What’s in a Corporate Name


Northwest Territories (R-018-98)

January 27, 2023 

On January 27, 2023 the Commissioner, on the recommendation of the Minister, under section 267 of the Business Corporations Act ordered an amendment to the Business Corporations Regulations.

The Business Corporations Regulations are amended by substituting the definition of “business entity” in Subsection 11(2) with “business entity includes: a sole proprietorship, a corporation, a partnership, a trust, an association, a syndicate, and an organization group of persons whether incorporated of not.  

In addition replacing Subsection 23 with “No corporation shall have a name that:

(a) contains only words that are so general that the name would, if used, 

(i) not meaningfully identify the corporation,

(ii) not meaningfully distinguish the corporation from other business entities, or

(iii) prevent other business entities from using a common term;

(b) is only descriptive, in any language, of the quality, function or other characteristics of the goods or services in which the corporation deals or intends to deal

(c) is primarily or only the name or surname of an individual who is living or has died within 30 years preceding the date of

However, the Registrar may allow the use of a name that would otherwise contravene the above if the name has through use acquired a meaning that renders the name distinctive.

When starting a business in the Northwest Territories most companies will likely have to deal with Corporate Registries in some form. While some confusion is created due to the requirement to register a business name in accordance with section 48 of the Partnership Act. It is required that every person who is engaged in business in the Northwest Territories to register their business name.

The business name declaration is to be completed by any person or company conducting business in the Northwest Territories who is currently using a business name other than their own name or is using their own name, but with an element added, which indicates that more than one person is operating the business. For example, a person operating a sole proprietorship under their own name ‘Jean Doe’ need not register, but a person using the name ‘Jean Doe and Company’ must register.

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