The Canadian Federal Government is Considering a One-Stop Shop for Corporate Searches in Canada

One of the significant issues with conducting corporate registry searches in Canada is the fact that the division of powers between the Federal Government and provincial governments allows for the incorporation of businesses at either the federal or provincial level. It is somewhat unique as most jurisdictions in the world allow for incorporation at either the provincial/state level or at the federal level, not both.

There are certain administrative headaches that are associated with that jurisdictional divide from a corporate management perspective. There are also headaches from an open-source (OSINT) research perspective as you may have to conduct inquiries across the provinces to ascertain whether or not a company is incorporated federally, provincially or in a combination of the above. The fees for the information also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The NUANS system helps as it may identify the locations in which a company has been incorporated, but it doesn’t provide access to the underlying corporate documentation.

The Federal Government appears to be attempting to address this issue. A tender was published to day on the Government’s Tender Site for a “Multi-jurisdictional registry access service (MRAS).” At this point the project is at the concept stage. They are looking for consultants to assist them to “develop a proof of concept of a registry access service that will demonstrate a reduction of burden on corporations in the area of multijurisdictional searches, registrations and reporting.”

Our view is that a one-stop shop that would allow for multi-jurisdictional access to underlying corporate information would be very helpful from an investigation perspective. It would save time and support a more consistent cost structure in research assignments.