The New Ontario Business Registry

The Ontario government recently announced the Ontario Business Registry, which would allow corporations incorporated under the laws of Ontario to handle all of their corporate matters online. The new system will launch on October 19, 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a welcome change as we were all forced to work from home for the better part of nearly two years, so users will now be able to deal with corporate matters from the safety of their own home. Lockdown or not, the Ontario Business Registry will be available 24 hours, seven days a week. An online profile will be available to any business that’s registered, incorporated, or licensed to carry on business in the province.

According to the Ontario government, the new registry would allow owners to complete over 90 transactions, including the following tasks:

  • Register a new business or dissolve an existing business;
  • Register or update a business name; and,
  • File notices or other documents under various business law statutes.

In order to get your business started with the new system, you will need to provide an official email address that the provincial government will use to send you instructions on how to access your business profile, and the corporation’s Ontario Corporation number or Business Identification Number. This can be done online with the following link.

The new system will also allow professionals such as your Welch representative to perform these transactions on the corporation’s behalf. On the launch date, representatives will be able to perform transactions via authorized Service Providers or by mail. No date is mentioned yet, but in the future, representatives will be able to complete transactions directly in this new system.

But not all of the changes with the introduction of the Ontario Business Registry are welcome. Corporations used to be able to file their annual Corporations Information Act annual return (Ontario, foreign, and Ontario not-for-profit) with their T2 corporate income tax return, which made filing very convenient. However, as of May 15, 2021, this return can no longer be filed through CRA, and CRA won’t provide these schedules on their website for download as of May 7, 2021. However, from May 15 until October 19, 2021, corporations are temporarily exempted from the annual return filing if the return is due during this period.

Visit the Ontario government website for more information or contact your Welch LLP representative if you have questions.

Edwin Ma, CPA

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