A corporation is an independent legal entity that exists separate and apart from its owners (shareholders). Basically, the corporation acts as a ‘person.’
As a ‘person,’ a corporation can:
- buy, sell and own assets, including land
- make contracts
- be sued
You do not need to be a large business to register as a corporation. A small business with only one owner can register as a corporation.
If you need help deciding if a corporation is the best form of business, we highly recommend you get legal advice.
The service provider that processes your application will charge a government fee and a service fee.
See the Registry agent product catalogue.
How to apply
Step 1. Choose a name
An Alberta corporation name consists of 3 elements:
‘ABC Building Supplies Ltd.’ is an example of a corporation name that contains all 3 elements.
A distinctive element is a unique word or location that makes your corporation name different from others.
In the example above, ‘ABC’ is the distinctive element.
A descriptive element describes what the corporation does or what the corporation is.
In the example above, ‘Building Supplies’ is the descriptive element.
All Alberta corporations are required to have a legal element at the end of their name.
In the example above, ‘Ltd.’ is the legal element.
Accepted legal elements
The following legal elements are permitted by the Business Corporations Act:
- Unlimited Liability Corporation
The ‘Professional Corporation’ element can only be used for one of the following types of professions:
- Chartered Professional Accountants
Your corporation can also use a ‘number’ name, such as ‘785843 Alberta Inc.’
- the number portion of the name is assigned by Corporate Registry
- ‘Alberta’ always forms the second part of the name
You may choose one of the standard legal elements above.
Step 2. Get an Alberta NUANS report
You need to get an Alberta NUANS report and review it to make sure there is no other corporation with an identical name or a name that is too similar to your proposed corporation name. Unlike business names, identically named corporations are not allowed.
Find a NUANS service provider.
The NUANS report reserves the proposed name for 90 days. The complete report, whether an original or fax copy, must be submitted with the incorporation details and must be less than 91 days old.
You do not need a NUANS report when the proposed name will be a 'number name' assigned by Corporate Registry (for example, 9999999 Alberta Ltd.).
If another corporation feels your corporation’s name is too similar to theirs, they can file an objection with the Registrar of Corporations. If the Registrar agrees with the objection, your corporation can be forced to change its name.
Step 3. Collect information needed for incorporation
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Articles of Incorporation (PDF, 2 MB)
Notice of English/French Name Equivalency (PDF, 2 MB) (optional)
Step 4. Record your corporation’s address
The registered office needs to be a physical location in Alberta, so that the corporation can get legal documents delivered.
The records address, if not the same as the registered office, also needs to be physically located in Alberta.
You will need a mailing address in Alberta for the corporation if you do not have mail delivered to the registered office.
Notice of Address (PDF, 151 KB)
Step 5. Elect a director
Elect or appoint at least one director for your corporation and record that information on the Notice of Directors.
Directors must be adults and at least one quarter of the board must be Canadian residents.
Notice of Directors (PDF, 158 KB)
Step 6. Submit your application package
You need to take your forms to a registry agent or authorized Alberta service provider. You will need to bring:
- your incorporation information forms:
- Articles of Incorporation
- Notice of English/French Name Equivalency (optional)
- Notice of Address
- Notice of Directors
- NUANS report
- valid ID
- fee payment
If your information meets requirements, the service provider will enter it into the Corporate Registry computer system and give you a certificate of incorporation. You will receive an email when your federal business number is issued.
You can also register your corporation in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan if you plan on doing business there.