Incorporating good ideas.
Do I even need a name?

No.  You don't.  Many people get tripped up by this step and the myth is that if you incorporate with a name, it will wholly protect that name.  Incorporating with a name offers only quazi protection as another business can still register a similar name.  If your name is cruicial to your branding, you might consider taking steps to trademarking after your incorporation.   For further information on trademarking, visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office trademarks website. ​​​​

If  you are incorporating for tax or liability purposes and your name is not a critical element to your business, you can simply incorporate as a numbered company (the number  will be generated upon incorporation):

1234567BC Ltd.

If you incorporate as a numbered company, you can use a 'doing business as" ("DBA"), or "operating as" ("O/A") name such as:

1234567BC Ltd. DBA Joe's Garage

You can brand your website, business cards, invoices, etc. as "Joe's Garage", but on any legal contracts you would state "123456BC Ltd. DBA Joe's Garage".  On your tax returns or other government filings, you would simply be 1234567BC Ltd. 

If you are unsure as to if you should be a named or numbered company, call Jillian at 604.833.5588 or send an email to [email protected]

I want to incorporate with a name​​​​

There are technical rules regarding what will be accepted by the Registry. Below are some general rules to help you choose a name; however, McLennan Consulting can assist you with your name selection by guiding you towards a choice that has a better chance of being accepted by the Registry (included in your fee!).

General Rules

Your name must consist of three elements:

  1. Distinctive;
  2. Descriptive ; and,
  3. Corporate Designator.

​​Say you have a soda company.  Here are examples that contain all three required elements:

Ventiquid Liquids Inc. 

Tsawwassen Tonics Limitée

Jill's Sodas Corp.

1. The Distinctive Element

A distinctive element can be a made-up word ("Venitquid"), a geographical location ("Tsawwassen"), or a personal name ("Jill's").  It can also be an existing word such as "Sunshine" or "Omega" or "Attic" for example.  The options are endless. The distinctive element is important because it differentiates a business with identical or similar descriptive element (see below).

Names such as Coffee Shop Ltd. or Shirt Store Ltée. lack a distinctive element and, as a result, your name request would be rejected. But if a distinctive element were added thus distinguishing the name of the business from all the other coffee shops and shirt stores, they might approved.  For example: Creston Coffee Shop Ltd. or Flirty Shirt Store Ltée.

2. The Descriptive Element

The descriptive element describes the nature of the business ("Liquids", "Tonics", and "Sodas").   Names such as Consulting Ltd. or Gifts Incorporée lack a descriptive element and, as a result, your name request would be rejected. But if a descriptive element were added distinguishing the business from all the other consulting companies and gift stores, they might be approved. For example: Hercules Consulting Ltd. or Sandspit Gifts Incorporée. 

A made-up word used with a geographical location, such as Ventiquid Canada Ltd., is distinct so a descriptive element is not required.

Beware of Similar Descriptive Words

Certain descriptive words are considered the same and will be rejected if you attempt to appropriate a similar Distinctive Element by simply changing the Descriptive.  For Example:

Caroline's Cantina Inc. and

Caroline's  Kitchen Ltd.

... are the same.  If you tried to reserve Caroline's Kitchen Ltd. when Caroline's Cantina Inc. already exists, your name will be rejected by the registry because "Kitchen" and "Cantina" are considered the same.

3. The Corporate Designator

Limited Companies must have a corporate designator as the last word in the name. The choices in British Columbia are as follows:

  1. Limited, or Ltd.;
  2. Limitée, or Ltée;
  3. Incorporated, or Inc.;
  4. Incorporée, or Inc.; or,
  5. Corporation or Corp.

There is no techincal difference between these and it really comes down to your sonic preference.  Say your company name outloud trying all the designators and pick your favourite!

Provide 3 Names!

If you go the named rout, be sure to provide 3 name in your order of preference.  you have to pay a fee for each time you submit a name reservation request (included in the $850 fee charged by McLennan Consulting for your named incorporation) and you are allowed to provide up to three (3) names with each name reservation request submission.  The registry will examin your first name choice and in the event it is rejected, they will move on to your second choice, examine that and so forth.  In the event your first name is approved, they will not examine the other two.  If all of your names are refected, you will have to pay fees for another requeest.  So, if you provide only 1 or 2 choices and they are rejected, you will have to pay to submit a further name reservation request.  So, always provide three (3) names right from the start!