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Setting up a “doing business as” (dba) name in British Columbia

First published on August 11, 2009

When we (my business partners and I) assumed ownership of Mugo Web, we decided to adopt the DIY approach for most of our corporate affairs. Since we had taken over a small-ish existing company, we didn’t have as much work to do to get everything in order, as compared to if we had set something up from scratch. However, we still want our customers to be paying for our website development work -– not for our lawyers’ per-email fees!

Our first order of business was to set up a “doing business as” name. The existing Canadian corporate entity that we took over had been operating under a long and relevant name to many existing clients. However, we needed to be able to move forward as “Mugo Web” while still keeping our old setup. In essence, setting up a dba name would allow us to officially operate as Mugo Web and also receive payments written to “Mugo Web”, without having to set up a new corporation, get another business number, and so on.

The process involved two simple steps.

First, we filled out the Name Approval Request Form available on the BC Ministry of Finance Corporate Registry site. Information required included applicant information, a description of the nature of the business, and our top three name choices. Along with a $30 application fee, we mailed the form to Victoria.

Three weeks later, we received notice of our name’s approval – our first choice was available! To complete our dba name process, we went to BC’s OneStop Business Registry website and registered a proprietorship under the name “Mugo Web”, owned by our existing Canadian corporation. This form was completed online, and required a $40 fee payable by credit card. We received instant confirmation of our registered proprietorship in PDF form, sent via e-mail. We forwarded that PDF to our bank account manager, and Mugo Web was officially born.

Mugo Web took $70 and an hour of research and filling out forms. It was well worth it!

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6 Responses to “Setting up a “doing business as” (dba) name in British Columbia”


  1. Ankit says:

    I tried to register a DBA name but my application was denied saying this name was not valid. This must mean that no other business can use the names I applied for also.

    Can I use that name anyway putting aside any trademark or copyright issues? Are there any other implications to using an unapproved name?

    Reply from Peter: Sounds like a good question to ask Small Business BC or the Business Registry.


  2. Ankit says:

    Question: Do you sell products and services under Mugo Web? Did you have to re-register for gst/pst etc under the sole proprietorship or did your original corporation gst/pst still valid?

    Our original corporation’s GST registration is still valid (our services do not qualify under PST). However, that’s because we’re still operating as that corporation — we just added the ability to operate under another name.


  3. Kelowna says:

    Nice, thanks for the information – the government sites aren’t exactly clear on how to make this happen so it’s good to hear from someone who’s done it before.


  4. Mick says:

    When you applied for your Name Request did you fill out your personal name in the applicant section or did you use the limited company name?

    Reply from Peter: If there’s already another field for company name, I think I used my name for the applicant name. If you’re unsure, you can always call OneStop — they’re very helpful.


  5. Narinder gill says:

    If there are more than one shareholders, whose name to be used as applicant in name approval request?

    Reply from Peter: I think any of the owners can make the application (we have multiple owners). I’d suggest double-checking with OneStop BC, though; they’re quite responsive.


  6. J says:

    Good crap here. Most things can be done via OneStop. As fro the last post on Nov 27th, when registration is done for trade name or DBA (doing business as) in the form of a sole proprietorship, you will at some point be asked for owner info. That’s when u enter the name of the corp otherwise the name of the person registered as owner for the sole proprietorship will assume 100% liability regardless of whether s/he is a shareholder of the corp.

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