Incorporation: Considerations and Process

AuthorJ. Anthony VanDuzer
The process of incorporation was brief‌ly desc ribed in Chapter 3. In this
chapter we will examine the process in detail. We will look at both the
legal requirements and some of the practical aspects of incorporation,
as well as some of the considerations related to which jurisdiction an
incorpor ator should choos e.
1) Incorporation
Under most Canadian corporate statutes, a corporation may be incor-
porated by one or more corporations or individuals, or a combination of
both. Although there are no qualif‌ications that must be met by corpor-
ate incorporators, under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA)
individual incorporators cannot be any of the following:
less than eighteen yea rs of age;
incapable; or
have the status of bank rupt (CBCA, s 5).1
If incorporation is under the CBCA, t he incorporators must f‌ile cer-
tain prescr ibed material with Corporations Canada, a unit of Innova-
tion, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry
Canada). If incorporating under the laws of a province or territory, one
must f‌ile the prescribed documents with the branch of the provinci al
or terr itorial government th at has re sponsibi lity for incor poration s.2
Under the CBCA it is necessar y to f‌ile the following:
Articles of Incorporation (s 6, Form 1);3
Initial Registered Off‌ice Address and First Board of Directors (ss
19(2) and 106, Form 2);
a name-search report on the proposed name of the corporation,
along with certain supporting information; and
the fee of $250.4
1 Similar prov isions are found in other corpor ate statutes modelled on the
Canada Busine ss Corporations Act, RSC 1985, c C-44 [CBCA]. E.g., Ontario
Business Corporations A ct, RSO 1990, c B.16 [OBCA], s 4(2); Alberta Business
Corporations Act, RS A 2000, c B-9 [ABCA], ss 5 and 7. The British Columbia
Business Corporations A ct, SBC 2002, c 57 [BCBCA] has no such requirement.
An individu al is incapable under the CBCA if t hey are “found, under the laws
of a province, to be un able, other than by reason of mi nority, to manage their
property or . . . decl ared to be incapable by any court in a ju risdiction outside
Canada” (s 2(1)).
2 See section C (“Juris diction of Incorporation”) in this ch apter for a discussion of
considerat ions relevant to choosing a jurisdiction for incor poration.
3 Under the BCBCA, it is nece ssary to f‌ile an incorp oration application, including
an agreement sig ned by the incorporators, and a rticles (ss 10–12).
4 The fee is reduced to $200 if i ncorporation is done online. The CBCA for ms
and other infor mation regarding incorpor ation are available online: w ww. /cd-dgc.nsf/eng /home. Forms may be f‌iled th rough the Online
Filing Centr e on the Corporations Canad a website, online: http://strategi s. /sc_mrksv/corpdir/cor pFiling/register.cgi?lang=e. O n incorpo-
ration, the corp oration’s name appears on the website. In O ntario, incorpora-
tion forms may b e obtained from the government of Ont ario website and then
f‌iled through se veral primary ser vice providers who operate under cont ract
from the Mini stry of Government and Cons umer Services. See onl ine: www. /page/inc orporating-bu siness- corporation#s ection-1. The service
providers cha rge additional fees. In Briti sh Columbia, the necessar y forms are
contained in t he schedules to the BCBCA and can be dow nloaded from the
website of the Min istry of Finance’s Corporate O nline: www.corporateonli ne. online/colin /accesstr ansaction / iew
&f‌ilingTypeCode=ICORP&from =main and f‌iled electronic ally.
Incorporat ion: Considerations and Process 161
a) Ar ticles
As noted in Chapter 3, the articles are by far the most important of the
documents f‌iled on incorporation because they set out the fundamen-
tal character istics of the corporation: its name; the province or terri-
tory within Canada where its registered off‌ice is to be situated; the class,
number, and characteristics of sha res it is authorized to issue; the num-
ber of directors; any restrictions on transferring sha res; and any restric-
tions on the business t he corporation may carry on. Each of these items
is discussed below in turn.
i) Na mes
The problems associated with corporate names are both legally and
practically complex. On a practical level, it is di ff‌icult to f‌ind a name
that is not already in use. Also, once an enterprise chooses a name and
starts to use it, t he name begins to have value as sociated with it. Apart
from any personal attachment one may h ave to a corporate name, it may
acquire substantia l f‌inancial value acquired th rough its use. A name
may be recognized by consumers or business customers as indicative
of prestige, product quality, or service. This sort of value is commonly
referred to as goodwill. The use of t he same or a similar name by some-
one else may be severely damaging to the goodwill associated with the
name. One policy behind name regulation is the protection of the legit-
imately created goodwill of a pa rticular busines s against appropriation
by others. There is also a general public interest in t he regulation of
names. The courts have stated t hat “the danger to be guarded against is
that the person seeing or hea ring one name will think it to be the sa me
as another which he has seen or heard before.5 In other words, name
regulation seeks to prevent confusion in the marketplace.
Legally, name regulation is a tangle of provincial and federal juris-
dictions. The CBCA and the provi ncial corporate statutes have provisions
regulating the us e of names by corporations incorporated under t hem.
In addition, the federal Trade-marks Act6 grants rights in names based
on their use in association with goods and services. Each province also
regulates the use of names by corporations (other than the names they
are incorporated with) with in its territorial jur isdiction, wherever they
are incorporated, and provincia l common law protects certain interests
in names through the tort of passing-off. The following subsections
outline brief‌ly the legal framework for the use of corporate na mes.
5 John Palmer Co v Palmer-McLellan Shoepack Co (1917), 45 NBR 8 at 56 (CA).
6 RSC 1985, c T-13 [TA].

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