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A few of my friends and I have started a business in Canada, and in our name we have "Co." at the end. We are deciding whether to register as a business or not, and are unsure as to whether we can continue to use `Co." in the name without registering.

In the choosing a name section of the canada corporation site it states:

The accepted way to include a legal element in a corporate name is to add a term to the end of the name such as Limited, Incorporated or Corporation, or contractions of these such as Ltd., Inc. or Corp.

Does this mean that "Co." indicates a corporation? If so, can we continue to use it if we decide to not register as a corporation?

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Co is not one of the words or phrases reserved for corporations. You can use it.

Canada Business Corporations Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-44) Section 10(1)

The word or expression “Limited”, “Limitée”, “Incorporated”, “Incorporée”, “Corporation” or “Société par actions de régime fédéral” or the corresponding abbreviation “Ltd.”, “Ltée”, “Inc.”, “Corp.” or “S.A.R.F.” shall be part, other than only in a figurative or descriptive sense, of the name of every corporation, but a corporation may use and be legally designated by either the full or the corresponding abbreviated form.

Keep in mind that registering and incorporating are two different things in Canada. The page that you linked to applies specifically to corporations. Not every business is a corporation but most provincial and territorial governments require that you register your business with them.

  • This answer is about corporations, not companies. All corporations are companies, but NOT all companies are corporations. That is why you don't see Co. up there. – gracey209 Sep 21 '15 at 18:23
  • So you are saying that a non-corporation can use Ltd or Corp in its name? – jqning Sep 21 '15 at 18:31
  • No. But they can use Co. – gracey209 Sep 21 '15 at 18:36
  • Co. Just denotes they are doing business. They are a company. All those things you site are companies, but companies need not be any of those things. – gracey209 Sep 21 '15 at 18:37
  • No. But they can use Co - Right, so if a non-incorporated company cannot use the words reserved in Section 10, then the section is about non-incorporated companies - by exclusion. – jqning Sep 21 '15 at 18:49
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Co. is company not corporation. You can do business as a d/b/a and use Co, without doing anything at all. You can register or not (if you have a good name and you want to keep it, register). You should, however, consider creating an LLC no matter whether you're a sole proprietor or 3 friends who make 10k a year: It's cheap and it removes your personal liability. Your company can go bankrupt and your personal property is safe. That is what I would do. You don't even need a lawyer...it's simple. However, to answer your question, you can continue doing what you're doing no problem.

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