Update: The Canadian Federal Government is Piloting a Nationwide Corporation Search

When conducting company research in Canada, starting the search can feel a bit like the picture above. A company could be incorporated at the provincial or territorial level; or at the federal level, or information could be available from both jurisdictions. It is unlike other countries in the world where typically a company is incorporated at either the federal or state/provincial level.

In Canada, that could potentially mean looking at up to 14 different jurisdictions to find where your corporation of interest is registered, but this could be changing soon.

A year ago, we wrote about a tender issued by the Canadian Federal Government for a Multi-jurisdictional registry access service (MRAS) which would allow individuals to conduct a single search for information on corporations across Canada. That tool now appears to be at the pilot stage with the Federal Government, and the provincial governments of Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec all participating.

The tool is called the Business Registry Search. It will pull initial results from these four jurisdictions indicating whether or not a corporation is registered and which of the jurisdictions it is registered in.

Corporations Canada; and the Governments of Nova Scotia and Quebec do not charge for corporate information profile reports; whereas Ontario does and it has outsourced information retrieval to three service providers.

Currently, there is no simple way to do a search on the Government of Ontario website to get the corporate information a researcher is looking for; nor is there a paywall on the Federal Government’s Business Registry Search tool which would allow a researcher to pay for the information there. These would be helpful improvements to the service.

At the moment, the NUANS search is a better tool for conducting searches across the country (with the exception of Quebec) for identifying where a corporation is domiciled and which jurisdiction it is registered with. With that in mind, the Business Registry Search has the potential for increasing the efficiency and convenience of corporate registry research in this country.

Once they’ve tried the new tool, users can provide their comments here.

In the future, it is possible researchers will have one door to choose from, instead of 14 when trying to do company research in Canada. We are looking forward to the results of the pilot.

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