What it Means When a Company Name is Mostly a Number such as "1234567 Ontario Inc."

by: Peter Cusimano
Business Lawyer - Barrister & Solicitor

Usually when you see the name of a company, it is made up of a few words such as "ABC Computer Inc.". However, sometimes you will see a company whose name is mostly just a number, such as "1234567 Ontario Inc."

Does the number have any significance and is there any difference between a company with a number as opposed to a name?

In Ontario, every corporation has a corporation number assigned to it for identification purposes. A corporation may also have a name such as "ABC Computer Inc.". When a corporation has a name, it can be identified using that name and is usually referred to as a "named company".

However, you may also come across a company that has no name other than a number -- these corporations are referred to as "numbered company". In such a case, the Ontario government will simply assign the next available corporation number and the name of the corporation will simply be the corporation number plus the word "Ontario" plus a legal ending (such as Inc., Ltd., or Corp., Incorporated, Limited, or Corporation). As such, the name of a numbered company can be something like: 1234567 Ontario Inc. There is no choice in the number, the government automatically assigns the next available number.

Why would someone choose the name as a number rather than picking an actual name for their corporation?

There are situations where one may prefer to use a numbered company instead of a named company including:
  1. it takes time to find a suitable name for a company which can take time and extra expense. By proceeding by way of a numbered company, there is no delay as the government simply assigns the next available number.
  2. one does not want to attract attention to the company and as such prefers using a number as opposed to a name
  3. a corporation is created for limited use and will not be promoting itself to the public and in such a case, the operators may not be concerned about the name
  4. the operators may want to use the corporation for various businesses and do not want to use a named corporation
Is there any legal difference whether a company is a numbered company or a named company?

Generally, there is no legal difference whether a company is a numbered company or a named company.

My legal practice consists of many businesses including named companies and numbered companies. If you are planning to start a business and would like to incorporate, please contact me and I would be pleased to assist you.