Carrying on a Business in Other Provinces and Territories
Ever wonder how to expand your business beyond its provincial borders? New entrepreneurs may be surprised to learn that they will not generally be able to carry on business in another province without first clearing some basic bureaucratic hurdles. Though the specifics will depend on several factors, including where a business was incorporated, where it will operate, and what kinds of business activities it will be carrying on, a province will most often require that a business register in that province in order to carry on business there.
The specific registration requirements and the definition of “carrying on business” will vary from province to province (the same is true of the territories) and may be affected by trade agreements such as the New West Partnership Trade Agreement between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. In Alberta, for example, an extra-provincial corporation (a corporation incorporated outside of Alberta) is carrying on business and must, therefore, register if any of the following conditions apply:
One of the potential advantages of the extra-provincial registration process, especially for start-ups and new entrepreneurs, is that it allows a single business entity to operate across several provinces, rather than requiring the incorporation of a new business in each province. Incorporating in each province would mean managing several businesses and their filing requirements across multiple jurisdictions, whereas extra-provincial registration allows for the management of a single business entity in its home province with the only filing obligations in other provinces being the less onerous registration requirements, as specified by that province.
An additional consideration for entrepreneurs looking beyond their provincial boundaries is the use of their business’ name; a business incorporated in Alberta, even if properly registered as an extra-provincial corporation in another province, may not be able to operate under its name if there is already a business operating in that province with the same name or a similar name. If it is important that a business operate country-wide under the same name, federal incorporation may be a good option; though federal incorporation will generally involve more paperwork every year than provincial incorporation, it allows a company to conduct business under the same name across Canada, even if there is already a company operating in a province with that same name.
For more information about federal incorporation, provincial incorporation, and extra-provincial registration requirements across the provinces and territories, visit the Government of Canada’s Business and Industry “Registering your business” page:
Aleksandar Kukolj is a member of the BLG Business Venture Clinic, and is a 3rd year student at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
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Blog posts are by students at the Business Venture Clinic. Student bios appear under each post.