How to Register a Business in BC? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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Congratulations on taking the exciting plunge into entrepreneurship and being ready to bring your business dreams to life. But regardless of whether you’re about to launch a tech startup or just a cozy café, one essential step awaits you.

We are talking about the process of how to register a business in BC. We know what you’re thinking – the paperwork and the legal jargon. There is also a seemingly never-ending regulations maze. Here is all you need to know about the process:

Why Register Your Business in British Columbia and Not Any Other Place?

Here is why you should consider this place over others in Canada:

  • Robust Economy: BC boasts a thriving economy providing ample business growth and success opportunities. The area offers diverse industries where businesses can flourish, from tech startups to tourism ventures.
  • Strategic Location: Positioned on the West Coast of Canada, this province enjoys proximity to Asian and North American markets. This strategic location opens doors to global trade and facilitates business connections on an international scale.
  • Business-Friendly Environment: BC is renowned for its supportive business environment. The provincial government actively fosters entrepreneurship through various initiatives, grants, and resources. The strong industry associations and business community network also offer invaluable support and networking opportunities.
  • Access to Skilled Workforce: The area also has a highly educated and skilled workforce. The province’s world-class educational institutions produce top talent in various fields, ensuring businesses can find skilled employees to fuel their growth.
  • Innovation Hub: The province has established itself as a hub for innovation and technological advancements. With a vibrant startup ecosystem, research institutions, and tech accelerators, the province provides an ideal environment for businesses looking to leverage cutting-edge technologies and drive innovation.
  • Nature and Quality of Life: British Columbia has breathtaking natural landscapes. These include mountains, forests, and coastlines. The landscapes contribute to an exceptional quality of life. This attracts top talent and enhances the well-being of individuals, making it an enticing place to live and work.
  • Supportive Government Policies: The provincial government in BC has implemented business-friendly policies and regulations. Streamlined processes, efficient government services, and initiatives such as tax incentives and grants help businesses thrive and navigate the regulatory landscape.
  • Vital Infrastructure: BC boasts a robust infrastructure network, including modern transportation systems, advanced telecommunications, and reliable utilities. These infrastructure investments facilitate smooth business operations and efficient supply chain management.
  • Sustainability Focus: You will fancy doing business in this area as a sustainability and environmental enthusiast. The province is committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. It encourages every venture to adopt eco-friendly practices.
register a business in bc

Preparing for Business Registration in BC

Before you start the procedure, do the following:

1- Conduct Market Research

Before registering your business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research. This involves analyzing your target market and identifying customer needs. You should also understand competitors and assess your product or service demand. Market research helps you make knowledgeable decisions and develop a solid business strategy.

2- Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan

You need a well-crafted business plan for laying out your goals, objectives, and strategies. Here, include details about your products or services, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and operational plans. 

Only think of proceeding to register a business with a plan. This will waste your time and elongate the time you will take to register the business. This is because you will still decide what kind of venture to register or what names to use. 

3- Choose a Business Name

Selecting a compelling and memorable business name is vital. Ensure that the name aligns with your brand identity and is not already used by another business. Consider conducting a business name search. Here is how to do it:

  • Review Existing World-Wide Trademarks: Use Google to review existing trademark and intellectual property records comprehensively. This will avoid potential legal issues associated with trademark infringement. Search for registered trademarks, brand names, and copyrights similar to your desired business name. 
  • Check Names Registered in British Columbia: Visit the Name Request section of the British Columbia government’s website. This online tool allows you to explore registered business names in the province. Enter your desired business name and review the search results. Pay attention to any existing businesses with similar names, or that might confuse customers.
  • Access the Canadian Trademarks Database: You must also ensure your business name does not infringe on Canadian federal trademarks. You can do so by accessing the Canadian Trademarks Database. This database has a comprehensive collection of registered trademarks in the country. We recommend that you search using keywords related to your business name. Examine the results to identify any potentially conflicting trademarks.
  • Consider Checking Databases Across Other Provinces: If you plan to expand your business beyond British Columbia, it’s also advisable to check business name databases in other provinces. This step helps you ensure that your chosen name remains unique and available for use in the jurisdictions you intend to operate in. Research the relevant provincial government websites and access their business name search tools.

Once done, brainstorm and select a unique yet memorable and captivating name. The name should accurately reflect your brand. It should align with your industry and resonate with your target audience.

register a business in bc

Step-by-step Guide on How to Apply for a Business Name in BC

Follow these steps to the latter:

Step 1: Submit a Name Request Application: Once you have settled on a name, it’s time to submit a name request application to BC Registry Services. This step is crucial to verify the availability and validity of your chosen business name. You have multiple options to apply:

  • Online Convenience: Visit the BC Registry Services’ official website and utilize their user-friendly Name Request tool. Fill out the required information, double-check for any typos, and hit that “Submit” button excitedly!
  • In-Person Adventure: If you prefer a more personal touch, head to OneStop service counters or one of Service BC’s offices. Interact with the friendly staff and hand in your completed name request application form. You will experience the joy of taking a tangible step toward your entrepreneurial dreams.
  • Mailing Marvels: For those who love the charm of traditional mail, download the Name Approval Request form from the OneStop website. Fill it out diligently and add a stamp to that envelope. Send it on its merry way to the BC Registry Services. 

Step 2: Additional Approvals (if applicable): Some business names may require additional approvals from specific authorities. They include:

  • Municipal Hall Musings: Certain business names might need approval from your local municipal hall. Check with them if any additional steps are required.
  • Liquor License Leap: If your business plans involve serving alcohol, you have to complete this step. You need approval from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. Dive into their requirements, and complete the necessary paperwork.

Step 3: Receive Name Request Number (NR Number): Once you have successfully submitted your name request application, the BC Registry Services will process it diligently. Keep your eyes peeled for an exciting email or letter with your NR Number.

Procedure for Registering Your Business in British Columbia

Once you have received your NR Number, you have 56 days to register your venture. Use the steps below:

Step 1: Register with BC Registry Services

For Sole Proprietorships or Partnerships:

  • Visit the OneStop portal: Ensure you visit the correct website, which is: 
  • Fill out the registration application form: Provide accurate and complete information about your business. This includes the Name Request Number (NR number) you received earlier. Include details about the owner(s) or partner(s) involved in the business.
  • Submit and keep a copy for your records: Once you complete the forms, tap the “Submit” button. 

The processing turnaround time for Sole Proprietorships or Partnerships is typically up to 2 days. Wait for confirmation from BC Registry Services. Once approved, you will receive your Business Number (BN), which serves as a unique identifier for your business.

For Incorporations:

  • Go to the B.C. Corporate online platform: This system is designed specifically for business incorporation in BC. Use the official link to navigate to the website. 
  • Follow the instructions on the platform: Give out your NR number, along with the necessary company information, director details, and share structure. Be sure to give out accurate and complete information to avoid delays or complications.
  • Submit your application: Before doing so, confirm that you have entered the correct information. Be patient once submitted to the authorities; the processing time will take several weeks.

Once your submission is processed and approved, you will be assigned a Business Number (BN. This serves as a unique identifier for your business. It also allows you to remit taxes, contribute to Canada pension premiums, pay Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, and make WorkSafeBC payments.

Step 2: Register with WorkSafeBC

Ensuring workplace insurance coverage is essential if your business hires workers. Follow these steps to register with WorkSafeBC:

  • Access the OneStop portal: Use the official address to do so. This portal provides a streamlined registration service.
  • Complete the WorkSafeBC registration: Provide detailed information about your business and its employees. This includes the number of workers and their job descriptions.

Submit the application through the OneStop portal and retain a copy for your records. Wait for confirmation from WorkSafeBC to validate your registration and ensure that you have workplace insurance coverage.

Alternatively, you can register directly with WorkSafeBC by visiting their official website. Follow the guidelines provided by WorkSafeBC and complete the necessary forms. These forms will require information about your business, such as its legal structure, address, and industry classification.

register a business in bc

Step 3: Register with the Ministry of Finance

Follow these steps to register with the Ministry of Finance:

  • Access the OneStop portal and locate the Ministry of Finance registration section.
  • Provide the requested information about your business, including its nature, activities, and estimated annual sales.
  • Submit the application through the OneStop portal and keep a copy for your records.
  • Wait for confirmation from the Ministry of Finance indicating that your business is successfully registered for PST remittance.

Step 4: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Registration

Follow these steps:

  • Go to either the OneStop portal or the official website of the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Fill in the needed information. You will be asked for details like your venture’s legal name, what you sell, type of business, address, etc.
  • Give out tax-related information. Here you will choose the appropriate tax accounts based on your business activities.

Voila! You should now wait for confirmation from the CRA. 


Here are answers to questions you may have:

Q: Is it Mandatory to Register With WorkSafeBC?

No. it is only mandatory to register with WorkSafeBC if your business hires workers. This is regardless of whether your workers work full-time, contract, part-time, or casual. 

Registering with WorkSafeBC ensures that you have workplace insurance coverage. Protecting your employees and your business from workplace accidents or injuries is crucial. Compliance with WorkSafeBC regulations is a legal requirement. Failure to register could result in penalties and legal consequences.

Q: How Much Does Register a Business in BC Cost?

The fee payable during this process depends on the type of business you want to venture into. Below is a brief overview of the registration fees for different business entities:

  • Cooperative associations: Registration fee ranges from $280.00 to $1,030.00.
  • Incorporated companies: The registration fee is $380.00 for most companies.
  • Societies: The fee is $130.00 for incorporating or restoring a B.C. society.
  • Sole proprietorships and general partnerships: You will pay $70.00 to have your sole venture registered.

Remember that the above fees are subject to change. So, visit the official website of BC Registry Services periodically for current figures.

Q: Can I Change My Registered Business Name in the Future?

Yes, changing your registered business name is possible if needed. You must file a Name Change Amendment with BC Registry Services. 

Remember that changing your business name affects branding, marketing, and legal documentation. Consider the potential impact and consult with professionals, such as lawyers or branding experts, before deciding.


The procedure on how to register a business in BC is that simple! Just put in place a good business plan. Next, find a suitable business name for your brand. Once done, start the registration process. 

You will register with BC Registry Services, WorkSafeBC, the Ministry of Finance, and the CRA. And that’s all you need to open doors to the business world in British Columbia. So, what are you waiting for?

Bijoy Pal is a business-focused website, we cover business-related topics that can help you get specific information. BuzBusiness was founded in April 2021.

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