catchy Name for Your Business

In Manitoba and of course all across the world, before you can register your business name, you must first submit a Request for Name Reservation form to determine if the name is available for use. The Request for Name Reservation filing fee costs $45.00 (as of January 2016). The Request for Name Reservation can be filed online. You can use this link to get started: https://direct.gov.mb.ca/coohtml/html/internet/en/coo.html

The name you select must have a distinctive element (such as a coined name, location, or personal name), a descriptive element (such as the type of services offered) and if it will be a corporation it must end with a legal element (such as Inc., Ltd. or Corp.). For example, Zoobilee Pet Shop, where Zoobilee is a distinctive, invented name and Pet Shop is the descriptive element, would be a valid name as long as it was not objectionable.

Be sure to review the province’s name reservation guidelines carefully, as there are a few specific restrictions. For example, the word Manitoba can be used in a business name, but not as the first word of the name. Meanwhile names containing the words Golden Boy – the Golden Boy on Manitoba’s legislature is recognized symbol of Manitoba’s achievements and proud heritage – are considered objectionable and will be rejected. The link above breaks it down pretty clearly.

If the name is already in use or reserved, you will have to go through the process and pay the fees again. To save yourself this time and money you should carefully review the criteria for name selection and then check provincial business directories, online phone directories (e.g. Canada411.com) or the list of registered names at the province’s Company Office for similar names.

If the name that you’ve chosen is available it will be reserved for a 90 day period. From there you can move onto the second step of either registering or incorporating your business.

Step 3: Choose a Legal Entity for Your Business

If you choose to start your business in Canada, it is important to note that there are only four basic forms of business ownership or legal entity you can build your business structure on in Canada and they are the sole proprietorship, the partnership, the corporation and the cooperative.

You need not get confused on which will best suit your business idea, what you intend achieving, and the type of business you want to build are some of the key factors that will help you make a choice on a legal entity to choose for your business.

Having said that, here are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes. The truth is that, in Canada, you can choose to start your business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Step 4: Register Your Business Name.

Once you are able to carry out all the steps listed above, then it shows that you through mean business and the only step that can take your closer to achieving your dream of starting your business in Manitoba is to go straight ahead to register your business name. Of course, you would have done the necessary business name search that will ensure that you are not settling for a name that is already in their data base.

If you don’t want someone to register your business name, then you should be fast about registering the business name. As regard your registration and licensing requirements, you should visit your municipal, provincial and federal government to get the process started.

Once you have reserved a name for your business you can then move onto the next phase. If you plan on operating as a sole proprietor or a limited partnership then you will need to complete and file the Registration of A Business Name form. This form is to be sent to the Companies Office along with the $60.00 fee. You can get the Registration of a Business form here: (http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/forms/bnr_e.pdf)

The guidelines for completing the Registration of a Business Name form require you to complete your forms using ink, or typed. They do not accept double-sided forms for faxed copies of the form, so you will need to send this form directly to the Companies Office.

The content of the forms basically are looking for you to provide some information, including the business name, the contact person, the address of the business, the start date of the business, the type of business, as well as your business number (if applicable), and registrant information. This link breaks down the instructions for registering a business name:

http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/instruction_sheets/business_registration_e.pdf

For a corporation, once you have your name reserved you will have to file the Articles of Incorporation and pay the $350 fee to the Companies Office. When these are received you will be assigned a number to the corporation. To print out a copy of the Articles of Incorporation form go here: (http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/forms/artincsh.pdf)

You will also need to file what is known as a Request for Service if you wish to incorporate. There is no fee for this form. However, it must be submitted with your Articles of Incorporation to complete the process. A copy of the form can be found here: (http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/forms/requests.pdf)

Step 5: Pay the Required Fees

Once you have successfully reserved a name for your business, then you are expected tp pay the required fees and below is a breakdown of what you are expected to pay;

  • Name Reservation – $45

Registration of Business Name

  • Partnership – $60
  • Sole Proprietorship – $60
  • Power of Attorney – $40
  • Incorporation – $350
  • Non-Profit Incorporation – $120

Step 6: Source for New Business Financing

One of the reasons why Manitoba is considered as of the top destinations when it comes to doing business is because there are financial institutions that are established to help finance new business. So, the next step you are expected to take if you have successfully registered your business is to ensure that you source for new business financing. The only reason why you should ignore this step is if you already have the required startup capital.

Step 7: Apply and Obtain the Needed Business License and Permits

Please note that licensing for business in Manitoba is different from business registration and it is the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division that handles the application process. If you want to apply for business license, you would need to go along with a photo identification and proof of work status.

Despite the fact that obtaining specific business license may not be necessary for all businesses, it is the standard that new businesses in certain industries will need to get business licenses before they can operate legally within their municipalities.

If your business can generate health implications then you would need a business license to operate in Manitoba. Businesses such as food truck, hospitals, labs, hairdressers, pet shops, grocery stores, holistic centers, secondhand shops, nightclubs and restaurants among others.

If you are not sure on the type of business license and permit to apply for, you should visit Industry Canada’s BizPaL. They have useful tool for finding out what federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licenses you will need to do business in any province in Canada. As a matter of fact, BizPaL will provide a personalized list of the business documents you need for all levels of government.

Step 8: Register for the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)

The next step that you are expected to take is to ensure that your register for the goods and services tax /harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) in your province. If your new small business’s gross income exceeds $30,000, it is mandatory to register for GST/HST. (Note that this Small Supplier exemption doesn’t apply to all businesses: taxi and limousine services, for instance, always have to register for GST/HST.)

In order to be on the good book of the law when operating your business in Canada as a new business that is not making up $30,000, it is still to your advantage to register for GST/HST immediately because of Input Tax Credits, which are basically your way of getting back the GST/HST your business has paid out on purchases for business use.

If you are interested in finding out more information on the GST/HST, visit Answers to Common GST/HST Questions and/or the GST/HST library.

Step 9: Register for Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

The next step to follow in order to ensure that your business is starting on the right footing is to ensure that you register for provincial sales tax (PST). For example, if you choose to start your business in Saskatchewan or British Columbia or Manitoba, it is compulsory to register as a collector of provincial sales tax (PST).

But, if you decide to start your business in Quebec, you will need to register for Quebec Sales Tax (QST). Please note that some provinces have not harmonized their sales taxes with the federal goods and services tax (GST) and in those provinces, you will also have to register to collect and remit the appropriate provincial tax.

Step 10: Purchase the Needed Business Insurance.

The rule of business engagement in Canada and in most countries of the world, is that, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

Please note that if you are going to operate your business from home, then you might want to learn about home-based business insurance and how to save money on the cost of business insurance.

Step 11: Lease or Rent and Ideal Office Location

Another important step to follow when establishing a business in Canada is to choose an ideal location for your office. When it comes to renting an office facility in Canada, the nature of business you want to do should serve as a guide. Besides, you would need your business license and permit as part of the document to be tendered before any landlord or realtor will sign any leasing agreement with your business in Canada.

Step 12: Hire the Required Employees

The only reason why you should ignore this step is if you want to run a one – man business. If you want to operate a business in Canada, it is mandatory to hire only those that are legally permitted to work in Canada or else your business might be fined or shut down.

This is why once you have hired employees, your business needs to register with the Worker’s Compensation Board in your province. You can find out more about hiring employees, employment standards, E.I. and other employee issues from the appropriate authority in your province if you are not sure of how the process works.

Step 13: Advertise and Market Your Business

One thing is certain, if you choose to start any business in Canada, you can be rest assured that there are competitors waiting to compete with you for the available market share. So, if you want your business to do well, then you must fashion out ways to advertise and market your products or services.

The truth is that if your business or brand is always in the eyes of the public, they will be tempted to buy from you. You can use both print and electronic media to promote your business, but you must ensure you check up with the government to know the rules and regulation governing the advertising of the type of business you are operating.

In conclusion, here are some of the steps that you should follow to legally register a business name and your entire business in Manitoba. Please note that these steps are not cast in stone, hence you should make enquiries from the Company’s Office at:

1010-405 Broadway

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3L6

Phone: 204-945-2500

Toll-free: 1-888-246-8353

Email: [email protected]

Joy Nwokoro