BC Small Business Services and Resources

Home Francais Small Business Import/Export Search About Us  

BC Small Business Service Startup Finance
Export Canada Business Idea Sample Business Plan







Last Edited
August 16, 2004

SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP |back to business registration|

Sole Proprietorship

The simplest form of a business is a sole proprietorship. One person performs all the functions required for the successful operation of the business and assumes all the liabilities. The proprietor is said to be self-employed.


When two or more people or corporations arrange to carry on business together they can decide to form a partnership. The Partnership Act describes two main types of partnerships - general partnership and limited partnership. In a general partnership the partners are responsible for all aspects of the business including the debts of the partnership. In a limited partnership there are two types of partners - general and limited. Each type of partner has different rights and responsibilities. Generally speaking, there is a limit on the liability of a limited partner, while the general partner's liabilities are not limited.

The procedure to register your business will now be explained in a step by step format.
Note that this procedure has been greatly improved with the introduction of Onestop Business Registry. By using the Onestop website to register your sole proprietorship/general partnership, your registration will be processed automatically by the on-line system, allowing you to recieve your registration number immediately (as opposed to up to 4 weeks using the form). In order to register your business using the Onestop website, you must still first manually complete and submit a Name Approval first using the Name Approval Form (pdf document)

1/ Name approval. The first step to register your business is to get a business name reserved. Please note, sole proprietorship or partnership names are not protected and can be used by other businesses. Sole proprietorship and partnership names cannot use any form of corporate designation, for example Limited, Ltd., Inc., Corporation. Please see the section on Name Reservations for complete information.

2/ Fill out a Statement of Registration of General Partnership or Sole Proprietorship form (pdf document) . Ensure all appropriate areas are completed and information is correct.

Submit your Registration form with the prescribed fee. Please note you must have a name approved prior to filing your declaration. Forward the completed form and fee to the Registrar's office in Victoria. Your Registration must reach the Corporate Registry prior to your name expiry date, if not, you will have to reapply for the name and again pay the prescribed fee.

Processing of your registration. Once your request reaches our office, it normally takes seven working days to process your declaration. A certified copy of your declaration will be returned to you by mail. If you do not receive your certified copy within four weeks, please call our office.
The Partnership Act regulates how sole proprietorships and partnerships are registered. You can order a copy of the act by calling Crown Publications in Victoria at 250 386-4636 or International Travel Maps & Books in Vancouver at 604 687-3320.

You do not need a lawyer to register a sole proprietorship or partnership. We do suggest you get legal advice if you are not sure if you should have a sole proprietorship or partnership registered or an incorporated company. It is very important for you to know your legal rights and liabilities. Our staff cannot provide legal advice.
A document explaining the differences between Proprietorship, Partnership, and
Corporation is available on this website.

bottom banner
  Canada / British Columbia Business Services Society
601 W Cordova Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 1G1
BC: 1 800 667-2272 Van: 604 775-5525