Choose a Non-Profit Name (Societies Act FAQs)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society (PLEO) in May 2021.

Name Request[edit]

How does a director submit a name request?[edit]

Sign in to Societies Online at https://www.bcregistry.ca/societies/. Once signed in to Societies Online, click Incorporate a New Society. Then, click Request a Name.

Non-profit names must be unique and include either the word “association” or “society.” Conducting a name search using the NUANS database is an easy way to determine if there is already a non-profit or business with the same name.

Acceptable names usually contain three parts: 1) a unique word, such as a person’s name or local area name (e.g. “Peggy” or “Deep Cove” 2) a word that describes the nature of the non-profit (e.g. “Artists” or “Soccer”) and 3) a corporate designation (e.g. “society” or “association”). For more information, see the BC Registry’s Info Page on Naming Rules.

Include "Society" or "Association" in the Name[edit]

Does the non-profit society have to include the word "society or "association" in its name?[edit]

Yes. However, you are not required to use the non-profit’s full legal name in all circumstances. For example, in logos or on social media, using the full legal name is not required.

Requesting Use of "BC" or "British Columbia" in the Name[edit]

Can a non-profit society use "BC" or "British Columbia" in its name?[edit]

A non-profit may only use “BC” or “British Columbia” in its name if it gets written consent to do so. For more information and to download or print request forms, see the Registry’s webpage on Using BC in a Name.

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