How Names are Evaluated

When you submit your proposed entity name to the Corporate Registry, it is checked against the names of existing businesses to verify that it is not too similar to any of them.

The Corporate Registry system does not take any of the following name elements into account when it performs a similarity check:
  • Noise words such as “and” or “the.”
  • Internet prefixes and suffixes such as “www” or “.ca.”
  • Punctuation.
However, the system does evaluate synonyms, such as “building” and “construction.” It also compares elements that sound the same, such as “J” and “Jay.”

If your entity name is found to be too close to an existing name that has a common distinctive element, you can try adding a second distinctive element to your name to help distinguish it. This may make the name acceptable. For instance, if you named your entity Regina Restaurant Inc., and there was an existing business called Regina Diner Ltd., your proposed name would be rejected. However, a name like Mary’s Regina Restaurant Inc. would be acceptable.

You can also try to obtain the existing business’s consent to use your proposed name. You may be allowed to use the name if consent is offered.

If the only difference between your entity name and the name of an existing business is the year, you will need the existing business’s consent and agreement to dissolve, cancel or change its name before you can use your proposed name.

NUANS Searches

If your proposed entity name meets Corporate Registry rules, it will be checked against the names in the federal Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS) database. The point of the NUANS search is to make sure that your entity name does not:
  • Infringe on any existing trademarks.
  • Match the names of any businesses that are registered federally. These businesses have the right to use their names across Canada.

The Corporate Registry will not know if your proposed name is available for you to use until after the NUANS search is done.