If you’ve come up with a great business idea and are ready to start your company in Ontario, then your next step may be to apply for a master business license.

There are many important things to think about as a new business owner, such as landing your first clients, having business cards made, setting up your POS system, and figuring out how to open a corporate bank account.

However, one of the most important things that you’ll need to ensure is that your business is running legally. That’s why it’s key to register a business in the province of Ontario for a master business license (MBL).

Related: How to register small business in Ontario

This article will answer the following commonly asked questions about this process:

  • What is an Ontario master business license?
  • Do I need a master business license?
  • What is the application process for a master business license?
  • Can anyone register for a master business license?
  • How much does it cost to get a master business license?
  • What do I need to do if I want to cancel a master business license?
  • Do I still need insurance for my business?

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7 FAQs About Master Business Licenses in Ontario

1. What is an Ontario master business license?

This type of license is a document that lists your company name, number, address, and business activity.

In addition to your company information, a MBL will also state the kind of venture you have, such as limited liability partnership, sole proprietorship, or extra-provincial limited liability partnership.

2. Do I need a master business license?

If your company falls under a sole proprietorship or partnership, and you wish to do business under a name that differs from your full name or the full names of your partners, then you’ll be required to get this license in order to operate.

However, if you’re planning to incorporate your business instead of registering as a sole proprietor, then you typically don’t need a MBL. An Ontario corporation that wants to do business under a different name, such as a trade name, would need a MBL though.

3. What is the application process for a master business license?

Registering online for your MBL is fast and easy, and you can do so through the Ontario Business Registry portal. You can also complete your business registration online, by mail, or in person at any Service Ontario location.

4. Can anyone register for a master business license?

The registration requirements for a master business license in Ontario allow for most adults. Some important things to note are:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You do not have to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen (unlike when you incorporate a business). Though if you are unsure if your immigration status qualifies, then it is best to check with Immigration Canada.

5. How much does it cost to get a master business license?

Before registering, you may choose to generate a NUANS report to see if a business with your first choice of name has already been taken. These searches can cost between $8 and $26, depending on what records you would like to include in your search.

Once you’ve decided on your business name, you’re ready to register. While registering for a master business license online with the provincial government has a $60 filing fee, it is important to note that doing so in person or by mail through Service Ontario costs $80.

6. What do I need to do if I want to cancel a master business license?

You can amend or cancel a business registration in person at any Service Ontario location, by mail, or online through the Ontario Business Registry and Service Ontario’s Change of Business Information (COBI) tool.

At this time, you should also cancel the associated license and inform the Canada Revenue Agency of the cancellation. This will ensure that the abrupt end in your business activities doesn’t trigger an audit and affect your annual return.

7. Do I still need insurance for my business?

Every business needs insurance to protect them financially against any unforeseen and potentially costly events.

Your insurance policy is as unique as you and your business. Start your online application with APOLLO Insurance today and get custom coverage that’s suited to you and your venture.


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