How to Name a Business or Organization: Parts of a Name

An acceptable name typically consists of:
Parts of a name


Distinctive Element

A distinctive element can be a coined word, a geographical location, or a personal name. The distinctive element is important because it differentiates a name with identical or similar descriptive elements.

For example, names such as Tire Shop Ltd. or Shoe Store Ltd. lack a distinctive element and, as a result, such name requests would be rejected. These names would be approved if a distinctive element was added, distinguishing the name and the business from all the other tire shops and shoe stores such as Kitimat Tire Shop Ltd. or Linda’s Shoe Store Ltd.

For societies, names like Senior Care Society or Outdoor Recreation Club also lack a distinctive element. Benevolent Relief Senior Care Society or Fireside Outdoor Recreation Club would have been approved because the distinctive element separates these societies from other care societies and recreation clubs.

Descriptive Element

The descriptive element is useful in describing the nature of the business as well as expanding the options available. It allows for use of identical or similar distinctive elements, which might be desirable in developing a particular presence in the marketplace.

            Fernie Brake Shop Ltd.

            Kamloops Stationery Ltd.

Gentle Rain Fellowship of Faith Society

Gentle Teaching International Society 

A made-up word used with a geographical location, such as Altrex Canada Ltd., is distinct so a descriptive element is not required.

Corporate Designation

Limited Companies must have a corporate designation as the last word in the name. For example

  • Limited, Limitee (fr), Ltd., or Ltee (fr).
  • Incorporated, Incorporee (fr), or Inc.
  • Corporation or Corp.

Community Contribution Companies must have the words “Community Contribution Company” or the abbreviation “CCC” as part of its name.

Extraprovincial companies that are limited liability companies may have Limited Liability Company or LLC at the end of their name.

Not-for-profit societies or extraprovincial non-share corporations often have one of the following designations as part of their name:

  • Association, ASSN. or Assn.
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Church or Eglise
  • Club
  • Christian School
  • Fellowship
  • Foundation or Fondation
  • Guild
  • Parish
  • Society or Societe
  • Watershed

Cooperatives should have the word Cooperative, Coop, Co-op or another grammatical form of these words in the business name. other alternatives are Association, Society, Union, Exchange or similar word approved by BC Registry Services. Do not use not for profit or non-profit unless your co-op is a housing project.

Partnerships and proprietorships cannot use Ltd., Inc. or Corp. in the business names, but may use Company or Co. for limited partnerships.

Limited liability partnerships must use Limited Liability Partnership or LLP at the end of their business name.