Incorporate a business or organization

Alberta corporations

Learn how to incorporate your business.

A corporation is an independent legal entity that exists separate and apart from its owners (shareholders). Basically, the corporation acts as a ‘person’.

As a ‘person’, a corporation can:

  • buy, sell and own assets, including land
  • make contracts
  • sue
  • be sued

You don’t need to be a large business to register as a corporation. A small business with only one owner can register as a corporation.

If you need help deciding if a corporation is the best form of business, it’s highly recommended you get legal advice.

Cost

The service provider will charge a government fee and a service fee.

Registry agent product catalogue (PDF, 25 pages)

Note:  To download PDF documents, right-click and select 'save as' and save to your computer.

1. Choose a name

An Alberta corporation name consists of 3 elements:

  • distinctive
  • descriptive
  • legal

‘ABC Building Supplies Ltd.’ is an example of a corporation name that contains all 3 elements.

Distinctive element

A distinctive element is a unique word or location that makes your corporation name different from others.

In the example above, ‘ABC’ is the distinctive element.

Descriptive element

A descriptive element describes what the corporation does or what the corporation is.

In the example above, ‘Building Supplies’ is the descriptive element.

Legal element

All Alberta corporations are required to have a legal element at the end of their name.

In the example above, ‘Ltd.’ is the legal element.

Accepted legal elements

The following legal elements are permitted by the Business Corporations Act:

  • Limited
  • Limitee
  • Ltee
  • Ltd.
  • Corp.
  • Corporation
  • Inc.
  • Incorporated
  • Incorporee
  • ULC
  • Unlimited Liability Corporation

The ‘Professional Corporation’ element can only be used for one of the following types of professions:

  • Chartered Professional Accountants
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Optometry

Your corporation can also use a ‘number’ name, such as ‘785843 Alberta Inc.’

  • the number portion of the name is assigned by Corporate Registry
  • ‘Alberta’ always forms the second part of the name

You may choose one of the standard legal elements above.

2. Get an Alberta NUANS report

You need to obtain an Alberta NUANS report and review it to make sure there is no other corporation with an identical name or a name that is too similar to your proposed corporation name. Unlike business names, identically named corporations are not allowed.

  • If another corporation feels your corporation’s name is too similar to theirs, they can file an objection through the Registrar of Corporations
  • If the Registrar agrees with the objection, your corporation can be forced to change its name
  • You don’t need a NUANS report when the proposed name will be a ''number name' assigned by Corporate Registry, e.g. 9999999 Alberta Ltd.
  • The NUANS report reserves the proposed name for 90 days
  • The complete report, whether an original or fax copy, must be submitted with the incorporation details and must be less than 91 days old

Find a NUANS service provider

3. Fill out the forms

  1. 1.  Collect information needed for incorporation

    Articles of Incorporation (PDF, 2 pages)

    Notice of English/French Name Equivalency (PDF, 2 pages) (optional)

  2. Record your corporation’s address

    The registered office needs to be a physical location in Alberta, so that the corporation can get legal documents delivered.

    The records address, if not the same as the registered office, also needs to be physically located in Alberta.

    You’ll need a mailing address in Alberta for the corporation if you don’t have mail delivered to the registered office.

    Notice of Address (PDF, 2 pages)

  3. Elect a director

    Elect or appoint at least one director for your corporation and record that information on the Notice of Directors.

    Directors must be adults and at least one quarter of the board must be Canadian residents.

    Notice of Directors (PDF, 2 pages)

4. Take your information to a service provider

You need to take your forms to a registry agent or authorized Alberta service provider. You’ll need to take:

  • Your incorporation information
  • NUANS report
  • Valid ID
  • Fee payment

If your information meets requirements, the service provider will enter it into the Corporate Registry computer system and give you a certificate of incorporation.

You can also register your corporation in British Columbia or Saskatchewan if you plan on doing business there.

Find a service provider

Register an Alberta corporation in BC or Saskatchewan