Register a business name

How it works

Learn about the various kinds of business names and decide if one of them is right for your business.
A business name doesn’t have a legal existence in its own right. It’s simply a name used by one or more persons to represent their business to the public. That means the sole proprietor or partners are personally responsible for the debts and obligations of the business.

Registering a business name doesn’t grant any right of ownership of the name. It’s simply proof that the name is being used by a particular business.

If you need help deciding if a trade name, partnership or corporation is the best form of business, it’s highly recommended you get legal advice.

There are 4 types of business names registered under the Partnership Act:

  • trade name (sole proprietorship)
  • partnership
  • limited partnership
  • limited liability partnership

Trade name

A trade name is used when:

  • an individual does business under a name other than their own personal name
  • a corporation does business under a name other than its legal name

A trade name is also known as a sole proprietorship.


A partnership is created when 2 or more individuals, or 2 or more corporations, do business together as partners. All partners share in the profits and the risks or debts of the business.

Limited partnership

A limited partnership consists of 1 or more general partners, and 1 or more limited partners.

Each type of partner has different rights and responsibilities. For example, a general partner is usually liable for the debts of the business, while a limited partner is usually liable only for the amount they have contributed to the business.

Limited liability partnership

A limited liability partnership consists of partners in 1 or more eligible professions, such as accounting or law. 

This type of partnership is similar to a regular partnership, except there is liability protection. A partner in a limited liability partnership is not generally liable for the negligence, wrongdoing, or misconduct of a partner, employee or agent.

Partners in a limited liability partnership may be individual practitioners or professional corporations.

Limited partnerships or limited liability partnerships based in other provinces must also register in Alberta when they do business here.

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Related services

Business Development Bank of Canada

Business Link

Small Business Alberta

Partnership Act

Consumer Licences

Consumer Licencing Forms