Reserve a name for your business or non-profit

Businesses and non-profits need to apply to reserve a name. If Registry of Joint Stock Companies approves the name for your use, you can register or incorporate your business or non-profit, or change an existing name.

Apply to reserve a name for your sole proprietorship, partnership, company, society, co-operative or business name (operating name).

If Registry of Joint Stock Companies approves your proposed name, you can register or incorporate your business or non-profit. Or you can change an existing business or non-profit name.

You can’t use the name until Registry of Joint Stock Companies has approved it and you’ve registered or incorporated your business or non-profit.

You need to register and do business with the exact name that Registry of Joint Stock Companies approves.

Search type

Registry of Joint Stock Companies checks if your proposed name is different from other names by searching for conflicts in the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Corporations Canada and Canadian Trademarks databases.

Atlantic region and federal searches include a Nuans report. The Nuans report is a list of existing corporate and business names, as well as trademarks, that are similar to the one you’re proposing. The report helps you avoid choosing a name that’s already in use.

Choose the Atlantic region search if you only plan to do business in Nova Scotia. The Nuans report shows similar names with a focus on the Atlantic region.

Choose the federal (Canada-wide) search if you plan to do business beyond the Atlantic region or your name contains ‘Canada’ or ‘Canadian’. The Nuans report shows similar names from across Canada. If you’re going to do business in other provinces, you need to register in those provinces as well.

Eligibility

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, companies, societies and co-operatives need to apply to reserve a name. Incorporated companies, societies and co-operatives need to apply to reserve a business name (operating name).

How to apply

  1. Review the Guide to Choosing a Name and the Guide to Reserving a Name.
  2. Apply online to reserve a name.
  3. Submit your completed application.
  4. Registry of Joint Stock Companies checks if your proposed name is different from other names by searching for conflicts in the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Corporations Canada and Canadian Trademarks databases.
  5. If Registry of Joint Stock Companies approves the name or approves it with conditions, you have 90 days to register or incorporate your business, society or co-operative. If you don’t register or incorporate within 90 days, the name reservation expires and you have to submit another name reservation request. You also have to pay the fee again.
  6. If Registry of Joint Stock Companies approves the name with conditions, you need to meet all the conditions before you can register or incorporate.

How long it takes

It should take 2 days to get the name reservation results. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your application hasn’t been filled in correctly.

After you submit your application, you can check the status of your name reservation.

Cost

Activity Fee
Atlantic region search $61.05
Federal (Canada-wide) search $76.25

There’s no cost to reserve a name for a:

  • numbered company
  • extra-provincial corporation (company already registered in another jurisdiction)
  • society
  • limited partnership
  • condominium
  • credit union
  • company name that’s the same as a registered sole proprietorship or partnership (for example, a sole proprietor who now wants to incorporate using the same name they’ve already registered)

Payment options

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Interac® Online, debit card, cheque, money order, cash. A cheque or money order should be made payable to the Minister of Finance. Payment options may vary depending on how you apply.

Before you start

Make sure you:

Apply online

When you apply online you need to create an account or sign in.

Start now

Other ways to apply

You can use the Name Reservation Request Form (PDF 1.1 MB) if you’re unable to apply online. Send your completed application by mail or fax. Or call or visit Registry of Joint Stock Companies or Access Nova Scotia.