Business Types

Starting a new business? The information below will assist you in choosing the right type of business, and will provide you with some
important information regarding each.

Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship, or Trade Name, may be the type of business you may want to start in Alberta.

Click here for more information on sole proprietorships.

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Partnerships

A partnership is an agreement between two or more individuals.

Click here for more information on partnerships in Alberta

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Corporations

Corporations, or Limited Companies are legal entities that are seperate and distinct from their member shareholders.

Click here for more information on incorporating in Alberta.

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Numbered Companies

Numbered companies are a type of corporation where a name search is not required. Your company will be named according to a series of numbers followed by Alberta Ltd.

Click here for more information on numbered companies.

Other Business Types

Gold Key Registries can assist you with setting up a number of other business types.

Check here for these options and prices.

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Sole Proprietorships

A Sole Proprietorship, or Trade Name registration is the simplest way to set up a business. A sole proprietor is fully responsible for
all debts and obligations related to his or her business. A creditor with a claim against a sole proprietor would normally have a
right against all of his or her assets, whether business or personal. This is known as unlimited liability.

In a proprietorship, one person performs all the functions required for the successful operation of the business. The proprietor secures the capital, establishes and operates the business, assumes all risks, accepts all profits and losses, and pays all taxes. The proprietor is said to be self-employed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When starting a small business many questions may arise.
Here are some frequently asked questions that many of our customers often ask:

I have a very small business. Should I form a corporation or should I register a trade name?
We suggest that you seek legal advice if you are not sure if you should have a trade name or a corporation. A lawyer can help you decide which is best for you and your business depending on your situation. It is very important that you know and understand your legal rights and liabilities. Unfortunately our staff is unable to answer or give legal advice in this aspect.

What is the difference between a trade name (Sole Proprietorship) and a corporation?
Trade names are business names registered to an individual or a corporation. You must register a trade name if you or your business:

– Is engaged in business for trading, manufacturing, contracting or mining purposes.
– If not associated in partnership with any other person or persons.
– Uses as his/her business name, some name, or designation other than his/her own.
– Uses his/her own name with the addition of “and company” or some other word or phrase indicating a plurality of members in the firm.

If I register a trade name, can anybody else use that name?
The same trade name can be used by many people. Registering the name in Alberta does not mean that you own that name. You could have legal problems if you use a name that is the same, or nearly the same as an existing trade name, partnership name, corporation name , or trademark. You should always choose your name carefully.

We recommend that you get an Alberta Business Name Report (also known as a NUANS report) to see if the name is already in use. You can get a name search from our office. Your trade name cannot contain the words “Limited”, “Incorporated”, “Corporation”, or “Limited Partnership”.

Is there any government office that can give me the information about starting a small business?
You can get information on starting a small business by calling “The Business Link – The Business Service Centre” at 403-221-7800.

Please click here for registration forms for a Trade Name (Sole Proprietorship) Registration. After filling out this form, our friendly staff can assist you in registering your new partnership.

Partnership

A partnership is an agreement in which two or more persons combine their resources in a business with a view to making a profit.
In order to establish the terms of the partnership and to protect partners in the event of a disagreement or dissolution of a
partnership, a partnership agreement should be drawn up.

In a General Partnership, two or more owners share the management of a business, and each is personally liable for all the debts and obligations of the business. This means that each partner is responsible for, and must assume the consequences of, the actions of the other partner(s).

Frequently Asked Questions:

When starting a small business many questions may arise.
Here are some frequently asked questions that many of our customers often ask:

I have a very small business. Should I form a corporation or should I register a trade name? 
We suggest that you seek legal advice if you are not sure if you should have a trade name or a corporation. A lawyer can help you decide which is best for you and your business depending on your situation. It is very important that you know and understand your legal rights and liabilities. Unfortunately our staff is unable to answer or give legal advice in this aspect.

What is the difference between a trade name (Sole Proprietorship) and a corporation? 
Trade names are business names registered to an individual or a corporation. You must register a trade name if you or your business:

– Is engaged in business for trading, manufacturing, contracting or mining purposes.
– If not associated in partnership with any other person or persons.
– Uses as his/her business name, some name, or designation other than his/her own.
– Uses his/her own name with the addition of “and company” or some other word or phrase indicating a plurality of members in the firm.

If I register a trade name, can anybody else use that name? 
The same trade name can be used by many people. Registering the name in Alberta does not mean that you own that name. You could have legal problems if you use a name that is the same, or nearly the same as an existing trade name, partnership name, corporation name , or trademark. You should always choose your name carefully.

We recommend that you get an Alberta Business Name Report (also known as a NUANS report) to see if the name is already in use. You can get a name search from our office. Your trade name cannot contain the words “Limited”, “Incorporated”, “Corporation”, or “Limited Partnership”.

Is there any government office that can give me the information about starting a small business? 
You can get information on starting a small business by calling “The Business Link – The Business Service Centre” at 403-221-7800.

Please click here for registration forms for a Partnership Registration. After filling out this form, our friendly staff can assist you in registering your new partnership.

Corporation

A corporation, also known as a Limited Company, is a legal entity which is separate and distinct from its members (shareholders). Each shareholder has limited liability. A creditor with a claim against the assets of the company would normally have no rights against its shareholders, although in certain circumstances shareholders may be held liable. It is recommended that legal advice be sought. This type of business can be incorporated at either the federal or provincial level.

Ownership interests in a corporation are usually easily changed. Shares may be transferred without affecting the corporations existence or continued operation.

The following characteristics distinguish it from a partnership or proprietorship:

  • Limited liability – normally no member can be held personally liable for the debts, obligations or acts of the corporation beyond the amount of share capital the members has subscribed
  • Perpetual succession – because the corporation is a separate legal entity, its existence does not depend on the continued membership of any of its members.

Please click here for registration forms for an Incorporation of a business.
After filling out this form, our friendly staff can assist you in registering your new partnership.

The registration process will take 24 hours to complete.

Incorporating in Alberta:

Once you have downloaded the forms for Incorporating your business, a guide has been provided below to assist you in the registration process. This guide provided by Gold Key Registries is for you convenience. It is not intended to replace the Business Corporations Act nor is it meant to be an interpretation of this legislation.

How to Incorporate:

  1. Choose a name for your corporation. Once you have decided to incorporate, the first step is to choose a suitable name for your new corporation. Once you have chosen a name for you corporation you must obtain a Alberta Search Report (NUANS) to determine the availability of your proposed name. This search will determine if there are any other corporations with the same or similar name.The decision is yours wheather or not you can use the name you have chosen. To make this decision you should review the Alberta Search Report and Regulations to the Business Corporations Act. The original Alberta Search Report (NUANS) must be submitted for registration, along with incorporation documents within 90 days of the date the name was proposed.Numbered Companies
    If you choose to incorporate a numbered corporation, an Alberta Search report is not required. In item 1 of Forms 1, 3, and 6 the name should appear as ______ Alberta and your choice of legal element: Ltd., Limited., Corp., Corporation., Inc., or Incorporated.Example: ( ______ Alberta Ltd.) The number will be assigned at time of registration.
  2. File the following with Gold Key Registries Ltd.:
    1. Articles of Incorporation:
      Note: Any portion of the Articles of Incorporation that has more than 200 characters must be provided to Gold Key Registries by email to [email protected] or by USB.I – Name of Corporation
      The name must be identical to the name on the Alberta Search Report and must be uniform throughout the Incorporating documents.II – Classes and Shares
      The classes and any Maximum Number of Shares That the Corporation is Authorized to IssueOnly “no par value” shares can be issued under the Business Corporations Act. However, the incorporator may authorize different classes of shares. If different classes of shares are authorized, the privileges rights, restrictions and conditions attached to each class of shares must be stated, Further, the right to vote, the right to receive dividends, and the right to share the remaining property of the company on winding up, must be attached to one or more classes of shares, although they need not be attached to the same class. If only one class of shares is authorized then it is assumed they carry all the above rights.III – Restrictions on Shares Transfer
      Any Restrictions on the transfer of shares must be stated. If there are no restrictions, “N/A” or “NONE” must be filled inIV – Minimum and Maximum Number of Directors
      A corporation may choose to have a specific number of directors (e.g. two directors) OR it may choose to have a range of directors (e.g. not less than one and not more than seven). If a range of directors is designated, ensure that both the minimum number of directors and the maximum number are stated. A Corporation which distributes shares to the public, and has more than 15 shareholders must have at least three directors.V – Business Restrictions
      If the Corporation is Restricted From Carring on a Certain Business, or Restricted to Carrying on a Certain Business, Specify the Restriction(s). If restrictions are to be placed on the business, a corporation may carry on, name the restrictions. If there are no restrictions, “N/A” or “NONE” must be filled in.

      VI – Other Provisions
      Any other provisions that you wish to include and that are permitted by the Act should be stated here. If there are no other provisions, write “N/A” or “NONE”. If you wish to include any provisions permitted by the Act, please specify them.

      Note on provisions:
      The Business Corporations act does not define “Private Company” as the Securities Act and Companies Act do. As a result, some small corporations under the business Corporations Act must also file under the Securities Act. You can avoid potential problems by including in the “Other Provisions” sections of the downloaded forms “Private Company” provisions that are defined under the Securities act.

      If these three provisions apply to your corporation, write them in:

      • The right to transfer the corporation’s shares is restricted
      • if you include this provision, make clear in item 3 of the form how the transfer will be restricted.
      • the number of shareholders is to be no more that fifty:
        -not including persons employed by the corporation, and
        -not including persons
        a) who were once employed by the corporation, and
        b) who held shares in it when they were employed by it, and
        c) who still hold shares in the corporation even though they are no longer employed by it
        Two or more shareholders who are joint registered owners of any number of shares are counted as one shareholder.
      • the public cannot be invited to subscribe to the corporation’s securities.

      VII – Date and Identification
      The Articles must be Dated and Identification provided by the Incorporator(s). The Incorporator’s address, including postal code, and identification must be completed in the appropriate space.

    2. Notice of Address
      Every corporation must have a Registered Office within Alberta, which is a place for service by delivery and must be accessible to the public during normal business hours. A rural route number or a post office box is not acceptable, as these do not identify the location of the Registred Office. If no street address is available, a legal land description is acceptable, provided that an Address for Service by Mail is completed with a post office box or rural route number.
      If the Corporation’s records are to be kept at a location which differs from its Registred Office, this address should be set out. A post office box or rural route number are not acceptable for the Records Office.If the Registered Office address is not a mailing address, and address for service by mail must be set out here (Rural Route or Box number ONLY)Please note:
      The Registered Office, Records Address, and Mailing Address MUST be in Alberta.
    3. Notice of Directors
      Director(s) at Present – The Directors’ full names, complete addresses, including postal codes, and a statement as to whether or not they are a resident Canadians must be set out.Resident Canadians – At least one half of the Directors of an Alberta Corporation must be resident CanadiansPlease Note: Corporations cannot be Directors.
    4. An original Alberta Search Report, less 91 days old, for the name appearing on the Articles.

Continuous Filing:

On the anniversary of incorporation, each corporation must file an Annual Return. A pre-printed form will be mailed to the corporations Registered Office or mailing address the month prior to its anniversary month by the government. If you fail to file this form, your corporation may be dissolved.

Within 15 days of a change of the following, you must file a notice with a Registry office using the following forms:

– Change of Registered Office Address
– Appointment / Change of Directors

A copy of the Business Corporations Act and Regulations may be obtained from:

Queen’s Printer Bookstore
Main Floor, McDougall Centre
455 6 th st S.W.
Calgary Alberta T2P 4E8
Or at http://www.qp.alberta.ca/

Other Business Type

  1. Limited Partnership
  2. Extra-Provincial Corporation
  3. Continuance to Alberta
  4. Continuance to another province
  5. Amalgamations

*If you do many corporate services you can open an account with Gold Key Registries and receive discounted prices.