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What Documents Do I Need To Incorporate a Company in Canada?

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Incorporating a company in Canada is a significant step for any business owner. It provides a legal framework for your business, protects your personal assets, and can offer tax advantages. However, the process requires careful preparation and a thorough understanding of the necessary documents and resolutions. This guide will walk you through the key steps and considerations.

Understanding Incorporation

Incorporation is the process of legally forming a corporation, a type of business entity that is separate from its owners. This separation provides a layer of protection for the owners’ personal assets in case of business debts or liabilities. In Canada, you can incorporate at the federal or provincial level, each with its own set of requirements and benefits.

Before you begin the incorporation process, it’s important to understand the implications and responsibilities that come with running a corporation. These include annual reporting requirements, maintaining a minute book, and ensuring proper corporate governance. It’s also crucial to seek legal and financial advice to ensure that incorporation is the right move for your business.

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Key Documents for Incorporation

The incorporation process requires a number of key documents. These documents provide the legal foundation for your corporation and outline its structure and governance.

Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is the primary document required for incorporation. It establishes the corporation’s name, its purpose, the number and type of shares it can issue, and any restrictions on share transfers. In Canada, you can use the standard form provided by Corporations Canada or create a custom document.

It’s important to carefully consider the provisions in your Articles of Incorporation, as they can have significant implications for your corporation’s operations and governance. For example, the type of shares you can issue can affect your ability to raise capital and the voting rights of shareholders.


Bylaws are the internal rules that govern the corporation’s operations. They cover topics such as the roles and responsibilities of directors and officers, the process for holding meetings, and the rights and obligations of shareholders.

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While bylaws are not required to incorporate, they are crucial for ensuring smooth operations and preventing disputes. In Canada, bylaws must comply with the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) or the relevant provincial legislation.

Resolutions for Incorporation

Resolutions are formal decisions made by the corporation’s shareholders or directors. They are used to approve key actions, such as incorporating the corporation, appointing directors, and adopting bylaws.

Resolution to Incorporate

The Resolution to Incorporate is a formal decision by the corporation’s initial shareholders to incorporate the business. It approves the Articles of Incorporation and appoints the initial directors.

This resolution is typically prepared and signed at the same time as the Articles of Incorporation. It provides evidence of the shareholders’ agreement to incorporate and their approval of the corporation’s structure and governance.

Organizational Resolutions

Once the corporation is incorporated, the initial directors hold a meeting to pass the Organizational Resolutions. These resolutions approve the corporation’s bylaws, appoint officers, and authorize the issuance of shares.

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The Organizational Resolutions are a crucial step in setting up the corporation’s operations and governance. They are typically recorded in the corporation’s minute book, a legal record of the corporation’s key decisions and actions.

Preparing for Incorporation

Preparing for incorporation requires careful planning and consideration. You will need to decide on the corporation’s structure and governance, prepare the necessary documents, and ensure that you meet all legal requirements.

It’s important to seek legal and financial advice during this process. Incorporation has significant legal and tax implications, and professional advice can help you make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls.

Finally, remember that incorporation is just the first step in running a corporation. Once your corporation is incorporated, you will need to maintain proper corporate governance, meet annual reporting requirements, and ensure compliance with the CBCA or relevant provincial legislation.

With careful preparation and the right advice, incorporating a company in Canada can be a rewarding step that provides a solid foundation for your business’s future growth and success.

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