It has come to our attention that on October 19th, the Ontario Government released its new business registry platform. This platform allows anyone to search the business registry and obtain information about any Ontario registered businesses. The information displayed within a search includes the corporation’s full name, incorporation date, and registered or head office address.
Due to the naming conventions that are required with Professional Corporations, a simple search of a practitioner’s name will likely show results indicating the name of their corporation. Many businesses that do not work out of one specific location were set up with their personal residence as their registered office.
There are obvious risks associated with having a personal residence listed online and available to the public. We have found that after incorporation, this is not something that is regularly reviewed, so we encourage everyone to enter their corporate name in the search and see what is listed as their registered address.
If you find that your home address is listed as the registered address online, we recommend that you change it.
How to change
The process of changing your registered address for the company in Ontario requires a number of steps, including the passing of certain resolutions. We recommend that you engage your lawyer to initiate a change, however, third-party service providers can also provide this service. The province lists ESC Corporate Services Ltd as an authorized service provider, and some clients have had success using them.
What should I use for a registered office address?
The registered office of a corporation is the location officially designated with the provincial registry. The registered office should be the principal place of business of the corporation. It does not have to be an “office”, but it should be a physical location where you conduct work. It should be a full address and cannot be a PO box. While there is the option to introduce a “virtual office” as a registered office address, we recommend a physical place of business first. This can be a hospital, clinic, or any other physical location.
This Ontario Business Registry Platform was implemented without sufficient consultation or advance notice to those impacted by the new service. While this information has been available in the past, it required multiple steps to access the information and often required a paid search. The implementation of this program has introduced risk to many healthcare practitioners who deal with high-risk members of the public.
If you wish to make a complaint to Service Ontario regarding this change you can contact the Service Ontario Experience Office by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few clients have mentioned they intend to raise their concerns with the information and privacy commissioner of Ontario. More information on the complaint process can be found on their website
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your TPC Financial Group advisor if you have any further questions or concerns. Please feel free to share this newsletter with any colleagues who you think will find this information helpful.