All about business names

Ontario Corporate Name Search

If you want to incorporate in Ontario, you’ll have to submit an Ontario-biased NUANS report with your application. This 6-page report includes 4 pages of company names and 2 pages of trademarks that are similar to the name you’ve submitted, with an emphasis on Ontario companies. It also reserves your proposed name for 90 days.

Unlike the federal government, Ontario doesn’t approve your proposed name before allowing you to incorporate. This means you’re on your own when it comes to deciding whether your proposed name is likely to be “confusing” with an existing company name or trademark. The question of what is “confusing” can become quite complex. In general, the same principles apply for business names as for trademarks (see our pages on trademarks).

You can’t order an Ontario-biased NUANS report directly from Industry Canada. You have to use a NUANS search house.

What’s an “Ontario-biased” Report?

The entire NUANS database is searched for this report, including trademarks and company names across the country, but the first hits listed on your Ontario-biased report will be the companies in Ontario with the most similar names. Companies in other provinces and federally incorporated companies will only show up after that. If the search is submitted correctly, the companies in your own line of business will also be at the top of the report, and the trademarks pages will show the most similar trademarks in your field first.