When you consider incorporating your business in Canada, there are two primary options: federal and provincial incorporation.
The primary difference between incorporating a business at the provincial level versus across Canada is name protection, annual filings, name selection, business reach and costs. Incorporating on a provincial level means that the name of the corporation is protected within that area/province.
The rules are not as strict in terms of the business name uniqueness, so long as there are no other matches similar to the choice. However, this process means that your name is not protected outside of the filing province if you chose to ultimately expand it to other territories.
Registering your business at the provincial level only enables you to conduct business there and you must also maintain a local office there. However, this does not stop you from doing business with companies within other provinces. You are also responsible for filing an annual corporate return with the provincial government within sixty days of the anniversary date of the incorporation
Federal incorporation, however, is different because it requires stricter naming selection that also gives you greater protection. A report will identify the database of corporate names to determine if your name is distinct enough from any other registered name in Canada.
Doing Business Across the Country
Once you get approval from the federal government, your name is protected all throughout the Canada so as all the territories and provinces. This allows your company to do business across Canada and there are no restrictions on office locations or where the company records are filed. You are responsible for annual filings with the Director of Corporations Branch as well as any provincial filings as well. Whether or not you choose to incorporate provincially or federally depends on the nature of your company’s business. A small business operating on a local level may only need to file provincially.