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Ontario Entrepreneur Stream

Provincial Nominee Program

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Entrepreneur Stream is designed to support foreign entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a new business or buying an already existing business in Ontario. This stream provides the entrepreneur and up to one (1) foreign national business partner the opportunity to be nominated for Canadian permanent residence upon establishment of the enterprise.

Personal Requirements

In order to be eligible for the program, the Principal Applicant and, if applicable, their business partner must:

  • Have a verifiable personal net worth of:
    • At least CAD $800,000, if the proposed business will be located within the GTA;
    • At least CAD $400,000, if the proposed business will be located outside the GTA or will be in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Communications sector regardless of location.
  • Demonstrate at least 24 months of full-time business experience as a business owner or as a senior manager in the last 60 months;
  • Make a personal investment towards establishment and operation of the business of:
    • At least CAD $600,000, if the proposed business will be located within the GTA;
    • At least CAD $200,000 if the proposed business will be located outside the GTA or will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector regardless of location.
  • Have active involvement in the management of the proposed business on an ongoing basis;
  • Demonstrate ownership of at least one-third of the business;
  • If proposed business will be within the GTA, create at least two (2) new full-time jobs for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • If proposed business will be outside the GTA or in the ICT/Digital Communications sector, create at least one (1) new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • If purchasing an existing business, make at least one (1) business-related visit to Ontario within 12 months of the date of registering an Expression of Interest;
  • Not invest the capital in the proposed business for the primary purpose of receiving interest, dividends or capital gains.

Upon approval of the application, Applicants will be required to sign a Performance Agreement with Ontario. The commitments stipulated in the Performance Agreement must be met within 20 months of arriving in Ontario

General Requirements for Business

Along with the Personal Requirements listed above, in order to qualify for the Program, the proposed business must:

  • Have the purpose of making a profit from active income through the sale of goods and/or services;
  • Comply with all applicable federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory or licensing requirements that govern the operation;
  • Be considered a permanent business in Ontario;
  • Have a place of business in Ontario at all times;
  • Submit a business plan demonstrating how the business will provide material economic benefit to Ontario’s economy or to the local economy where business will be located
  • Demonstrate that the required number of full-time jobs have been employed for at least 10 months up to the day of submitting the Final Report.

Any third-party investors must be a Schedule I or Schedule II bank or an institutional investor.

Purchasing an Existing Business

If the applicant is interested in purchasing an existing business in Ontario, the business must meet all minimum eligibility requirements listed above, as well as the following conditions:

  • The existing business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner or group of owners for the last 60 months prior to purchase;
  • The purchase must transfer 100% of ownership from the previous owner to the Applicant, the Applicant’s business partner (if applicable) and/or to any third-party investor(s) (if applicable);
  • The proposed business must not have been previously owned or operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees;
  • All existing permanent full-time jobs must be preserved, along with meeting the job creation requirement listed in the Personal Requirements section;
  • The proposed business plan must demonstrate that the Applicant intends to expand the business;
  • At least 10% of the minimum personal investment described in the Personal Requirements section must be designated towards improving or growing the business in Ontario;

Nomination Requirements

Upon successful establishment of the business in Ontario and fulfillment of the Performance Agreement, Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be nominated for permanent residency:

  • Have basic English or French language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark level four (4) or higher on a valid language test;
  • Maintain residence and be physically present in Ontario for at least 75% of the time in which the Applicant is establishing the business in Ontario;
  • Demonstrate active involvement in the day-to-day management activities in the established business.

Applications may be denied on the following grounds:

  • Direct or indirect misrepresentation;
  • If the Applicant proposes an ineligible business;
  • If the Applicant has a criminal record.

Acquiring a Work Permit and Permanent Residence

The Entrepreneur Stream is a multi-step process requiring registration and application to the OINP first. The OINP will invite the highest-scoring registrants to submit a full application. Upon approval of the application, OINP will require the Applicant and, if applicable, their business partner to attend an in-person interview. OINP will then issue the Applicant(s) a work permit support letter which allows the Applicant(s) to apply for a work permit and begin implementing the business plan and making the required investments.

Applicants must submit a Final Report between 18 and 20 months after arriving in Ontario on a work permit for determination on whether the terms and conditions of the Performance Agreement were met. If the determination is positive, Applicants are nominated for permanent residence and may apply to IRCC to become permanent residents under the Provincial Nominee Class. OINP will continue to monitor the business for a period of 36 months post-nomination.

Application Processing Time

There are no set application processing times for the OINP. Permanent residence application processing times for the Provincial Nominees Class are currently 15 to 19 months.

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