Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Banner
Government Home  > Service NS Home  > Nova Scotia Permits Directory  > Registry of Joint Stock Companies 
Ask Joe Howe Central  or try  How Do I Find... NS Permits Directory NS Government
Service Nova Scotia Home Government Home

Service NS Home

underline
NS Permits Directory

shim
Arrow Search the Directory
shim
Arrow Department Index
shim
Arrow Agency, Board, Commission Index
shim
Arrow Municipal Index
shim
Arrow Access to Business
shim
shim
Arrow Site Map for the Directory
shim
Arrow Questions and Comments
shim
Arrow About the Directory
Arrow Disclaimer

underline

About the Department
Online Services
Information Services
Services en français
Forms and Applications
Office Locations
Service NS Home

Contact Service Nova ScotiaContact Us

Registry of Joint Stock Companies

Business Name: Search and Reservation

Who Needs This Name Search and Reservation?
Anyone who wants to find out if a business name is already in use in Nova Scotia, and/or wants to reserve a business name for their own use.

Note: In Nova Scotia, having a business name reserved by the Registry of Joint Stock Companies is the first step in registering that business name for use in Nova Scotia.
(See Business Name Registration: Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships)
Issuing Department / Agency:

 

Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations

Where can you get this Search and Reservation?
  Contact: Registry of Joint Stock Companies
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
  Website: http://www.novascotia.ca/snsmr/access/business/registry-joint-stock-companies/contact.asp
  Phone:

902-424-7770 or the Access Nova Scotia toll free number: 1-800-225-8227 (All office locations)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (except holidays)
This telephone number connects you to an automated answering system, which gives you several options, including speaking to a member of the Registry staff.

  Visit:

Any Access Nova Scotia Centres
OR
Head office location:
Maritime Centre, 9 North
1505 Barrington Street (at Spring Garden Road)
Halifax, N.S. B3J 3K5
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (except holidays)

  Email: joint-stocks@gov.ns.ca
  Write: Registry of Joint Stock Companies
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
P.O. Box 1529
Halifax, NS B3J 2Y4
  Fax: 902-424-4633
Application Forms & Process:

 

A) You can get a form by: 
       (1) downloading from our website; 
       (2) visiting any Access Nova Scotia Centre; or 
       (3) calling, writing or visiting the Registry of Joint Stocks office listed above. 

B) You can apply online. To do this, you must be able to pay by Visa, MasterCard or American Express Credit Card. We cannot accept any form of Debit cards at this time.

If you wish to apply online, click here

The completed application is submitted to the Department, along with the applicable fee (see Price below).

When applications are sent in by mail, the fee for the Business Name Reservation must be paid in advance and is not refundable.

Applicants who want to reserve a business name are advised to have several alternatives. It is fairly common that first or second choices cannot be registered because (a) they are already in use, or (b) they are so similar to some name already in use that it could easily cause confusion.

The name reservation process has two stages: (1) a preliminary search of the Registry database of business names in use in Nova Scotia, and (2) a second, more exhaustive search by NUANS (an independent agency specifically responsible for federal and provincial name searches) of business names in use in the Atlantic provinces, plus federally incorporated companies and trademarks. (This is important because there is a reciprocal agreement between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which allows businesses properly registered in New Brunswick to carry on business in Nova Scotia without having to register again in Nova Scotia [and vice versa]. A business name registered in New Brunswick will not show up in the first, preliminary search.)

Preliminary Search: This search can be requested over the phone or in person, at the Registry head office or an Access Nova Scotia Centre.. If the search reveals a conflict with a name already in use in Nova Scotia, another name can be searched without charge. However, this search is "preliminary" and while it identifies many potential conflicts, it does not catch them in every single case (because, as mentioned above, it does not include the names in use in New Brunswick.) This is why the more exhaustive NUANS search is important.

The procedures for dealing with applications sent in by fax or by mail are different: there is no free preliminary search. The fee for the Business Name Reservation must be paid in advance and is not refundable.

NUANS Search: If the preliminary search of the Registry database of business names in use in Nova Scotia does not reveal a potential conflict, the applicant then submits a formal "Business Name Reservation Request", along with one name and the required fee (the fee is good for only 1 name search). This can be done over the phone if the caller has a Visa, MasterCard or American Express. If applying in person, the applicant can pay by cash, cheque, money order, Visa, MasterCard or American Express or debit.

The proposed name is then forwarded for the detailed NUANS search. This usually takes 3 business days.

Federal Search: If you intend to use your business name outside of the Atlantic provinces, NUANS also offers an option of searching all of Canada for potential conflicts. This is called a "Federal" search, and also usually takes 2 business days.

It is your responsibility as the applicant to contact the Registry (or Access Nova Scotia) to get the results of that search.

The decision of the NUANS staff conducting the search is usually final. If, in their opinion, the use of the proposed name would create a conflict, that name will not be registered for use in Nova Scotia by the Registry. However, if an applicant disagrees with a NUANS decision, they may write to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies explaining why they think the name should be allowed.

The proposed business name will be reserved for 90 days (only) if, once it has been searched, there is no conflict in use. During this 90 days, the applicant can proceed with Business Name Registration. After 90 days, the reservation expires and the applicant will have to repeat the application procedure, including paying another fee.

Waiting Period:
 

2 business days

Provided that all the items that must accompany the application have been received
(Please allow several extra days for mail delivery.)

Expiry & Renewal
  There is no free renewal. If the name reservation expires before it is registered, then the applicant will have to repeat the application procedure, including paying another fee, before that business name can be legally registered for use in Nova Scotia.
Price:   (tax is included)
  Atlantic Region Search: $59.25
Federal Search: $74.05

Note:  Fee must accompany application.
Related Requirements:
  None
Additional Information:
 
  1. There is no charge for Name searches undertaken as part of (a) Business Registration of a Nova Scotia Limited Partnership, or (b) Business Registration of an extra-provincial Corporation, or (c) Incorporation of a Society,

  2. The Internet edition of the Registry database is commonly 24-48 hours old; that is, after a name is registered for use in Nova Scotia, it may not appear on the Internet edition of the database until 1 or 2 days later.

  3. Many legal firms can do a preliminary business name search on the Internet version of the Registry database of business names in Nova Scotia, and some are equipped to search the Registry database directly.
Legislative Authority:
  Partnerships and Business Names Registration Act, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1989, Chapter 335


image image
image image
image image This page and all contents Crown copyright © 2014, Province of Nova Scotia, all rights reserved.
Please use the online inquiry form if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.