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Shelf Company in Canada

Shelf Company in Canada

Investors from abroad who are interested in developing their activities in the Canadian market have the possibility of registering a company or purchasing a ready-made one, also known as a shelf company. This kind of entity is already registered, has never been used, and it is available on the market for any entrepreneur interested.

Our company formation agents in Canada are able to provide support for both local or foreign investors who want to purchase a shelf company in Canada. The same team can also offer guidance when drafting the documents for a new company on the market.

 Quick Facts  
Legal entities available for shelf company Corporation (a structure similar with the limited liability company)

Time required for purchasing the company

1-2 days 

Types of features it includes (corporate bank account, VAT number, etc)

– incorporation documents,

– business address,

– business name,

– bank account (available for some shelf companies) 

The advantages of a shelf company

– the business is ready to start its activity,

– the company has all the necessary registration documents,

– it provides business credibility, especially for aged shelf companies

Appointing new directors (yes/no)



Capital increase allowed (yes/no)


Certificate of no commercial activities (yes/no)


Modify the objects of activity (yes/no)


Participants in the purchase procedure

The investors and the company formation specialists 

The cost of buying a shelf company From $995 to $3,899
Documents necessary for the purchase 

– personal information of the shareholder, director,

– the sale/purchase agreement,

– evidence on the payment of the shelf company price  

Taxes applied to a shelf company 

– standard corporate tax rate: 15% (the rate can vary based on the Canadian region and the annual revenue of the company),

– employment taxes 

 Changing the registered address (yes/no)


Aged shelf company available (yes/no)


 The institution where corporate changes are registered  Corporations Canada

The main characteristics of Canadian shelf companies

As mentioned earlier, a shelf company is already registered at the time of the purchase, therefore it will meet all the requirements imposed by the Company Law in Canada with respect to having a functional business. Shelf companieswill usually come with:

  1. a business number which is more common in Canada compared to trading names in European countries;
  2. shareholders – in most cases a single shareholder will appear in the company’s statutory documents;
  3. directors, as prescribed by the federal, but also regional regulations, depending on where the business is registered;
  4. the statutory documents which contain the same information as the Articles of Association of a newly incorporated company.

Canadian shelf company will also be registered with the tax authorities and have VAT numbers.

It is useful to note that aged companies in Canada are usually registered as corporations, considering the limited liability company is not that popular in this country.

Changes can be brought to the shareholding, management, and documents of ready-made companies. Our Canada company formation consultants can assist in the relation with the Trade Register by handling the changes the new owners want to be brought to shelf companies.

The procedure of acquiring a shelf company in Canada

Both natural persons and legal entities can purchase shelf companies in Canada, however, this process is often met among sole investors who want to start their activities directly. The purchase procedure is quite simple, and it implies an agreement between the buyer and the seller. The agreement must be notarized and then signed by both parties. Based on this contract, the transfer of shares will take place and the buyer will become a shareholder in the Canadian company. However, this procedure will imply making certain changes that need to be reported with the Trade Register.

In terms of starting a businessCanada has a few particularities investors from European countries need to get acquainted with. One of the most important ones refers to the types of company registration procedures which are available at federal and provincial/territorial level. Therefore, those who want to buy ready-made companies in Canada can purchase entities registered at a federal level or provincial/territorial level. Based on this choice, the changes that will be brought to the company must be decided.

No matter the type of shelf company one chooses to purchase in Canada, a verification of the seller and the company is recommended. Our company registration agents in Canada can assist with such procedures. If you need other types of services in Canada, for example immigration services, we recommend our reliable local partners – Canada-Immigration.Lawyer.

Making changes in a shelf company in Canada

Once bought, the shelf company can go through various changes. Among these, the new owner can decide to register the company under a trading name, apart from the business registration number priorly assigned. Then, the shareholder can decide to have the company operating in other provinces or territories and for this, they will need to register the business in each province or territory they want to offer their services or sell goods. For this purpose, the services of a registered agent are required. It is important to note that when deciding for incorporation in more than one province, the business will need to have a registered address in each of them. This is one of the main reasons for which the purchase of a shelf company registered at a federal level is usually preferred.

If you want to set up a company in Canada and need guidance on how to decide on where to register it, you can discuss your options with one of our specialists.

The benefits of buying a shelf company in Canada

A shelf company in Canada can be acquired with a business history and have a notable image and a favorable background in front of banks or other financial institutions for future loans. One should know that business age increases the confidence among potential customers, both local or from abroad and of course contractors. Businessmen can choose shelf companies in Canada for a fast manner of starting their activities in the chosen area of interest. Shelf companies come with VAT numbers in Canada.

We mention that a shelf company in Canada is not subject to debts, liabilities and it has never been revoked for any reason. Ready-made companies in Canada are one of the most preferred options for investors who want to decrease the time for starting a business, especially if they already have chosen the domain. Starting a business in Canada by buying a shelf company can be an easy process in which our team of specialists in company incorporation in Canada can offer support and assistance, as they are experienced in this field.

You can also read in the scheme below about the main features of a Canadian shelf company:

Canadian shelf company

What to consider when buying a shelf company in Canada

Before purchasing a shelf company in Canada, an investor will have to decide on what kind of entity he/she needs and the area of activities. In this matter, a complete check-up in the market is suggested, considering that such acquisition will be related to the first important steps of the formation.

The terms and conditions in a shelf company purchase can then be explained by our team of company incorporation specialists in Canada, who can offer comprehensive support in this matter. Starting a business in Canada may solicit complete attention in documents and licenses matters, but guidance can be offered on request by our team of advisors. 

Uses of a shelf company in Canada

Canadian shelf company can be used for various purposes after all the necessary post-purchase formalities have been completed. In most cases, ready-made companies are bought for commencing trading activities or providing services in different industries. It is also a suitable option for those who need financing from Canadian banks for which they require a company with a good reputation and history.

No matter the reason you have for buying a shelf company, our Canadian company formation representatives can help you.

FAQ on shelf companies in Canada

Our local consultants offer to receive questions related to the purchase of a shelf company in Canada. Among these questions are:

1.      Where can I buy a shelf company in Canada?
 Shelf companies are available in all provinces in Canada and can be purchased from local company formation agents.

2.      Can I personalize my shelf company?
 Once bought, you will be able to amend the company’s statutory documents, change the directors and the company name.

3.      How much does it cost to buy a shelf company in Canada?
 The cost of a Canadian ready-made company depends on its age, therefore there is no specific cost for all companies.

4.      Do I need to be a Canadian citizen or resident to buy a shelf company?
 No, foreigners can buy shelf companies without any restrictions.

5.      Can I move a shelf company registered in a province to another province?
 Yes, moving a shelf company’s residence from one province to another is possible. It is also possible to move a shelf company register at the federal level to a province.

You can also watch our video on shelf companies in Canada:

Economic overview of Canada

According to the Canadian Statistics Office, 2019 was a good year from an economic point of view, as:

  • in the second quarter of 2019, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0.9%;
  • the third quarter registered a slightly lower increase of 0.3% thanks to higher business investments;
  • business investment rose 2.6% in the third quarter of 2019;
  • in the same quarter, domestic demand also increased by 0.8%.

For additional information about how to buy a shelf company in Canada, we invite you to contact our Canadian company formation agents.