Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island, Canada

Starting a Business

Starting a business can be rewarding, but also challenging. While the freedom of self-employment is appealing, there can also be less financial security and fewer benefits - like medical and life insurance, vacation time, retirement plan, etc.

Unlike in some other countries, it is fairly easy to start a business in Canada. There are no restrictions, such as minimum education to start a certain type of business, or minimum capital. So anybody with an idea, talent and an entrepreneurial spirit can give it a try.

Depending on your ambition, capital and capability, your business can range from one-person freelancing operation to a larger company with many employees.

However, many new businesses fail within their first three years. The best way to succeed in business is to be well prepared. There are many resources to help you start a new business, buy an existing business or a franchise, or invest in a business in Canada. You can get assistance with:

  • business plan development
  • business start-up
  • investing
  • marketing
  • exporting
  • loans and financial assistance
  • tax incentives

[See Related Resources]

Which advice you need and how much effort you need to put in the planning will depend on the scope of the business.

Registering a Business in PEI

First you need to decide which type of business fits your needs. Depending on the scope of the undertaking, you may need to consult an accountant or a lawyer in the process. Your business can be a:

  • sole proprietorship
  • partnership
  • incorporation

Business Name Search

Unless operating under the owner's name, all businesses in PEI must have their names registered. Once you decide the name of your business, you need to make sure that it is not already taken by requesting a name search from the Consumer, Corporate and Insurance Division of the Department of Justice. If the name is already taken or too similar to a registered name, you will need to come up with another name.

Before you request the official name search, you can check if the name is taken by searching the Corporate/Business Names Registry. [See Related Resources]

Once you have successfully completed the official name search, your name will be reserved for 90 days.

Registration and Publication of the Business Name

The next step is the registration of the business name for your sole proprietorship, partnership or incorporation. You will need to complete the Declaration for Registration of a Business Name for the appropriate type of business. This form, along with the fee of $60, is sent to the Consumer, Corporate and Insurance Division. The fee includes the charge for the registration, and the publication of your business name in the PEI Royal Gazette. The Royal Gazette is an official listing of government documents.

Regardless of the business type, a registered business name has to be renewed every 3 years.

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Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island, Canada © by Immigrant & Refugee Services Association of PEI (IRSA) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

We have made every effort to ensure that the information in this Guide is accurate and up-to-date. If you find of any errors or omissions, please contact us.