Company and business name requests

Federal, provincial and territorial company registries approve company and business names under the applicable legislation. However, a proposed name may include words that are restricted by other legislation in Canada. 

We also play a role in trademark requests.

Restricted words

We’re responsible for administering name restrictions under the following acts:

  • Bank Act
    • Restricted words include bank, banker, banking
    • Other words may be restricted (such as banc, mybank, bancorp)
    • Applies to names, including trade names, for all companies and businesses in Canada, including:
      • unincorporated businesses
      • partnerships
      • federal, provincial and territorial companies 
  • Insurance Companies Act
    • Restricted words include assurance, assurances, insurance, lifeco, and other listed insurance words
    • Other similar words may be restricted (such as annuity and indemnity)
    • Applies to federal companies
  • Trust and Loan Companies Act
    • Restricted words include fiduciary, trust, trustco, loan, loanco, and other listed trust and loan words
      • Other similar words may be restricted (such as lenders)
    • Applies to federal companies

To use these words in your business name, you need to apply to OSFI for an approval.

Exceptions may be available

We’ll review your request to see if an exception is available for your company or business. One type of common exception is the non-financial activity exception. This is for businesses such as blood banks or and food banks, who can use “bank” in their names, since their business activities aren’t financial in nature.  

Submit a request for an approval

To apply for an approval from OSFI to use a restricted word in your business name, you need to submit a request form (PDF 225KB).

Please provide clear and complete answers on the form to help us provide a timely response. Make sure to include a complete list of your current and future business activities. 

Send the request

Once you’ve completed the form, please send it by email or mail to:

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

Processing your request

We aim to process routine name requests within 30 calendar days. If your request is complex or needs more information, it may take longer. 

After we complete your request

We’ll send you a letter to let you know if we’ve approved or denied your request.