Setting Up an Alberta Corporation

If you are looking to register a business in Alberta there are various points that you need to consider, such as what type of business you are registering and whether you want to be a sole proprietor, a partnership or a limited company.  Registering a name for a partnership or sole proprietorship in Alberta is as simple as providing the required information and paying the appropriate fee, usually around $30.00. However, setting up an Alberta Corporation is a much longer and more expensive business.

First off you need to choose your business name.  You must prepare a statement stating your chosen name, a description of the nature and structure of your business and what type of corporation you are setting up. This will depend solely upon how many shareholders there are and whether you are going to be issuing shares to the public or not.  There are 3 types of corporation:-

  • Less than 16 shareholders;
  • 16 or more shareholders with no shares issued to the public;
  • 16 or more shareholders with shares issued to the public.

The last one is the most heavily regulated type of corporation in Alberta.  Your business statement must show if there are any restrictions on the transfer of shares.

In order to set up your corporation in Alberta you will need to order a NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) report, required by law.  This is a system that compares your proposed business name to the database of existing company and business names to see how similar it is.  If your name is available it will be held for you for a period of 90 days.   If your paperwork has not been submitted for registration within this time you will lose the name and will have to start again.  Be aware that if your name is too similar to others the Registrar can force you to change it.   If your chosen business name is a number a NUANS report is not required. However, the word “Alberta” must be evident in the name, i.e. 123456 Alberta Ltd.

Once you have your NUANS report you must take it with all of your other business information to an accredited service provider in order to register your Alberta Corporation.  The cost for this will depend upon the service provider you choose and the complexity of your business.  You must provide, as part of your statement, a list of the directors and their addresses.  At least 25% of your directors must be Canadian citizens.  Your business must have a registered Alberta address by law that can be visited by the public during working hours. You must also supply an address where all of your records are kept if it is not the same one.

Your chosen service provider will go through all of your information to ensure that it meets the legislated requirements for Alberta. Provided your paperwork is all in order your service provider will issue you with a certificate of Incorporation and you are ready to start operating your incorporated business in Alberta.