Services To Expect From The Ontario Business Registry

Ontario is one of the most sought-after places to do business in Canada. Its population of 14.5 million has the highest personal income in Canada, and is thus the richest market in the country. At the crossroad of many routes to get to the United States, it is considered a very strategic and prime business location. No one is allowed to do business without a business licence, though, and for that, you have to register your business in Ontario. 

The Ontario government very recently announced that they’ve launched a new online system for those who want to register their businesses in the province. It’s also going to include some other electronic services that weren’t previously offered online. The Ontario Business Registry (OBR) was launched last October 19, 2021, replacing the old ONBIS. The manual services previously offered by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) are now being moved to the electronic OBR. 

Here are some of the electronic services that you can expect to be available through the OBR:

  1. Register Your Business

With the launch of the OBR, you may now register a business in Ontario electronically through the online portal. It’s unlawful to operate an unregistered business in Ontario. The operation of such is also punishable under the Ontario Business Names Act. The fee for operating an unregistered business name could go up to as high as CAD$2,000.

When you register your business, you’ll be required by the registrar of companies to submit all the pertinent details and documents about your company. You can fill out the forms online. They’ll be asking you to provide your address, location, as well as a description of the nature, scope of trade or services, and the main activities of your business. You’ll also need to understand Ontario’s income tax audit rules.  

You can forward your application once you’ve filled out the forms and submitted your documents. It’s going to be considered for approval. You’ll receive your Master Business Licence (MBL) in the mail when your business registration has been approved. The MBL is your official proof that your business is properly registered in Ontario. 

  1. Search For Any Business Or Non-Profit

Whether you’re a Canadian citizen or just moved into town, you can now search the OBR for free whenever you need to look up some basic information about any business or not-for-profit corporation registered in Ontario. In the previous system, you had to request and pay to get a report on the business you’re looking up. Requests were coursed through the Ontario MGCS or a third-party service provider. 

The following information on registered businesses can now be accessed for free through the OBR: 

  • Full name of the corporation 
  • Type of corporation
  • Status of the corporation
  • Registered address
  • Head office address
  • Ontario corporation number
  • Date of incorporation 
  • Governing jurisdiction

Searching for basic information is free of charge, but you’ll have to pay a fee if you want to get more information. This would be contained in a Profile Report. These reports contain information, such as the corporation’s list of directors and officers on record with the Ontario Ministry. It also includes a Certificate of Status. You’ll also be given copies of governing documents such as Letters Patent and Supplementary Letters Patent. For non-for-profit corporations, meanwhile, there’s not as much available information for now.

  1. New Online Services To Be Offered

Before the OBR, most corporations had to do their filings in person with the registrar of companies. With the OBR in place, corporations and not-for-profit entities can now access their profiles and make online filings through their accounts. To do this, they’d need to have a company key. This is a password that is similar to a personal identification number used for bank transactions. 

A company key can be requested by sending a message to the official email address of the MGCS. They’ll send the company key to the email address of your corporation that they have on file. If they don’t have your official email address, they’ll send it to the registered or head office address of the corporation.

When you’ve already received your company key, you can access the profile of your business or not-for-profit corporation through the OBR. When you log on for the first time, the OBR system will require you to create a One-key ID, which is your unique electronic credential, and a ServiceOntario account. The One-key ID is your pass to access online government services.

Here are some of the corporation filings that can now be done online:

  • Articles of Amendment
  • Articles of Dissolution 
  • Master Business Licence Amendments
  • Master Business Licence Cancellations 
  • Articles of Revival 
  • ONCA Not-For-Profit Incorporation 
  • Limited Partnerships

With the closure of most of the provincial walk-in offices, the transacting public can expect that almost all registration and corporate filings will now be done online. 

Jumpstart Your Business Online 

With OBR’s online portal, those who are planning to start a venture in Ontario may now jumpstart their business online. More than 90 registration and corporation filings may now be done electronically through the OBR. This makes doing business and government transactions in Ontario easier and more convenient.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team