This is a primarily a question of company branding and cost. It is a little less expensive to have a numbered company because you forgo the cost of the NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) search which is required to confirm corporate name availability. If corporate branding and name recognition in the marketplace is important to you (as well as name protection), you’ll want to consider naming your company. Finally, from an administration perspective, numbers are often harder to remember than names so it might make sense to name your company for ease of reference, especially if you have more than one company.
If you are not concerned about having a specific name for your corporation, then a numbered corporation may be all you need. By way of example, a numbered corporation incorporated in Alberta would be “123456 Alberta Inc.” The numeric portion of the name to be associated with the new corporation is assigned by the relevant governmental authority upon incorporation. “Alberta” always forms the second part of the name for an Alberta numbered corporation, and “Canada” always forms the second part of the name for a federal numbered corporation. You will, however, be able to select the legal element associated with the numbered corporation. The legal element is simply the suffix/ending of a corporation’s name, which is “Inc.” in our example.
If you are looking to have a specific name for your corporation, you’ll need to understand that a corporation’s name consists of three elements: distinctive, descriptive, and legal. An example would be, “XYZ Plumbing Inc.” The distinctive element is a unique word or location that makes your corporation name different from all others. In our example, the distinctive element is “XYZ”. A descriptive element describes what the corporation does or what the corporation is. In our example, “Plumbing” is the descriptive element. The legal element is the last part of the corporation name. In our example, “Inc.” is the legal element. Other common suffixes or endings include “Ltd.”, “Corp.”, “Limited” and “Incorporated”.
All corporations are required to have a legal element. The legal element is simply the suffix/ending of a corporation’s name. When registering a federal or an Alberta corporation, you will have a number of options when it comes to the “legal element” to be used. Other than the distinctions made between Limited Corporations, Unlimited Liability Corporations and Professional Corporations, each of these legal elements are legally identical, so your choice will be a matter of style and preference.
With Unlimited Liability Corporations, the legal element options are few. Every Unlimited Liability Corporation must end in the words “Unlimited Liability Corporation” or the abbreviation “ULC”. With Professional Corporations, the corporation must end in the words “Professional Corporation.” Words such as “Legal”, “Law”, “Medical”, “Dental” or other professional descriptors may be inserted between the words “Professional” and “Corporation”.