All You Need To Know About A Master Business License  


All You Need To Know About A Master Business License  

Starting a business in Ontario requires navigating various legal requirements, and one of the most important is obtaining a Business Name Registration (BNR). Formerly known as a Master Business License (MBL) until October 2021, the BNR provides essential information about the business to the government, customers, and other stakeholders.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Master Business Licence, including its purpose, who needs it, and why it is crucial for the success of your business. Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an established business owner, understanding the ins and outs of a Master Business License is essential for operating your business legally and efficiently.

What Is A Master Business License?

The Master Business License is a document issued by the Ontario government that provides basic information about the business, including its name, address, and legal structure. If you plan to set up a business in Ontario, you need to register your business name and obtain an MBL.

This applies to three types of businesses: sole proprietorship (one person), general partnership (two or more people), and trade name (‘operating or doing business as’ name under an existing corporation).

Registering for your MBL is a quick and easy process that can be done online, by mail, or in person. You can also partner with a reliable service provider who can assist you in processing all your business documents accurately and promptly.

The registration process requires basic information about your business, such as its name, address, and legal structure. The fee for obtaining an MBL varies depending on the type of business and the application method. 

After your application is approved, you will be issued a Business Identification Number. This unique 9-digit number is dedicated to your business and is an important reference number for future interactions with the government. The MBL document will also indicate the expiry date of the registration, which you should keep in mind for future renewal requirements.

What Information Is Included In A Master Business License?

A Master Business License provides essential information about your business to the government and other stakeholders. Here are some of the key pieces of information included in an MBL:

  • Business Name And Structure: The MBL includes the legal name of your business, which must be registered with the government to operate in Ontario. It will also have the legal structure of your business, such as whether it is a sole proprietorship or a partnership. If you operate under a different name, such as a trade name or a DBA (doing business as), that name will also be included.
  • Business Address: The MBL includes the address of your business, which is the physical location where your company operates.
  • Business Identification Number: As mentioned earlier, the MBL includes a unique 9-digit Business Identification Number (BIN) assigned to your business registration.
  • Expiry Date: The MBL includes the expiry date of your registration, which indicates when you will need to renew your registration to continue operating your business legally.

A valid MBL satisfies legal requirements for operating your business and helps establish your business identity and build trust with your customers and partners.

Why Is A Master Business License Important?

An MBL provides legal authorization for your business name and helps to establish your business identity and credibility. Here are some other good reasons why an MBL is important:

  • Legal Requirements: By law, any business that operates under a name other than the owner’s legal name must register that name with the Province of Ontario and obtain an MBL. Failure to do so can result in penalties and fines.
  • Business Identity: Obtaining an MBL is a way to officially establish your business identity with the government and other relevant parties. It provides legal proof that your business is registered and authorized to operate under a specific name.
  • Banking And Financing: Many financial institutions and lenders require a valid MBL before providing business loans, credit lines, or other financial services. An MBL helps establish your business identity and financial history, which can improve your chances of obtaining financing.
  • Government Services: Obtaining an MBL can also give you access to various government services and programs, such as business support and funding opportunities.

Additionally, a registered business name can provide valuable protection and help prevent potential legal issues in the future. This is a fundamental way to ensure that your business has the legal authorization to operate under a specific name and is well-positioned for growth and success.

Renewing And Updating A Master Business License

Once you have obtained your MBL, it is important to keep it up-to-date and renew it when necessary to avoid penalties or legal issues. An MBL is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed.

To renew your MBL, you must provide the Business Identification Number and pay the renewal fee. It is important to ensure that all the information associated with your MBL is accurate and up-to-date, such as changes in business address or ownership. If any changes have been made, you must update your MBL accordingly.

You can renew your MBL through the official business online portal, by mail, or in person. Keeping your MBL updated is important to maintain the accuracy and legality of your business registration.


When you register your business name and receive a valid Master Business License, you can be confident that you have a unique identity for your business recognized by the government. Registering and maintaining your business name registration is a straightforward process that can help set your business up for success.

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