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Last Edited
March 31, 2004

B.C. INCORPORATION |back to business registration|

Incorporation is the process by which one or more natural persons may form a limited company. There are many reasons why you might want to incorporate a company in British Columbia, but the four most common reasons include:

to create a legal entity;
to provide some protection for the name of the enterprise;
to provide limited liability to its members, thereby making investment attractive; or
to provide perpetual existence.

The Office of the Registrar of Companies acts as a vehicle for those who wish to incorporate according to the provisions of the Business Corporations Act.

Name Approval

You first must ensure the proposed name of the company is available. Please see the section on Name Reservations for complete information.

The name of an incorporated company must end with one of the following designations:

Limited or Limitee;
Incorporated or Incorporee; or
Corporation
The following abbreviations of the above are also acceptable:

Ltd. or Ltee.
Inc.
Corp.

If the name of the company is to be its incorporation number, for example 123456 B.C. Ltd., a name approval is not required and the number will be assigned at the time of incorporation.

Incorporation

Companies are incorporated in BC according to the provisions of the Business Corporations Act. When a company is incorporated, it acquires all of the powers of an individual, as well as an independent existence - separate and distinct from its shareholders - and an unlimited life expectancy. In other words, the act of incorporation gives life to a legal entity known as the corporation, commonly referred to as a "company." A company can acquire assets, go into debt, enter into contracts, sue or be sued.

Some of the implications of incorporating include higher start-up costs related to professional fees for legal and accounting services. Carrying on business as a company will increase the number of filings you are required to make. For instance, the Business Corporations Act requires all companies to file an annual report and also file any changes to the location of company offices and its directors. The company is also required to maintain certain corporate records.

As of March 29, 2004, the registration of an incorporation in British Columbia must be completed on-line.
More information on the incorporation procedure and the on-line registration is available at:
http://www.corporateonline.gov.bc.ca

 

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