Naming Your Corporation in British Columbia in 2024

By Nicole Hartle, Articled Student.

Choosing the perfect name for your corporation is a critical step in establishing your brand identity and market presence.

In British Columbia, Canada, there are specific rules you need to adhere to when naming a business. Understanding the naming rules is essential to ensuring compliance and to avoiding potential delays or complications in the name registration process. The rules include, but are not limited to:


The business name must be unique and distinct from existing business entities. This requirement helps prevent confusion amongst consumers and ensures that each corporation maintains its individual identity. Before settling on a name, it is advisable to conduct a thorough search of the Provincial and Federal corporate registries (as applicable), and of the Canadian Trademarks Database, to confirm the name availability and uniqueness compared to other corporations.

Descriptive Elements

Using descriptive terms that accurately reflect the nature of your business, and that are not misleading, are permitted. The more distinctive the name, the more likely it is to be accepted.

Corporate Designation

An incorporated company, cooperative or society must include prescribed designations in its name, such as: Limited, Ltd., Incorporated, Corporation, Limited Liability Company and Union, amongst others. This stipulation distinguishes between different business entities and provides clarity on an organization’s legal structure.

Prohibited Words and Expressions

Certain words and expressions are explicitly prohibited or restricted. Names that are vulgar, obscene and discriminatory will be rejected. Names that suggest connections to government, regulatory bodies or the Crown will not be accepted, unless written approval from an appropriate body is received. You may use “British Columbia” or “B.C.” without permission if this is added at the end of a business name, just before the corporate designation.


The business name must be in either English or French, or should include an English or French translation.

Other Considerations

Subject to compliance with the above rules, you can name your corporation using made-up words, numerals, your incorporation number and the full names of natural persons. Special characters, such as % and * etc., should be avoided. It is also essential to consider trademark registration for additional security.

To demonstrate the above rules, here are some example corporation names that will likely be accepted, and those that are highly likely to be rejected:

Likely to be Accepted

  • Malahat Book Shop Inc.
  • Stephanie Exxon Society
  • Crease Soccer Enterprises (1997) Ltd.
  • Salish Storage B.C. Corp.
  • Crown Ice Hockey Union

Likely to be Rejected

  • Book Shop Inc.
  • Exxon
  • Crease Soccer Enterprises***Ltd.
  • Salish Storage of B.C.
  • Crown Union

Navigating the intricacies of corporation naming can be challenging, and you must have the name approved before it can be used. Seeking the help of a lawyer can ensure compliance with all rules and simplify the process. If you require assistance with incorporating and/or naming your business, then please contact us. We will take care of the legal requirements, so you can focus on making your new business a success.

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