If you use a business name (sole proprietorship) or form a partnership in the Northwest Territories, you must register your business name with Corporate Registries. Registering defines your business as a legal entity; determining who can make decisions and who is liable for damages caused by the business.
Specifically, the Partnership and Business Names Act requires registration of a business name if you:
- use a business name that is not your own name;
- are engaged in trading, mining, or manufacturing; or
- form a partnership.
You are only exempt from registration if you conduct business using your own, exact legal name. For example, if your name is "John Smith" and you conduct business as "John Smith Consulting", this is still a business name requiring registration because "Consulting" is not part of your legal name.
The standards applied to a business name or the name of a partnership under the Partnership and Business Names Act are similar to the naming standards that the Registrar applies to those incorporated under the Business Corporation Act. This includes ensuring the name is not the same or confusingly similar to that of an existing business and must conform with all legislation.
Registering your business name (sole proprietorship) or partnership is only one of the steps involved in organizing your business within the Northwest Territories; there are other requirements which you will need to consider. It is your responsibility to identify and fulfill the legal requirements for operating your business; however, for your convenience, we provide a list of resources for businesses which you may find useful.
If you are thinking about incorporating your business, remember that you can always register a business name (sole proprietorship) or partnership, and then incorporate at a later date when it is advantageous to do so. You may wish to seek professional advice to make the best decisions for your business.
You can search for business names (sole proprietorships) and partnerships, territorial and extra-territorial corporations, non-profit societies, co-operative associations, and other entities registered in the Northwest Territories online using the Corporate Registries Online System. Basic information such as the legal name, status, and type of organization is available free of charge. A full entity profile including scanned copies of documents filed by the organization can be accessed for a fee.