Frequently Asked Questions

Request form to use restricted words in the name of a company or business

Name requests

  1. Why am I being asked to submit this request form?

    Federal, provincial and territorial company registries are responsible for approving company and business names under the applicable legislation.

    Sometimes, however, a proposed name may include words that are restricted by other legislation in Canada.

    Section 983 of the Bank Act and sections 47 of the Trust and Loan Companies Act and the Insurance Companies Act ("the name restrictions") prohibit the use of specific words ("restricted words") in a business or company name, subject to certain exceptions.

    The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions ("OSFI") is responsible for administering these name restrictions. You likely have been asked to contact OSFI about your proposed name because it may contain such restricted words.

  2. What does OSFI consider when I submit my request form?

    OSFI will review your request to determine if an exception is available for your company or business, based on the nature of the company or business and its business activities.

  3. What will OSFI provide me, after it reviews my request?

    OSFI will provide you with a letter approving your request, if your company or business qualifies for an exception in the applicable Act. If your company or business doesn't qualify for an exception, then OSFI will provide you with a letter denying your request.

  4. How long will it take for OSFI to review my request?

    OSFI aims to provide a response to routine requests within 30 calendar days. If your request is non-routine or requires additional information, it may take longer. It is important to provide clear and complete answers to the questions on the request form, to help OSFI provide a response in a timely manner.

  5. What words are restricted?

    Words restricted by the Bank Act:

    The words "bank", "banker", "banking" are restricted. Other words may also be restricted, such as "banc", "mybank" and "bancorp". For more information, see OSFI's Advisory 2017-01 – Restrictions on the use of the words "bank", "banker" and "banking".

    Words restricted by the Insurance Companies Act:

    The words "assurance", "assurances", "insurance" or "lifeco" ("listed insurance words") are restricted. Other words may also be restricted, such as "annuity" and "indemnity", since OSFI considers them to be of import equivalent to the listed insurance words.

    Words restricted by the Trust and Loan Companies Act:

    The words "fiduciaire", "fiduciary", "fiducie", "trust", "trustco" "loan", "loanco" or "prêt" ("listed trust and loan words") are restricted words. Other words may also be restricted, such as "lenders", since OSFI considers them to be of import equivalent to the listed trust and loan words.

  6. Are any exceptions available?

    Yes. A common exception is the one available for companies or businesses who are not engaged in any financial activities (the "non-financial activity exception"). For example, businesses that are generally permitted to use the word "bank" in their name include blood banks and food banks, where their business activities are not financial in nature. The reason we ask you to provide a complete list of business activities, is so that we can determine if an exception is available to the company or business.

  7. Why does OSFI ask for a list of the future business activities of my company?

    A company that is currently allowed to use a restricted word in its name based on the non-financial activity exception, may become non-compliant with the legislation if it engages in financial activities in the future. That is why it is important to tell us about all of the future business activities for your company or business.

  8. Do the name restrictions apply to all companies and business in Canada?
    • The Bank Actname restrictions apply to all companies and businesses in Canada, including unincorporated businesses, partnerships, federal, provincial and territorial companies. These restrictions also apply to trade names used by a company or business.
    • The name restrictions in the Trust and Loan Companies Actand the Insurance Companies Actapply only to federal companies.
  9. Has OSFI published any guidance about the name restrictions?

    OSFI has published guidance about the name restrictions under the Bank Act: Advisory 2017-01 – Restrictions on the use of the words "bank", "banker" and "banking".

  10. How do I submit the request form or obtain other information about the name restrictions?
    • Email requests:

      name-denomination@osfi-bsif.gc.ca

    • Regular mail requests:

      Managing Director, Legislative Policy, Interpretations and Compliance
      Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
      255 Albert Street
      Ottawa, Canada
      K1A 0H2