Multiple Registrations Lead To Costly Red Tape

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    Canadian businesses face costly red tape when they want to do business across provincial borders – a problem that is hindering business expansion and economic growth, says ‘Registering in Harmony: The Case for Pan-Canadian Corporate Registration,’ a report by the C.D. Howe Institute. It notes that while harmonization of corporate registries is proceeding apace around the world, in Canada, incorporated companies are required, in most cases, to register separately in every province where they want to conduct business. Registrations across multiple provinces often mean that companies operating across Canada have to provide similar information to many governments, often in different formats. Businesses must pay fees in multiple jurisdictions when they register or renew their registration each year. In most, they must also pay to maintain an attorney or ‘agent for service’ to represent the company within its borders. While most provinces have made efforts to streamline their internal corporate registration requirements, the goal of achieving pan-Canadian harmonization has remained elusive. The authors recommend relaunching a national process aimed at achieving a pan-Canadian system in which corporations need only register once to do business across the country.