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How to open a business bank account in Canada

With a robust economy, a skilled workforce, strong trade agreements, and significant natural resources, establishing a presence in Canada is high on the agenda of many international businesses. Canadian banks are very stable, having weathered the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 relatively comfortably, and are held in high regard across the globe. Are you based in the UK but want to open a business bank account in Canada? Here’s our comprehensive guide to everything you need to know.

Can I open a business bank account in Canada as a foreign entity?

There is no requirement to be a Canadian citizen when opening a business bank account in Canada. In addition, you don’t need to be planning to move to Canada to open an account.

Can I open a Canada business account as a non-resident?

There aren’t any residency requirements associated with opening a business bank account in Canada, so it’s perfectly fine to open an account as a non-resident.

Can I open a business bank account online in Canada?

Certain banks may allow you to complete the entire process of opening a Canada business account online. However, it’s important to remember that you may have to deal with greater restrictions and account requirements as a result.

Can I open a Canada business account from abroad?

Some banks will require you to be present to open a business bank account in Canada. However, other banks will allow you to go through the whole process without visiting the country. It’s important to note that – in many cases – there may be more account restrictions and up-front requirements if you don’t visit Canada when opening the account.

Because many international banks operate in Canada, you may be able to simply open an account with one of these banks within your own country, and then transfer the account to Canada. Unfortunately, you may be charged greater fees for holding an international account, while you may also need a high minimum balance.

What is the process for opening a business bank account in Canada?

Opening a business bank account in Canada is a simple process. Assuming your company meets the requirements listed in the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act, all you need to do is submit your required documents. All companies are required to show the following documents:

  • Two forms of identification for the business owners (at least one photo ID and at least one government-issued document).

The specific documents that you’re required to present vary depending on your company type:

Corporations

  • Articles of incorporation/association

  • Certificate of Status

  • Certificate of Existence

  • Certificate of Compliance

  • Corporate Profile Report

  • Corporate Annual Government Filing

  • Business Number

  • Business License

  • Notice of Assessment for Income Tax

  • Two pieces of identification for the corporation’s signing authorities

Partnerships and limited partnerships

  • Trade name registration

  • Copy of partnership agreement

  • Registered declaration of partnership

Sole proprietorships

  • Master business license

  • Trade name registration

What bank should I choose?

Every business has different needs when it comes to banking, so before you decide which bank to open an account with, you should research the different services and features they provide. As Canada’s banking industry is so centralised, five major banks (colloquially known as the Big Five) dominate the sector. So, when you compare business bank accounts in Canada, be sure to research the following banks:

  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

  • Toronto-Dominion (TD)

  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

What are the benefits of opening a Canada business account?

Aside from making it more convenient to work with Canadian customers, the stability of the Canadian banking sector makes Canada an important market for any international business. As such, knowing how to open a business bank account in Canada is crucial.

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