Navigating the Ontario Business Registry

Administering Small Business

Ontario Corporation Informational Return Filing Instructions

The Change

Ontario Corporations must file their Ontario provincial returns through the Ontario Business Registry moving forward. We used to file the Ontario Corporation Informational Return as part of the federal T2 Corporate Tax Return.  As of May 15, 2021, this is no longer an option.  Corporations whose deadline fell between May 15, 2021 and October 18, 2021 are exempt from filing for 2021. This is for fiscal year-ends between November 30, 2020 and March 31, 2021. 

Note

Some documents that were mailed prior to the launch of the Ontario Business Registry were not addressed and got returned to the registered office.  Make sure your address is updated on the Ontario Business Registry if you haven’t heard back.

How to File an Ontario Corporation Informational Return

Step 1 – Register for the new Ontario Business Registry

On the main page for the Ontario Business Registry, you will find instructions about one-third down the page.  First, make sure that your company information is up to date.  If you’ve had a change in directors or the corporation’s office has moved, it needs updating.  To see the information on file, click the “Get a Company Key” link. Then type in your registered business name, Ontario Corporation Number (OCN), or your Ontario BIN (this is different from your CRA BN).  Then, click on the business that you are trying to access.

Completion of this first step will result in a “Company Key” being issued.

You may see that your incorporation date looks very funny.  For instance, November 11, 1111.  This is because the Ontario Business Registry isn’t tied to the federal database at this time.

Special Note

This was written over the 2021-2022 holiday season. At the time, the system was in its infancy and still suffering from issues.  For instance, if you search the Ontario Business Registry, you may find different information from the “Get a Company Key” area.  If the information in the “Get a Company Key” section is incorrect, you need to call Service Ontario and update your information.  Service Ontario’s phone number is 1-800-361-3223. You can update your information through ESC Corporate Services or E-Corp. For people who haven’t used these services before, calling is far easier than trying to navigate the websites. Charges from these service providers will apply for any forms you file through their services.

Ecore 

ESC Corporate Services

Once you have successfully requested a Company Key, the key will be sent to the official email address or snail-mail address on file.  Be sure these addresses are up to date before registering for your Company Key.

For help with the website call 1-800-361-3223 (Service Ontario), select option 2 and then speak to a representative. They can help you navigate the system.

Step 2 – Login to ONe-Key

You do not need an Ontario Company Key to get a ONe-Key ID.  However, you will need it to make any filings or changes. You will also need it to link your company to the ONe-Key ID.

On the main page of the Ontario Business Registry, scroll down and click on the big blue button labeled “Login to ONe-Key.” It’s about half way down the screen.  This will take you to the login portal.  Click on “Sign up now!” and follow the instructions.  You will get a confirmation of your registration in your email.  The next time you log in, there will be a few additional steps to confirm your registration. Then you can start using the services available.  This is when you’ll link the companies using your Company Key.

Step 3 – Access Annual Returns

About three quarters of the way down the main page for the Ontario Business Registry you will find a section for Annual Returns.  When you click the button “Access your corporation’s Ontario Business Registry profile,” you’ll need to log-in with your ONe-Key. If you haven’t set that up, go back to Step 2 and complete it.

Click the option “Make Changes” and then select “File Annual Return”.  From here, you should be able to follow the prompts to complete the filing.

Note that in this menu, Ontario corporations will see a lot more options than an extra-provincial corporation registered in Ontario.  Here you can do many more things that will help you manage your business affairs with the government.

Best of luck, and keep those returns up to date!

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