Business Names Renewal Consultation

What is this consultation about?

This consultation focuses on a renewal process for business* name registrations in B.C. including names of sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations that use a “doing business as” (DBA) name (also known as branding or trade name). It is believed that there are many businesses registered that have not been active for many years. Even though these businesses are likely no longer in operation their names continue to exist in the Corporate Registry. This is a challenge for new business owners who may want the same or similar name and for individuals and businesses seeking up-to-date information on businesses operating in our province.

*Business describes an activity that is done to produce income while sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations are a description of legal structure which a business owner might choose.

How would the renewal work?

The renewal process for sole proprietors and partnerships would require business owners to file a notice with the Corporate Registry to indicate that the business’s name registration remains current and operational. A renewal fee may be required for these businesses. The renewal process would look different for incorporated corporations using DBA names. For incorporated corporations using DBA names the process could coincide with their existing annual reports. 

What is the benefit of business name renewals?

The Corporate Registry is the single authority that holds all information related to businesses operating in B.C. including limited companies, cooperative associations, sole proprietors and partnerships, and not-for-profit organizations (societies). When registering a business, the first step is to research available business names. Once the names are registered, they remain in the corporate register until they are voluntarily dissolved by the business owner. In practice though, many businesses that are no longer operational remain in the registry indefinitely. Businesses that are no longer operational that appear during the initial search could limit the name and branding choices available to new businesses. A renewal requirement would remove business names that are no longer in use – making them available to new or existing businesses.

Another integral role of the Corporate Registry is to provide accurate information on registered businesses. Members of the public searching the Corporate Registry for business contact information can be confused by multiple, similar business names in the registry and they have no way of knowing which of the businesses remain operational.

This change would also serve as a reminder to businesses to periodically update their information with the registry. While businesses are required to update information on the registry, it is believed some information may be outdated as this requirement is not critical to the day-to-day operation of a business. 

Does this affect me?

If you are someone who operates an unincorporated business (sole proprietor or partnerships), or an incorporated corporation using a DBA name, this will affect you. If you fall into one or more of these categories, we want to hear from you.

Did you know?

The Corporate Registry has 800,510 businesses registered, but it is believed a significant number of these businesses, approximately 300,000, are no longer operational in BC. There is a discrepancy between the information found in the Corporate Registry and the number of businesses that are in operation in the province.

In Canada, B.C, Alberta and Nunavut are the only jurisdictions that do not require business name renewals. The other provinces and territories require renewals every 1-5 years (depending on the jurisdiction). Here is a chart listing the renewal periods and costs in other jurisdictions.

Renewal periods and costs








3 years



3 years



5 years




$37 (regular) 

$55.50 (priority)

Newfoundland and Labrador



Nova Scotia




3 years


New Brunswick

5 years



3 years


Northwest Territories

4 years





What can I do to help?

This survey is an opportunity to share your ideas and feedback on potential changes to the business names renewal process, including:

  • How might this change affect your business?
  • Have you ever run into any issues with your business name that was already in use by another business?
  • How often should business name renewals occur?

NOTE: For the complete list of questions click here.


Please note your participation in this survey is completely voluntary. Comments will not be attributed back to any individuals. We ask that you please do not include any personally identifiable information about yourself or others in your responses.

As this survey is hosted by Survey Monkey it is important that you understand your IP address may be stored in the host survey tool database. The government of BC will not be storing IP information and will be removing the survey from the host website no later than June 31, 2022.

The Ministry of Finance will be sharing comments it receives with other branches of government, specifically the Corporate Registry in the Ministry of Citizens’ Services. Even where confidentiality is requested, freedom of information legislation may require the Ministry of Finance to make responses available to those requesting access.

How to Participate

The deadline to complete the online survey or for written feedback is May 15, 2022.

Comments may be sent electronically to:

Comments may also be sent in paper format to:

Business Names Renewal Consultation    
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 9418 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC  V8W 9V1

Should you have any questions about the issues raised in this consultation, please send them to the above address and a member of the Finance and Corporate Sector Policy Branch will contact you.


Townhall: April 27, 2022 @ 5:30PM PDT via Microsoft Teams - SLIDES