How to use NUANS name search for free.

by Keith Tripp, revised January 2021

I often get asked to refer companies for house repairs. I don’t give referrals, however I may provide some tips on how to select a company to work with. One of those tips is to check that a company really exists under the name they are providing. One resource for doing that is the NUANS database. This is a Government of Canada service that can be accessed for free in the early stages of the name selection process.

Years ago I wrote about the NUANS business name search data base and how to use it for free to check if a business really exists. At that time a password was required, and the password expired every few months. In early 2020 I went back to the NUANS site and found that a password is no longer required. There are some recent changes to the website, so the updates provided here are based on January 2021.

NUANS is one of a few simple tests I apply when selecting a vendor. As an example, a guy had knocked at my door looking for work trimming trees, and he left me his business card. He seemed like a credible hard-working dude, so I decided to check if his company really existed under the name on the card. I will not use the real company name of the tree trimmer, but the real name was along the lines of   A Right Proper Job Tree Service.  

I apply three simple tests. His business card passed my first test, which is that he had both his first and last name on it. What’s with these driveway paving company sales reps who all only have one name like Madonna? If the card says call Joe, it’s headed straight to the garbage can. He passed my second test also, because there was a local address on the business card. I always recommend going with local providers when feasible. If things go sour when you hire someone, will you be able to identify them, track them down and follow up to sue them or otherwise recover your losses?

The third test is whether the business really exists as a legal entity. Many business names floating around are not the real business name, and if you can’t connect a business with the legal entity then you may be out of luck for follow up.  This is where the NUANS site comes in. NUANS is a service intended mostly for selecting business names for establishing a new business. The NUANS site is entitled Nuans-Corporate name and trademark search, but don’t let that fool you. All types of business names are on the register, including sole proprietorships. The purpose of the site is to avoid conflicting or duplicating names when a business is established, however it has, with a few exceptions, all of the company names in Canada. If the company name is not on NUANS, then a red flag should be raised.

The legal people tell me that there is still risk that a company is not in good standing, even with their status showing as “Active” on NUANS. So finding the name on NUANS is a good start, but not the end-all, and not finding the name is a definite red flag.

Here are the steps for finding a company name on NUANS.

No password is required, and Keith’s tips will show you how to use it for free. That’s a $13.80 per report savings.

Go to Check that you are at the government site and not a third party copycat site. There is a Government of Canada emblem at the top of the page, and the first page has a banner for: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and a button to select language of choice. If you google search for nuans, there is a good chance of ending up at a third party provider’s site.

After selecting language, the next page will be headed: Nuans-Corporate name and trademark reports.

SCROLL DOWN to the button : ORDER A NUANS REPORT Above this button, it indicates a $13.80 charge, but you won’t be paying that unless you choose to go thru all five steps.

Press the button and it takes you to Step 1 0f 5: Propose a Corporate name

Towards the bottom of the page is a blank box: “Enter proposed name of corporation”

Type in the name in the blank box that you are searching. For example,   PROVANTAGE PROPERTY INSPECTION

A screen will pop up with Exact match warning…. This is what you will see for companies that exist.

And you will see both my provincial and federal corporate listings, with status: ACTIVE:


Rank Name Jurisdiction and number Creation date (YYYY-MM-DD) Status Business activity
1 ProVantage Property Inspection Inc. CD-6728481 2007-02-28 Active  
2 PROVANTAGE PROPERTY INSPECTION INC. ON-3025560 2007-02-28 Active  

Now try with a shorter version. Click on Enter another name: and enter just the key word PROVANTAGE

Again, an EXACT match warning will pop up, and a table listing all the company containing PROVANTAGE will appear. I will show part of it here:

Rank Name Jurisdiction and number Creation date (YYYY-MM-DD) Status Business activity
1 PROVANTAGE TM-1761252 2015-12-24 Active 16
2 PROVANTAGE TM-0702790 1992-04-10 Inactive 35 , 37
3 PROVANTAGE TM-1263740 2005-07-06 Inactive 1 , 4
4 PROVANTAGE TM-1588830 2012-08-03 Active 42 , 44
5 PROVANTAGE TM-1563001 2012-02-07 Active 1 , 16
6 PROVANTAGE BUSINESS CONSULTING INC. ON-2595628 2017-09-07 Active  
7 ProVantage Property Inspection Inc. CD-6728481 2007-02-28 Active  
8 PROVANTAGE HOME SERVICES ON-210387569 2011-04-07 Active  
9 PROVANTAGE HOME INSPECTION ON-191145242 2009-11-12 Active  
10 PROVANTAGE TRADING INC. ON-1095714 1994-09-07 Active  


If no exact match warning comes up, use the shorter word versions to check for similar names. You can enter many names and search for free.  If the name is not on this NUANS list, then either they don’t exist, or the company may not be registered, or is not officially operating under the name provided. If you want to do business with that company, go back to them and ask for the real company name, and confirm it on NUANS. You may find the company is operating as a numbered company, in which case you want those details from them.

Have fun with it, and Buyer Beware!