top of page

How to Register a Business in Alberta

person filling out forms to register a business in Alberta

Starting and registering a business is an exciting venture, but it’s also a daunting one. With so many details and nuances, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here’s a general overview of how to register your business in Alberta.

Choose a Business Name

Coming up with a name that represents your business is crucial. However, before you register your business name, do some research to ensure it's available. While duplicate business names can exist, identically named corporations aren’t allowed.

That’s why you should get an Alberta Business Name Report by NUANS. The report lists names of registered businesses, corporations and trademarks similar to your proposed name. A NUANS report can be done directly through our office, and is mandatory for incorporating a named business. A NUANS is not required for a sole proprietorship or partnership, but is recommended.

Decide On a Business Structure

There are three common types of business structures: sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. Each structure has benefits and drawbacks.

  1. A sole proprietorship / trade name is an unincorporated business that’s owned and operated by one individual or entity. The owner has sole responsibility for making decisions, receives all the profits, claims all losses and doesn’t have separate legal status from the business. The trade name is not protected, nor do you own the name. It is an operating name.

  2. A partnership is created when two or more individuals or corporations do business together as partners. Each partner shares both the profits and the risks or debts associated with the business. The partnership name is not protected, nor do the partners own the name. It is an operating name. There are also limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability partnerships (LLP). An LLP consists of partners in one or more eligible professions, such as accounting or law, who have limited liability for the partnership's debts and obligations. An LP consists of one or more general partners, who have unlimited liability for the partnership's debts and obligations, and one or more limited partners, who have limited liability and are not involved in the management of the partnership.

  3. A corporation is an independent legal entity that exists separately from its owners or shareholders. You don’t need to be a large business to register as a corporation. For example, a small business with only one owner can register as a corporation. There are various advantages to incorporating your business, including increased anonymity, potential tax deferrals, easier access to capital and protection of your personal assets.

Contact a legal professional if you need help deciding on a business structure.

Registering a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

If you’re registering a sole proprietorship, you must fill out the Declaration of Trade Name. If you’re registering a partnership, you must complete the Declaration of Partnership and, if needed, the Special Authority to Execute a Declaration.

Moreover, if you’re registering a limited partnership (LP) you must fill out the Application for Alberta/Extra-Provincial Limited Partnership and the Special Authority to Execute a Registration form. Finally, if you’re registering a limited liability partnership (LLP), you must fill out the Application for Alberta/Extra-Provincial Limited Liability Partnership form.

Keep in mind that if you intend to operate in another province, you’ll also have to fill out additional province-specific paperwork.

Once you’ve filled out the appropriate forms, you must print them off and bring them to an authorized Corporate Registry service provider along with:

  • Your business name information

  • Your Business Name Report(NUANS), mandatory for a named incorporation

  • A valid ID, such as a government-issued driver’s licence or passport

  • Payment

If your information meets the requirements, it’ll be entered into the Corporate Registry, and you’ll receive an email when your federal business number has been issued.

Registering A Corporation

Unlike registering a sole proprietorship or partnership, registering an Alberta corporation is a bit more complex. Here’s a breakdown of three major forms you’ll need to complete:

  • The Articles of Incorporation form. This is a legal document that allows your corporation to do business in Alberta. While filling out this form, seven mandatory components must be considered, including the corporation’s name, share structure, number of directors and the date of incorporation.

  • The Notice of Address form. According to Alberta law, your corporation must establish a way for the public to contact you. This form allows you to designate up to three separate addresses for your corporation, including a registered office, a records office and a mailing address.

  • The Notice of Directors Form. This form allows you to add, remove or change a director, who will be responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs of the business. To submit this form for the first time, you must provide the name, address, appointment date and resident Canadian status of at least one individual who will act as a director for your corporation.

  • The Notice of Agent for Service Form. This form is required for all incorporated businesses in Alberta. The corporation must have an agent for service in the province. The agent can be the same individual as the owner if not separate contact for the business exists.

It’s best to visit Registry @ South Trail Crossing Ltd. in person to ensure you gather and complete all the relevant documentation.

Corporate Registry Services in Calgary

If you’re starting a business and need help sorting out the paperwork, Registry @ South Trail Crossing Ltd. can help. Our agents can help you register your new business and guide you through the incorporation process, including government-required business name searches. Contact us today for more information. You can trust us to do everything we can to get your business off and running.


bottom of page