FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions About ESC

About ESC

ESC was founded in 2009 as a private Ontario Corporation offering search, registration, and corporate supplies services.

ESC’s 8,000+ clients include Canada’s major law firms, accounting firms, insurance companies, and financial institutions.

ISC (TSX:ISV) is the leading provider of registry and information management services for public data and records. Throughout our history, we have excelled at delivering value to government, to industry and to our community. We are the partner of choice for governments and private sector organizations seeking solutions across the information management spectrum. (ISC)

ESC Corporate Services Ltd. (ESC) the servicing division of ISC delivers cutting-edge technology uniting public record data, customer authentication, corporate legal services, and collateral management to support a wide range of customers within the Government, Legal, Financial and Corporate sectors across Canada.

About ESC's Services

ESC offers a wide range of services for new business owners. From incorporation and business name registrations to mandatory corporate filings, business renewals, corporate supplies and even online marketing support, our services are fast and reliable.

We offer a variety of services for financial institutions and insurance companies, including Know Your Client (KYC), entity validation, and customer on-boarding solutions. We’re committed to providing superior customer service to our clients in the financial industry, with accurate, relevant, timely information and fast turnaround times.
While our customer support staff includes law clerks, who provide expertise on our search, registration and corporate due diligence services, they’re unable to provide legal advice.

To set up, a Registry Complete account please email [email protected]

You don’t need to set up an account to use our services unless you want to. You can click the Login button which will take you to our Registry Complete platform where you can process impromptu transactions without an account, or you can request to set up an account with ESC. Registry Complete Login.

If you’re interested in ordering services online using our Registry Complete platform please click Login here or at the top of this page. The login button will direct you to our Registry Complete portal. 

About ESC's Customer Service

You can reach ESC’s customer service by email or by phone at 416.595.7177 (or toll-free at 1.800.668.8208). We pride ourselves on the quality of our customer service and will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Customer service is available during our normal business hours: Monday to Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm, except statutory holidays.

Incorporations

About Incorporation in Ontario

It’s a matter of personal preference. From a legal standpoint, there’s no difference in terms of which legal ending to use.
No. While a lawyer is a valuable resource for legal advice, you don’t need one to file an incorporation.

Yes, when filing your Articles of Incorporation, you can select a different legal ending from your proposed name.

It’s a matter of preference, but generally if you’re planning to operate under your corporate name, or if your corporate brand is important, then often a named corporation is better.
Your corporate number is the corporate identification number issued by the Ministry of Government Services and is different from the GST number issued by the Canada Revenue Agency.
It’s not a requirement. However, if you wish to do business in other jurisdictions in Canada, you’ll need to file an extra-provincial license or registration in that jurisdiction.

About Federal Incorporation

Even though a name search is a mandatory requirement, it’s not the same as a Federal Name Decision. A Federal Name Decision is the actual name pre-approval issued by Corporations Canada and is a guarantee that the name will be accepted for incorporation.

If your name has been rejected, you can request another name and apply for a Federal Name Decision again, or comply with the requirements outlined by Corporations Canada to use the proposed name.

Registrations & Filings

About PPSA Registrations

You can register a PPSA for a maximum of 99 years, and this is considered a perpetual registration. The fee for these types of PPSA registrations is $500.00.

About Business Name Registration

Types of business registrations include sole proprietorship, various forms of partnerships (including limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships), and corporate styles.

In Ontario, business registrations are active for 5 years, after which time they expire if they’re not renewed. Each province has its own regulations regarding the term of a business name registration.
No. If there’s been a change of businesses owner, you’ll need to file a new business registration.

No, a Corporate Profile Report isn’t required for business name registrations. However, we do suggest completing a preliminary name search to determine if your proposed business name is available.

Business names aren’t protected the way corporate names are, which makes it possible for someone else to register a business name identical to yours.
Corporations can register one or more business names to carry on business. These types of business names are referred to as Business Style or Operating As names.
Yes. Corporations can register as partners in any form of a partnership.

About Corporate Filings

You should file an Initial Return within the first 60 days after incorporation.

Any director, officer, or individual with knowledge of the corporation, such as your lawyer, can authorize the Form 1 filing.

A Data Extract is used to obtain the current information on file with the Ministry for your corporation. This service automatically retrieves all corporation information that may be changed, and ensures the names and addresses exactly match the current corporate record. ESC recommends using a Data Extract for filing an Initial Return/Notice of Change or Annual Return when changing director/officer information.

No. But we recommend ordering a Data Extract to verify existing information on file before making any changes in order to avoid filing duplicate or contradictory information.
Yes. Any new filings, regardless of the year for which they’re filed, override old Ministry information.

About Securities Filings

A Bulk Sales Act filing is the process of filing a Bulk Sales Affidavit and is a requirement when a business wants to sell its assets in bulk.
Securities Filings are various types of filings performed by lenders or creditors in order to secure their interests.

About PPSA Searches

PPSA stands for Personal Property Security Act.
You can perform a PPSA Search on an individual (with or without date of birth), corporation, business name, or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Some provinces also allow you to search by other serial collateral identification numbers, and, in all provinces except Ontario, by a registration number.
We recommend that you search former business or corporate names at the same time as you search for current names. The same applies to amalgamated entity names of a successor corporation.
No. You can only search exact business names in PPSA systems.
You can search an individual’s name using either specific (with a date of birth) criteria, or non-specific (without a date of birth) criteria. You can also search with or without an individual’s middle initial.

A Certified PPSA Search has the Ministry’s certification stamp. It is worth noting that certified search results are delivered the next day.

About Security Searches

Securities Searches include the following: Bank Act (s. 427), Bulk Sales Act, Litigation, PPSA, Bankruptcy and Official Receiver Searches, Real Estate, and Writs of Execution.
We offer ESR (Enhanced Search Report) services that automatically summarize all of your corporate and security search results into one comprehensive and well-structured summary.

Ontario Business Registry (OBR)

On October 19, 2021, the Ontario government launched the new Ontario Business Registry. Businesses will now have access to a new online registry to process various transactions. Government services will be accessible online 24/7, with instant fulfillment and automated notices. To learn more, please visit our OBR FAQ digital guide at: ESC’s OBR Guide.

About Business Name Searches

A Business Name is a registered name that is commonly used for businesses such as sole proprietors, partnerships, or additional operating names of a corporation. A corporation is considered its own “legal person” with its rights and liabilities, separate from its owners. Contact your legal advisor for detailed information about the differences.

An Enhanced Business Name Search is an Ontario search that provides you with a list of similar business names found for the name you entered.
An Exact Business Name Search looks for the exact business name only.

Yes, but this involves a manual search. In this case, ESC staff will take your order online and then conduct the search at the Ministry of Government Services. You’ll get the results online, in PDF format, via Registry Complete.

You may have received a Statement of No Match for one of the following reasons: 1. The business name was entered incorrectly for an Exact Business Name Search; 2. The business name has expired; 3. The business name has been cancelled; or 4. The business name doesn’t exist.

Documents shared by ESC

ESC can obtain copies of documents filed at the Corporate Registry that include, but are not limited to, the following: Articles of Incorporation, Amalgamation, Amendment, Arrangement, Continuance, Reorganization & Dissolution, Articles of Revival, Corrected Certificates, Application for authorization to continue, Restated Articles of Incorporation, Application for Letters patent/Amalgamation/Continuance, Application for Supplementary Letters Patent, Application for Revival, Surrender of Charter, Corrected letters patent/Supplementary Letters Patent, Approval of Public Guardian & Public Trustee.

A court/litigation search conducts a search at all provincial court levels to determine if any actions exist against individuals, corporations or business names. Photocopies or certified copies may be obtained from files when requested. Searches are normally conducted in the jurisdiction where the head office or assets of a corporation or business partnership is located, or where an individual resides.
A land search involves a search of title in the Registry and Land Titles systems in all jurisdictions across Canada. For a complete civic address, ESC first verifies at the municipal office the lot number assigned to the address. Then a search is conducted in the Land Registry to provide (a) Name and address of the current owner (b) Name and address of the previous owner (c) Date of last sale along with name of parties and amount of transaction (d) All liens registered on the property (e) Legal Descriptions (f) Copies of all instruments filed on title (g) Title Property search (Parcel Register/Abstract Only). ESC’s legal team can prepare the electronic/paper documents including, but not limited to, Charges/Mortgage, Fixture Filings, Leases, Notices, Transfers, Discharges, Certificates of Action, Construction Liens.
The customer on-boarding verification report (COVR) is an automated tool that scrubs the data received back from the provincial ministries following a corporate search and presents it to the client in a standard, easy-to-read template.