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Category Archives: Entrepreneur Immigration

What makes Canada a great destination for immigrants?

10th largest economy in the world

Canada is a thriving country that claims the 10th largest GDP worldwide, fueled in part by its vast natural resources, significant industrial base, tourist attraction, and vibrant seafood industry. According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s economy is extremely service-oriented, with 78.9% of Canadians working in a service-related job, though it is perceived that Canada is growing due to its natural resources. Though the manufacturing sector is relatively small in comparison to the service sector, it is the cornerstone of Canadian economy, with 68% of its exports constituting merchandise exports.

World-class education system

Canada tops the list as the most educated country in the world. According to the OECD over 56 percent of adults in the Great White North have earned some education after high school. Canada’s high academic standards and rigorous quality controls assure that you will be earning a high-quality education that will open doors for your future and benefit your career over the long term. A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is globally recognized as being equivalent to those obtained from the United States or Commonwealth countries.

The quality of education and living standards in Canada are amongst the highest in the world, but the cost of living and tuition fees for international students are generally lower than in other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Under Canada’s highly dynamic and hands-on academic environment, you will not only acquire knowledge and skills in analysis and communication, but you will also learn how to express yourself, demonstrate your creativity, and develop your self-confidence.

Canada has world’s top universities, such as McGill University, the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and the University of British Columbia which rank among the world’s top 100 academia.

Booming tech industry

Canada’s evolution over the years as a fount of technology is mirrored by the growth of the Tech sector. Toronto and other parts of Canada have been feasting on tech talent as immigrants are diverting from the U.S. due to stringent immigration policies like temporary suspension of H1B1 Visa which facilitated immigration for thousands of skilled immigrant workers every year. Even during coronavirus outbreak, immigrants in the U.S. faced unusual threat to employment, where in the U.S. is closing doors for immigrants while Canada is attracting an impressive flow of technology jobs and investment.

Tech companies with global footprint are setting up hubs and expanding operations in Canada. The number of tech jobs in Toronto has risen steeply with an increase of 54% from about 148,000 to 228,000 in the past since 2013. Canada certainly displays compelling potential with its mix of talent, technology, and universities together with highly skilled immigrants possessing STEM degrees even before arrival into the country.

Vancouver and Calgary are booming towards clean tech innovation, while Montreal has established itself as a hub for innovation in Artificial Intelligence and game development. Overall, Canada is attempting to attract highly skilled foreign professionals through visa programs like the Global Talent Stream with fast processing time where you move to Canada as quickly as a month as well as provincial tech programs that offer an expedited immigration pathway for people with tech skills .

Multiculturalism and immigration supportive

Over several decades, multiculturalism has evolved from a humanitarian approach to an official policy which became a defining part of Canada’s national identity. Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau government’s mantra is “diversity is our strength” which depicts the characteristic Canadian willingness to include various ethnic groups towards the cultural enrichment of Canada.

Canada has been accepting more immigrants per capita than any other developed Western countries. Particularly 310,000 new permanent residents were welcomed by Canada in 2018 and further it is expected that Canada will welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years.

In Canada, multiculturalism has always been a form of integration where people respect the diversity of languages, religions, and cultures. Multiculturalism exists when people accept and encourage many cultures to thrive in a society which can be seen particularly in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in modern history and this is because of a unique mix of various dominant groups like the British, Irish, Indian, Chinese, Italian and smaller groups like the Dutch, Japanese and Romanians.

Most inclusive country in the world

Canadians have always prided themselves as being open and inclusive. According to Ipsos recently released research, Canada ranks 1st among 25 countries on inclusiveness. Canada stood 2nd on LGBTQ Inclusiveness Score after France as the country has strong support for the LGBTQ community which is evident as Canada became the 4th nation worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage and the first nation outside of Europe in 2015.

Canada actively promotes inclusion and respect for diversity at home and abroad. Establishing equality is a top challenge that the entire human society is facing at the moment, but Canada seems to manage this challenge efficiently in social, economic, cultural, and civic inclusion. In Canada it is apparent that women have a strong voice, along with this basic women’s rights such as voting, birth control access and abortion are long-established and safeguarded in the country.

Universal health-care system

Canada’s health care system has prominent features that distinguish it from virtually all other high-income countries providing universal health care coverage. Firstly, healthcare in Canada is delivered through the provincial and territorial systems called Medicare, which is publicly funded. Canada has one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates and stands at 18th position in the world for life expectancy.

Canadian citizens have the second highest quality of life in the world, according to The World Economic Forum ranking, which ranks countries by quality of life using criteria like access to medical care, sanitation, and shelter, as well as education, life expectancy, and personal freedoms.

Employee entitlements

Canada is exceptional as “provincial law governs annual paid leave, unless the employee falls under federal jurisdiction.” All provinces guarantee two weeks paid vacation, except for three weeks in Saskatchewan. Along with this the employees receive statutory holidays depending on the province.  Canadians also have secured access to a variety of monetary protections including Employment Insurance (EI), old age security, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), and a federal childcare benefit.

The minimum wage in Canada ranges from $11 to $15 among different provinces and it stands among one of the highest in the world.  Canadian workers also have access to new family-friendly benefits and progressive workplace policies that allow up to 18 months of parental leave, with the mother and father able to share the leave however they choose.

Beautiful and safe place

The landscapes of Canada range from arctic tundra and BC’s snow-capped mountains, to beautifully desolate prairies and PEI’s rugged coastlines along with interesting architecture in Montreal’s historic buildings. From coast to coast to coast, the country is home to vibrant and culturally rich cities, along with incredible natural wonders.

According to the Global Peace Index of 2018, Canada was ranked the 6th most peaceful nation in the world. Be it protection of citizens on the streets, guarding them against misconduct, or even shielding them against online crime, Canada has done it all. Canada is also known for their strong gun control as they have a comparatively peaceful approach to foreign diplomacy.

Stable democratic political system

The Economist ranked Canada as third-most democratic nation according to its Democracy Index in the year 2006. Canada’s political system is a parliamentary democracy, with its own social and political institutions. Though Canadian governments shift between various liberal and conservative parties depending on the political climate; there is no moral shift as core values and ideologies like women’s and LGBT rights, environmental concerns, and immigration, are shared by the political parties.

Canada : Life Science leadership during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has disrupted the world and has slowed down the global economy. Canadian government has done a commendable job by focusing on COVID-19 containment and immediate relief by collaborating with health organizations and other authorities. IRCC has stated that Canada’s priority has been one of protection and preparation: protecting people’s health and safety while preparing business for a smooth transition to recovery. This successful response to coronavirus has showcased the strong relation among life science and professional health care management in the country.

The Canadian life sciences sector is a vital contributor to Canada’s innovation economy, and one of the country’s fastest growing industries participating towards medical innovations that will enhance the health-care delivery and patient care in Canada and around the globe. This Canadian sector comprises occupations within research, development, and manufacturing. This sector includes small and medium-sized companies developing diagnostics, bio pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and medical appliances, as well as international companies with research, development, and production operations in Canada, serving both domestic and international markets.

British Columbia has one of the largest bio technologies and life sciences sectors in Canada. The province plays an important role in the growing global life sciences industry. There are 310 life sciences organizations in British Columbia with estimated employment of 14,000 people contributing $1.03 billion to provincial GDP growth. The BC life sciences sector includes a broad range of companies, government agencies, healthcare research organizations and academic partners.

In parallel with Canadian government initiatives, there are various companies contributing towards development of products and services to curb COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these companies are:

Thornhill Medical is a medical device innovator company based in Toronto. This company has been producing and delivering revolutionary portable ventilator systems in large quantities to health care facilities across Canada.

Roche is a global company pioneering in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics of advanced science. They are the world’s largest biotech company focused on personalized healthcare. This company created a COVID-19 antibody test which will help determine if a patient has been exposed to coronavirus and if the patient has developed antibodies. This test is supporting the country’s economic recovery and is recognized as a significant contributor to Canada’s testing capability.

Hexoskin is a smart shirt company based in Montreal. Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic this company has been working with the government and health systems in the US, UK, and Canada to support health care services. They have been successful in developing a high-tech shirt that monitors COVID-19 patient’s vital signs from the comfort of their home. Hexoskin supports hospitals by freeing up space and easing the burden on staff via installing patient-monitoring systems in hospitals and setting up own telehealth teams.

Medicago is a company rooted with a long track record of innovation and perseverance. They are situated in Quebec and have successfully created a nominee for a coronavirus vaccine using their innovative plant-based technology. They were the pioneer in Canadian clinical trials of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Sona Nanotech Inc. is a medical device company based in Halifax. Sona has been awarded a $4.1 Million grant by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as per the NGen Initiative to accelerate COVID-19 test development. They are creating a ground-breaking antigen test to detect the presence of COVID-19 beforehand, rather than detecting antibodies after infection which can be used at point of care and deliver results in as little as 10 minutes.

Quantum Silicon Inc. is an Alberta based company, applying nanotechnology in electronics to develop faster and more energy-efficient technologies by manipulating matter at the atomic scale. Their CEO states the importance of government incentives in building a stronger industry.

Although there are hundreds of jobs available in the Canadian life science sector, Canada is struggling to meet labour demand needs and requires highly skilled foreign individuals and innovative entrepreneurs in search of investment opportunities or ways to expand their existing business abroad.

Canadian government is trying to help bridge the labour gap by providing pathways for skilled foreign workers to live and work in Canada. Two of these pathways include the Express Entry System and the Provincial Nominee Programs which not only made the immigration process easier but also fast-tracks the visa process, allowing newcomers to immigrate to Canada with their families in as little as 6 months.

Incentives provided by the Government

The government implemented various incentives to support Life science development in Canada, such as:

  • Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which provides funding to large projects with an objective to stimulate innovation for a better tomorrow in Canada. SIF brought forward projects to fight against COVID-19 and this program was expanded by additional funding to support the clinical trials for COVID-19 related vaccines and therapies.
  • The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED), which gives tax credits and refunds to eligible companies in Canada and is the country’s largest R&D tax credit program. Some examples include operations research, data collection, engineering, testing, psychological research, or design.
  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), which funds research in universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions.
  • Genome Canada, which is responsible for providing large scale investment to help develop new tech and create solutions to challenges faced on a national scale.
  • Mitacs is a non-profit research organisation that funds technology-specific internships and fellowships through Canadian universities by partnering with Canadian academia, private industry, and the government.
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a funding agency supporting innovative improvements in the health care sector.
  • Canada Brain Fund (CRF), which supports and funds Canadian brain science.

Along with these strategies, comes the Global Skills Strategy, which allows Canada to enrich its skilled workforce by bringing in highly skilled individuals from abroad. This strategy was developed by IRCC to help employers find highly skilled workers faster and bring them to the country within 2 weeks.

The Start-up Visa Program gives foreign investors the opportunity to start or invest in a business anywhere in Canada. Through this program applicants are also able to get permanent residency in Canada, provided they meet government requirements.

Canada is an ideal place for nanotech companies to invest and expand as life science sector is supported by a booming group of academia, world-class talent, government support and investors from around the world. Innovation in life sciences requires a collaborative ecosystem of partners such as hospitals, research centres, universities, technology incubators, start-ups, scientists as well as multinationals – and every day they are collaborating in Canada.

Canada’s life sciences businesses are among the most lucrative sectors where companies with global footprint are investing. This is because Canada offers a qualified workforce and is globally rated at the top for having the most educated workforce in the world, with over 55 per cent of its population possessing a tertiary qualification. Along with this Canada is the only country in the world, able to trade freely with every G7 nation. This free trade boosts opportunities to increase investment revenue by offering preferential market access to more than 1.5 billion consumers in 51 countries.

Why global investors should invest in Atlantic Canada?

Atlantic Canada or “the Maritimes” includes the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island that boast Canada’s most spectacular and pristine coastline. They are well known for their lush vistas and uncrowded beaches, breathtaking scenery and a vibrant and welcoming culture.

Besides tourism, The Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy has been initiated to grow export and boost foreign investment in the region. Through an unprecedented level of collaboration, the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provincial governments have committed to working hand-in-hand to create jobs and strengthen the economy by increasing the number of exporters, the value of export sales, export markets and foreign investment in the region. Now, many multinational companies like IBM, Samsung, Tech Mahindra, Michelin have found strategic market development and have been investing in Atlantic Canada. Each of the Atlantic provinces have their own distinguished universities and industries which is appealing to investors.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is Canada’s smallest province located on the east coast of North America. PEI’s population is growing which can be attributed to Atlantic Immigration Pilot. The program allows employers to attract highly skilled individuals as well as recent graduates from Atlantic Canada post-secondary institutions. New people are coming to the province, bringing new ideas and possibilities, and contributing to its social and economic fabric. The economy of Prince Edward Island is driven by a vibrant business environment, a stable labour force and a great place to operate a business which can benefit multinational companies.

PEI’s Bioscience Cluster is another industry which has gained international attraction which has more than 60 multinational companies, seven research institutions and Emergence- Canada’s Bioscience Business Incubator which assists growing companies in the bioscience and food sectors.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is the largest producer of crude oil in eastern Canada, and is the 3rd largest oil producing province in Canada. Since 1997, 1.7 billion barrels of oil have been produced and the industry accounts for 25 per cent of provincial GDP and 41 per cent of exports over the past 20 years. St. John’s is the commercial hub of Canada’s offshore oil industry and is home to international oil companies, supply and service firms, as well as a specialized and diverse range of marine expertise. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has released a plan for growth of Oil and Gas Industry in early 2018 which will rank Newfoundland and Labrador as the most attractive Canadian jurisdiction for oil and gas investment.

The federal government’s new approach to fostering innovation and economic growth in the ocean sector – the Ocean Supercluster – positions Canada to become a global leader in the knowledge-based ocean economy.  This initiative will see hundreds of millions of new dollars invested in ocean-related research and development and commercialization.

This industry is supported by research & development at Memorial University and The Fisheries and Marine Institute. Besides industry-based research they offer certificate, diploma, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs. They have been providing talented graduates who can be assets to local industry and multinationals like Kongsberg Maritime, Kvaerner, TechnipFMC and Vale who have invested in the province.

New Brunswick

Located on Canada’s east coast along the Atlantic Ocean, New Brunswick offers a distinct way of life and exciting career opportunities. NB has been growing its cybersecurity ecosystem where business, academic institutes, and government work together to facilitate growth and increase in talented workforce, promote innovation for secure critical infrastructure and secure business growth and customer trust.  IBM’s major innovation hub and Siemens Canada have their centers for cybersecurity in NB. And, with the opening of National Innovation Centre for Cybersecurity at Knowledge Park in Fredericton, NB, there will be a major addition to Canada’s national cyber security capabilities.

Nova Scotia

Located on Canada’s east coast, Nova Scotia has strong and stable economy, well-educated workforce, adequate environmental policies that offer competitive advantages for exporters and investors in Growing industry sectors including ocean technology, life sciences, aerospace & defense, finance & insurance and advanced manufacturing.

Michelin North America, manufacturer of tires, employs 3,300 people across the province while DSM Nutritional Products manufacturers concentrated fish oils in NS.

NS ocean technologies are its strength with high levels of R&D and innovation. Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE) is a collaborative facility for applied innovation in the ocean sector. This collaborative space will be home to local and global ocean technology businesses, start-ups, researchers, marine-based and service businesses.

Nova Scotia has a total of 10 universities and 13 community colleges and has one of the most educated workforces in the country, with over 62% of the population having some post-secondary education. Thus, there is a sustainable supply of top talent for the investors.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project is a fast-track employer driven immigration program that allows employers in four Canadian Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island) to hire foreign nationals for jobs they haven’t been able to fill locally. The program also has the goals of supporting population growth, developing a skilled workforce, and increasing employment rates in the region.

Ontario issued 24 invitations to apply (ITAs) under the Entrepreneur Stream

Ontario invited 24 entrepreneurs in new immigration draw under entrepreneur stream. Candidates with scores of at least 134 were invited in draw conducted on June 24, 2020. Candidates with Expressions of Interest (EOI) received by the OINP between November 22, 2019 and June 19, 2020 were eligible. This is the fifth draw since the minimum eligibility requirements for the program underwent significant change.  A total of 70 entrepreneurs has been invited this year so far.

The required net worth for the proposed business within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was lowered from $1.5 million CAD to $800,000 CAD and outside the GTA from $800,000 CAD to $400,000 CAD. The minimum investment for the proposed business in the GTA was lowered from $1 million CAD to $600,000 CAD and outside the GTA from $500,000 CAD to $200,000 CAD. The required business experience of a candidate as an Owner or a Senior Manager had also changed. It is now required that a candidate has 24 months of experience within the last 60 months. Previously, a candidate was required to have 36 months of experience within the same time frame.

Entrepreneur Stream 

The Entrepreneur Stream is an immigration stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). This stream is for entrepreneurs from outside of Canada interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario. It gives an entrepreneur (and up to one foreign national business partner) the opportunity to be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been established in Ontario.

The Entrepreneur Stream application is a two-stage process: 

Stage 1

  1. Registration: Register an expression of interest with OINP by email
  2. Application Submission: If invited, submit an online application
  3. Personal Interview: Entrepreneur and the business partner (if applicable) attend a mandatory in-person interview at the OINP office in Toronto. The purpose of the interview is to get a better understanding of the business plan and past experience.
  4. Performance Agreement: If stage 1 of the application (including the interview) is successful, the entrepreneur is asked to sign a performance agreement with the Government of Ontario. The performance agreement will outline the commitments that must be met in order to be nominated for permanent residence. The document will include, but may not be limited to:
    • a description of the business
    • investment amounts and timelines
    • number and types of jobs to be created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents
    • mandatory business milestones and achievements
    • time frames for commitments

Stage 2

  1. Work Permit: After signing performance agreement, the OINP office issues a temporary work permit support letter (WPSL) so that applicant and business partner (if applicable) can apply to IRCC for a temporary work permit
  2. Business Establishment: The entrepreneur has 20 months from the arrival date in Ontario to implement the business plan and meet all commitments under the performance agreement. OINP officers monitor the business to make sure the applicant stay on track to meeting the obligations under performance agreement. The applicant is also required to provide quarterly reports and a final report to OINP.
  3. Provincial Nomination: Based on final report, the OINP office confirm that the new business has met the commitments outlined in the performance agreement. Post confirmation, OINP office will ask for supporting documents to ensure that applicant and business partner (if applicable) meet the nomination requirements
    • Language: The applicant must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.
    • Residency: The applicant must be physically living in Ontario for 75 per cent of the time during which they are establishing their business.
    • Active Management: The applicant must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
  4. Permanent Residency: The applicant can submit permanent residency (PR) application with IRCC within six months of nomination. The OINP performs post-nomination monitoring for a period of 36 months following the issuance of permanent resident status.

Program Requirements

To qualify under the Entrepreneur Stream, the applicant must have a viable business that is likely to provide material economic benefit to the economy of Ontario as a whole or to the local Ontario economy where the business will be located. The applicant and one business partner (if applicable) must both meet the eligibility requirements.

Business experience

The applicant must have at least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months. The experience must be as a business owner or as a senior manager (business management). As a business owner the applicant must have had an active role in the business and owned at least one-third of the business. As a senior manager the applicant must have had senior decision-making responsibilities in the business.

Net Worth

  • $800,000 CAD  – if the proposed business will be located within the GTA
  • $400,000 CAD  – if the proposed business will be located outside the GTA
  • $400,000 CAD – if the proposed business will be in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Communications sector (regardless of the proposed business location)

Personal investment funds and minimum equity

  • Within the Greater Toronto Area – The applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 CAD and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
  • Outside of the Greater Toronto Area – The applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CAD and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
  • If the proposed business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector then regardless of location, the applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CAD and control at least of one-third of the equity in the business.

Active involvement

The entrepreneur must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.

Capital investment purpose

The primary purpose of investing capital in the business must be to make a profit. It must not be to derive interest, dividends or capital gains.

Job creation

If the business will be located inside the Greater Toronto Area, the applicant must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If the business will be located outside the Greater Toronto Area or in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector, regardless of location, the applicant must create at least one permanent full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Jobs must be created within the first 20 months of establishing or acquiring the business, must be filled continuously for at least 10 months and must be paid at the median wage level for the position.

Additional requirements for purchasing an existing business

  • the entrepreneur must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario within 12 months from the date of registering an Expression of Interest
  • the business being purchased must have been in continuous operation by the same owner(s) for the previous 60 months
  • ownership of the business must be completely transferred to the applicant or any business partner
  • the applicant must use at least 10% of the personal investment towards improving or expanding the business in Ontario
  • the applicant must keep all permanent full-time employees that worked in the business prior to the transfer of ownership

General business requirements

In addition to meeting the minimum requirements, the proposed business must also meet the general requirements to participate in the Entrepreneur Stream:

Business purpose

The purpose of the proposed business must be to make a profit from active (earned) income not passive (unearned) income through the sale of goods and/or services.

Canadian and Ontario legal requirements

The proposed business must comply with any applicable federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory or licensing requirements that govern its operation. This includes Ontario labour laws, including but not limited to employment standards, health and safety and labour relations legislation.

Permanent business

The proposed business must be considered a permanent business in Ontario. Project-based/seasonal businesses are considered ineligible.

Business in Ontario

The proposed business must at all times have a place of business in Ontario.

Ineligible types of businesses 

The entrepreneur need to ensure that the proposed business is not one of the ineligible types listed below.

automated car wash business  ǀ holding companies  ǀ laundromats  ǀ pawnbrokers  ǀ pay day loan and related businesses  ǀ scrap metal recycling  ǀ tire recycling  ǀ a business involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services  ǀ businesses which have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees

If the proposed business will be located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the following types are also ineligible.

existing franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises expanding into Ontario are permitted)  ǀ gas stations  ǀ bed and breakfasts

Expression of interest

An expression of interest (EOI) is the first step and, its not an application. There is no fee to register an EOI. The EOI is comprised of two components, for a maximum EOI score of 200 points:

  1. Self-Declared Score (126 points)
  2. Business Concept Score (74 points)

OINP will assess and score the Business Concept.  The business concept will need to score at least 37 of the available 74 points (50%) to be placed in the EOI selection pool. Whether the entrepreneur candidate will be issued an invitation to apply is based on the EOI rank in the selection pool. Only the top ranked candidates are invited to apply.

Expression of interest (EOI) registration 

  1. contact the OINP by email ([email protected]) to express the interest in participating in the Entrepreneur stream and to request a copy of the EOI registration form
  2. once received, complete the EOI registration form
  3. submit the completed form by email to [email protected]

The OINP will then assess and score the business concept. If the entrepreneur candidate do not meet the minimum stream criteria, the business concept will not be reviewed.

If the business concept is accepted, the EOI will be placed in a pool and will be ranked against other entrepreneur candidates. If entrepreneur candidate is invited to apply, he/she will receive an email with instructions on how to submit an online application through the OINP e-Filing Portal. The candidate has 90 calendar days to submit the online application from the date of invitation to apply.

Contact us for consultation and assessment.

Ontario issued 26 invitations to apply (ITAs) under the Entrepreneur Stream

Ontario invited 26 entrepreneurs in new immigration draw under entrepreneur stream. Candidates with scores of at least 132 were invited in draw conducted on April 22, 2020. Candidates with Expressions of Interest (EOI) received by the OINP between 22 November 2019 and 17 April 2020 were eligible. This is the fourth draw since the minimum eligibility requirements for the program underwent significant change.

The required net worth for the proposed business within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was lowered from $1.5 million CAD to $800,000 CAD and outside the GTA from $800,000 CAD to $400,000 CAD. The minimum investment for the proposed business in the GTA was lowered from $1 million CAD to $600,000 CAD and outside the GTA from $500,000 CAD to $200,000 CAD. The required business experience of a candidate as an Owner or a Senior Manager had also changed. It is now required that a candidate has 24 months of experience within the last 60 months. Previously, a candidate was required to have 36 months of experience within the same time frame.

Entrepreneur Stream 

The Entrepreneur Stream is an immigration stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). This stream is for entrepreneurs from outside of Canada interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario. It gives an entrepreneur (and up to one foreign national business partner) the opportunity to be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been established in Ontario.

The Entrepreneur Stream application is a two-stage process: 

Stage 1

  1. Registration: Register an expression of interest with OINP by email
  2. Application Submission: If invited, submit an online application
  3. Personal Interview: Entrepreneur and the business partner (if applicable) attend a mandatory in-person interview at the OINP office in Toronto. The purpose of the interview is to get a better understanding of the business plan and past experience.
  4. Performance Agreement: If stage 1 of the application (including the interview) is successful, the entrepreneur is asked to sign a performance agreement with the Government of Ontario. The performance agreement will outline the commitments that must be met in order to be nominated for permanent residence. The document will include, but may not be limited to:
    • a description of the business
    • investment amounts and timelines
    • number and types of jobs to be created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents
    • mandatory business milestones and achievements
    • time frames for commitments

Stage 2

  1. Work Permit: After signing performance agreement, the OINP office issues a temporary work permit support letter (WPSL) so that applicant and business partner (if applicable) can apply to IRCC for a temporary work permit
  2. Business Establishment: The entrepreneur has 20 months from the arrival date in Ontario to implement the business plan and meet all commitments under the performance agreement. OINP officers monitor the business to make sure the applicant stay on track to meeting the obligations under performance agreement. The applicant is also required to provide quarterly reports and a final report to OINP.
  3. Provincial Nomination: Based on final report, the OINP office confirm that the new business has met the commitments outlined in the performance agreement. Post confirmation, OINP office will ask for supporting documents to ensure that applicant and business partner (if applicable) meet the nomination requirements
    • Language: The applicant must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.
    • Residency: The applicant must be physically living in Ontario for 75 per cent of the time during which they are establishing their business.
    • Active Management: The applicant must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
  4. Permanent Residency: The applicant can submit permanent residency (PR) application with IRCC within six months of nomination. The OINP performs post-nomination monitoring for a period of 36 months following the issuance of permanent resident status.

Program Requirements

To qualify under the Entrepreneur Stream, the applicant must have a viable business that is likely to provide material economic benefit to the economy of Ontario as a whole or to the local Ontario economy where the business will be located. The applicant and one business partner (if applicable) must both meet the eligibility requirements.

Business experience

The applicant must have at least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months. The experience must be as a business owner or as a senior manager (business management). As a business owner the applicant must have had an active role in the business and owned at least one-third of the business. As a senior manager the applicant must have had senior decision-making responsibilities in the business.

Net Worth

  • $800,000 CAD  – if the proposed business will be located within the GTA
  • $400,000 CAD  – if the proposed business will be located outside the GTA
  • $400,000 CAD – if the proposed business will be in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Communications sector (regardless of the proposed business location)

Personal investment funds and minimum equity

  • Within the Greater Toronto Area – The applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 CAD and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
  • Outside of the Greater Toronto Area – The applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CAD and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
  • If the proposed business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector then regardless of location, the applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CAD and control at least of one-third of the equity in the business.

Active involvement

The entrepreneur must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.

Capital investment purpose

The primary purpose of investing capital in the business must be to make a profit. It must not be to derive interest, dividends or capital gains.

Job creation

If the business will be located inside the Greater Toronto Area, the applicant must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If the business will be located outside the Greater Toronto Area or in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector, regardless of location, the applicant must create at least one permanent full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Jobs must be created within the first 20 months of establishing or acquiring the business, must be filled continuously for at least 10 months and must be paid at the median wage level for the position.

Additional requirements for purchasing an existing business

  • the entrepreneur must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario within 12 months from the date of registering an Expression of Interest
  • the business being purchased must have been in continuous operation by the same owner(s) for the previous 60 months
  • ownership of the business must be completely transferred to the applicant or any business partner
  • the applicant must use at least 10% of the personal investment towards improving or expanding the business in Ontario
  • the applicant must keep all permanent full-time employees that worked in the business prior to the transfer of ownership

General business requirements

In addition to meeting the minimum requirements, the proposed business must also meet the general requirements to participate in the Entrepreneur Stream:

Business purpose

The purpose of the proposed business must be to make a profit from active (earned) income not passive (unearned) income through the sale of goods and/or services.

Canadian and Ontario legal requirements

The proposed business must comply with any applicable federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory or licensing requirements that govern its operation. This includes Ontario labour laws, including but not limited to employment standards, health and safety and labour relations legislation.

Permanent business

The proposed business must be considered a permanent business in Ontario. Project-based/seasonal businesses are considered ineligible.

Business in Ontario

The proposed business must at all times have a place of business in Ontario.

Ineligible types of businesses 

The entrepreneur need to ensure that the proposed business is not one of the ineligible types listed below.

automated car wash business  ǀ holding companies  ǀ laundromats  ǀ pawnbrokers  ǀ pay day loan and related businesses  ǀ scrap metal recycling  ǀ tire recycling  ǀ a business involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services  ǀ businesses which have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees

If the proposed business will be located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the following types are also ineligible.

existing franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises expanding into Ontario are permitted)  ǀ gas stations  ǀ bed and breakfasts

Expression of interest

An expression of interest (EOI) is the first step and, its not an application. There is no fee to register an EOI. The EOI is comprised of two components, for a maximum EOI score of 200 points:

  1. Self-Declared Score (126 points)
  2. Business Concept Score (74 points)

OINP will assess and score the Business Concept.  The business concept will need to score at least 37 of the available 74 points (50%) to be placed in the EOI selection pool. Whether the entrepreneur candidate will be issued an invitation to apply is based on the EOI rank in the selection pool. Only the top ranked candidates are invited to apply.

Expression of interest (EOI) registration 

  1. contact the OINP by email ([email protected]) to express the interest in participating in the Entrepreneur stream and to request a copy of the EOI registration form
  2. once received, complete the EOI registration form
  3. submit the completed form by email to [email protected]

The OINP will then assess and score the business concept. If the entrepreneur candidate do not meet the minimum stream criteria, the business concept will not be reviewed.

If the business concept is accepted, the EOI will be placed in a pool and will be ranked against other entrepreneur candidates. If entrepreneur candidate is invited to apply, he/she will receive an email with instructions on how to submit an online application through the OINP e-Filing Portal. The candidate has 90 calendar days to submit the online application from the date of invitation to apply.

Contact us for consultation and assessment.