How the Ontario Business Registry affects existing corporations

The Ontario Business Registry (OBR) was launched on October 19, 2021. This online platform seeks to allow various businesses in Ontario to transact online. Such transactions include information updates, registration, and inclusion. This new platform makes it easier for corporations to complete more than 90 transactions online as it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The goal of the new registry is to make business activities easier, faster and more convenient for Ontario-licensed and incorporated businesses. It also aims to remove regulatory roadblocks encountered by businesses as part of Ontario’s Red Tape Reduction Program.

This new registry will affect existing corporations in the following ways:

1. Changes in the submission of annual returns

Each year, businesses are required to file annual Ontario returns. This is an annual return on basic information of a corporation. Such information includes business names, corporation addresses, directors, officers and shareholders. If the corporation has a share capital, the return must be submitted within six months of the end of the financial year. Corporations that lack share capital, on the other hand, must submit returns within 60 days of incorporation or continuation. (1)

Before Ontario Business Registry Launch, corporations file returns and corporate income tax returns are submitted at the same time to the Revenue Agency (CRA). However, the CRA has announced that effective May 15, 2021, it will not accept returns from the government. Therefore, the corporation will use the registry to submit their returns after the date fixed for submission of annual returns is 18th October 2021. Alternatively, they may use other authorized service providers. (1)

However, companies or corporations that have acted as intermediaries will not be able to use the online registry to submit their returns. This category includes law firms and professional accounting (CPA) firms Instead, they can do it through authorized third parties. (1)

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2. Registry access

Existing corporations must have a company key to access their existing business information. This company key is similar to the personal identification number used to access other online accounts. A company key will be assigned to corporations with new business registrations in Ontario. However, all businesses included must request a company key before the registry launches. (2)

It may take up to a week or more for the mailing address of the company’s registered business to arrive. So, before applying for the company key, you need to make sure that your business information is up-to-date.

Once you’ve got the key, you’ll need to create a ServiceOntario account and a one-key ID for security reasons. ID is an electronic identifier that is unique to your business. With this ID, you can contact online government services. (2)

3. Changes to corporation information available to the public

All basic information about the Ontario Corporation is available in the registry. This information will be recorded and made available to the public Public search Under business law. In addition, a basic search is free for users so that the public can easily access any basic information about your company. Such information includes the business name, previous business names if it is changed, the type of business entity, when it was incorporated, the date of continuation, the business corporation number and the location of the head office. (1)

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More detailed information, such as business profiles and company reports, can be accessed for a fee. However, administrative information such as contact information and official email addresses for filing is not shown in the public records. (1) (2)

4. Efficient transactions after closing personal services

Previously, individuals and corporations could go in person and file many standard documents, such as a master business license, resources, notice of change, among others, in Service Ontario. However, effective October 18, 2021, the office was closed, and the filing stream was moved to OBR. This means that existing corporations will no longer have access to the personal services provided by Ontario. (3)

This change has also resulted in an update of the Business Corporations Act. The new law, popularly known as the ‘Better for People, Smarter for Business Act’, aims to help businesses in Ontario. Moving with technology Makes it easier for people to deal with business or government with business. This is positive for existing corporations because they will operate more efficiently. (3)


OBR is an important step for businesses to embrace technology. This means that businesses can make transactions and communicate with the government online, making the most of their activities. In addition, it will help to provide information for customers who want to work with the business.

Although the move may seem complicated to existing corporations, because they have to apply for a company key among other things, in the end, it is for the best.


  1. “Everything you need to know about the new Ontario Business Registry”, source: Https: //
  2. “Ontario Business Registry”, Source: Https: //
  3. “Ontario Business Registry”, Source: Https: //

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