Changing Your Corporate Name?

Throughout the course of its commercial life, a business may decide to change its corporate name for multiple reasons. Whether it be for rebranding purposes, to obtain a competitive advantage or any other reason, all corporations follow the same general steps to change a corporate name.

As a first step, the company should review its agreements with its lenders and investors to confirm whether consents are required from those parties to change its name. Once any consents are obtained, and depending on the jurisdiction of incorporation, a Canadian corporation may be required to provide some or all of the following to the appropriate governmental authority to change its name: (i) a name search showing that the chosen name is available; (ii) approval of the name change by either the directors or shareholders; and (iii) articles of amendment outlining the change of name.

Once the name of the corporation has been formally changed by articles of amendment, the company will need to ensure that its name is updated everywhere the company name is used including with customers, suppliers, governmental agencies, and other parties who do business with the company. Please find below a short list of typical updates that may be required after a name change, but note that this list is just a sample of typical updates and each company may have a different list of updates that are required.

  1. The following entities should be notified of the corporate name change:
    1. Bank
    2. Canada Revenue Agency (corporate income tax, GST/HST account, employer, customs)
    3. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
    4. Provincial authorities (if the company is registered to do business in other provinces)
    5. Payroll company
    6. Insurance company
    7. Customers
    8. Suppliers
    9. Utility companies (i.e. gas, internet, water, phone, etc.)
    10. Landlord
    11. Other creditors of the company
    12. Advisors and investors
  2. The following corporate items should be updated:
    1. Business cards
    2. Marketing materials (i.e. corporate logo, advertisements, stationery, etc.)
    3. Website and social media information
    4. Invoices, purchase orders and other financial documents
    5. Share certificates
  3. Registering the name change on title of any owned real estate
  4. Registering the name change for any existing trademarks or registered IP

If you have any questions about changing your corporate name, please do not hesitate to contact one of our lawyers.

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