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One Business, One Number

  • Issued: January 2010
  • Content last reviewed: January 2010

The Ontario government is committed to making government work easier and faster for businesses. As part of our Open for Business strategy, we are modernizing our programs and processes, reducing the regulatory burden and protecting the public interest. Ontario is helping businesses work more efficiently with government so they can focus on what they do best – provide service, compete, innovate, make profits, invest and create jobs.

We are also making it easier for you to grow and succeed; creating an environment that will attract new investment.

The Ontario government and the Government of Canada have been working together to implement a single Business Number (BN) system for Ontario businesses. The Ministry of Labour’s adoption of the Business Number will allow MOL programs to replace different methods that assigned business identifiers with one that uses the federal business number. A universal identifier for a company will make it simpler and more convenient for businesses to connect with the Ministry of Labour and other partners.

One number enables easier transactions for Ontario businesses.

It means a client could just have one number to access any of the linked services offered by different government program areas. The Ministry of Labour is transitioning to the single Business Number to better communicate with business owners.

Who assigns the single Business Number?

The number is assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency.

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When will the Ministry of Labour adopt the Business Number?

Ministry of Labour programs are scheduled to adopt the Business Number system by fall 2010.

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Why is the Ontario government making the transition to the Business Number?

Before the creation of the Business Number, most people registered to operate a new business by dealing directly with each program area at each government level. As a result, the same business had several program identifiers. A single business identifier will streamline processes and eliminate duplication of effort that can be costly.

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How will the Ministry of Labour use the Business Number?

Businesses will eventually be able to correspond with the ministry using that number. It will help the ministry cooperate with other government ministries to deliver services to businesses and improve service delivery. Ultimately, it will allow the Ministry of Labour to serve the business client more effectively on health and safety, and employment standards matters.

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What are the benefits for me?

In the past, Ontario business owners had to keep track of many account numbers. There was no common number to identify your business, which resulted in your company being registered under different numbers or with slightly different information.

The Business Number, once fully implemented, will make it easier for businesses to communicate with certain provincial or federal ministries about your accounts. It simplifies business-to-government interaction, as business owners will eventually be recognized across various government program areas by their business number.

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How will the company’s information be protected?

The Business Number will cross-reference other program identifiers for the purpose of sharing information, where permitted by legislation, regulations and information-sharing agreements. The introduction and use of the Business Number as an identifier does not change existing information-exchange agreements with any government department or agency.

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What does the Business Number look like?

The BN has two parts:

  • The Business Number is a nine-digit number that is unique to each business client and is common to Canada Revenue Agency.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Number is an extension. It combines two letters that identify the program (i.e., TH – Occupational Health and Safety ) and four numbers to indicate the number of accounts you have within each program.

For example:

123456789 TH0001
Business Number Occupational Health and Safety Number

You will only need to reference the business number when dealing with the Ministry.

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Will you, as a result of the introduction of the Business Number, share my financial and other information with the Canada Revenue Agency?

No. The Ministry of Labour does not have a financial-sharing agreement with the CRA, and upon the adoption of the BN, the ministry will not enter into one.

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Can I update my information in writing?

Yes. You can provide your information in writing by e-mail.

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What other ministries have signed on to the Business Number?

The Ministry of Labour is the first non-tax-related ministry to adopt the number. The number has been adopted by the federal Canada Revenue Agency and the Ministry of Revenue. Other provincial ministries will be adopting the BN in the future.

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Have other provinces adopted the Business Number as their key identifier?

Yes. The CRA has forged partnerships involving the Business Number with the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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Am I required to have a Business Number? I have a question about BN registering and other procedures, or tax issues.

Business Numbers are assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency. You can visit:

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I have a question that isn’t answered here

If you have any additional questions about the Ministry of Labour’s use of the Business Number, please contact us.

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