Your business name is the name you will use when signing contracts or answering the phone. Businesses wishing to operate under a business name must register with the relevant corporate Registry. Registring a business name usually requires an approved NUANS report.
You cannot just select any name. Business names must follow certain rules.For example, a business name must usually contain a distinctive element, a descriptive element, and a legal element.
If you are incorporated, you can also usually use a coined word as long that it isn’t found in the dictionary if combined with a legal element. For example, Exxonex Inc.
The rules for business names can vary by province or whether you are incorporated or not.
Government of Canada – Choosing a Business Name
New Brunswick Business Name Registration
Choosing a Name in New Brunswick Guidelines for Corporate, Business & Partnership Names
Nova Scotia Business Name Registration
PEI Business Name Registration
In Newfoundland and Labrador there is no registration of trade names. Registration is only required for corporations and cooperatives.
Searching for Available Names
In most cases, if someone is already using a name, you cannot use it. It is therefore important that a proper corporate database name search be done. You should also check online to determine if someone is already using the name for their business.
Sites like Godaddy can be used to determine if the domain name is available or already owned by someone else.
You can save time and money by doing pre-searches. To do a NUANS pre-search click on the following link. You do not have to order, just use the search interface to determine if the name is available.
You can also consult the Canada Business Registry at
To access the New Brunsiwck provincial corporate database visit the following link.