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Registration & Incorporation

​One of the many services we provide is assistance with registering a business. Contact our team for help. There are three types of business classification: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages.  

Types of Businesses

Sole Proprietorship

A business owned by one person is called a "proprietor."

Advantages of Sole Proprietorship:

  • Simplest and least expensive to set up
  • Minimal registration requirements
  • The owner is in direct control
  • Possible tax benefits (losses can be applied against other income of proprietor)

Disadvantages of Sole Proprietorship:

  • Owner assumes all risk of business; responsible for payment of all business debts. Creditors can seize your personal assets.
  • Lack of continuity (ownership not transferable)
  • Difficult to raise capital
  • Possible tax disadvantages (profits must be added to personal income)


A business owned by two or more individuals or corporations is called a "partnership."

Advantages of Partnership:

  • Easy to set up and very flexible
  • Limited regulation
  • Partners provide sources of additional capital and skills

Disadvantages of Partnership:

  • Partners assume personal liability for debts of the business
  • If disagreements arise, the business can suffer
  • More complex record-keeping and tax returns


A separate legal entity that can enter into contracts and own property separately and distinctly from its owners who are the shareholders is called a "corporation."

Advantages of Corporation:

  • Limited liability (generally limited to individual's personal investment in the business)
  • Continuous existence (ownership transferable)
  • Easier to raise capital (i.e. money for the business can be raised by selling shares)
  • Possible tax advantages

Disadvantages of Corporation:

  • More expensive and complicated to set up and maintain
  • Extensive record-keeping and complex taxation
  • Closely regulated
*Please seek the advice of a lawyer and/or accountant

Registering your business 

You're ready to start your business, you've got the perfect name, and now it's time to make the business official – it's time to register your business. Registering your business is important for many reasons including:

  • Get a Master Business License
  • Securing your business name
  • Receiving a Business Number
  • Tax opportunities
  • Applying for permits and licenses

Cost to Register

The Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre does not charge for assisting with registering your business. However, Service Ontario charges a small fee for both name search and business registrations

  • Name search: $8
  • Business registration: $60

How to Register

At the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre there are two options for registering your business:

  • Option 1 – Get help with a Small Business Consultant: We realize that the process of registering a business can be both exciting and also intimidating. For these reasons, we offer free one-on-one consultation to help you register your business through the Service Ontario website. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.
  • Option 2 – Register your business now online: You can perform a business name search and register your business online through the Service Ontario website. There are several steps to the process:
  • Go to Service Ontario website
  • Click Business (under Topics)
  • Scroll down and click "Search, register or renew your business and get a Master Business Licence" under Featured Online Services
  • Click the red button to "Start Online Service"
  • Licenses or permits:
    1. To find out if you require other licenses or permits for your business contact the Municipal Licensing Department
    2. Go to BizPaL, an Online Business Permits and Licenses Service is the result of collaboration between the federal, provincial/territorial, regional, and local participating governments. All of the information you provide is anonymous. Simply answer a short series of questions about your current or proposed business to create a customized list of the permits and licenses you may need from all levels of government.
  • Complete your business registration

NOTE: For new business name registrations, if you provide a valid email address an electronic Master Business Licence will be sent via email within two business days. Additionally, if you complete registration during regular business hours Monday thru Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm you will be able to print a copy of your Master Business Licence immediately for new registrations only. If you are completing a renewal, you will receive a copy of your MBL in the mail within ten business days.

Registering a trademark

Even if your business name is registered federally (Corporations Canada), provincially or territorially, you may also wish to register a trademark to better protect your brand.

Advantages of registering a trademark:

  • The registration provides proof of ownership
  • It provides you with exclusive rights across Canada for 15 years and can be renewed indefinitely
  • It helps you protect your products and services from imitation and misuse
  • It allows you to flag an infringement under the Trade-marks Act
  • It provides you with licensing opportunities to maximize your trademark's commercial potential
  • It protects your trademark's value

Learn more about and register for a trademark on the Government of Canada website.