Ontario Business Immigration Programs

Entrepreneur Stream

Ontario’s new entrepreneur program enables entrepreneurs to acquire Canadian permanent residence by buying, starting or investing in a Canadian business.

Applicants are scored according to a Point Grid and the highest scoring applicants are invited to apply through the Ontario program.

Two-step Process

  1. Obtain preliminary approval and work permit to establish business
  2. Apply for nomination after performance agreements requirement met within 2 years

Minimum Requirements

  1. Minimum investment: CDN$500k outside of GTA, or $1 million in GTA
  2. Net Worth: CDN$800k outside of GTA, $1.5 Million in GTA
  3. Ownership: 33.3%
  4. Job Creation: 2
  5. Experience: 3 out of last 5 years owning or managing a business
  6. English: Canadian Language Benchmark 5 at time of nomination

Other Criteria

  • Permissible to bring a business partner but both partners must meet all requirements
  • Must meet program requirements within 2 years
  • Be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business
  • Control, or will control, at least 33.334% of the equity in the business, or make a minimum $1 million investment in the business
  • Not have the option of redeeming the investment after a specified period
  • Invest the capital in the business not for the primary purpose of deriving interest, dividends or capital gains

Selection Grid

Meeting all the minimum requirements does not guarantee that you will be invited to apply to the Entrepreneur Stream. The maximum score available is 160 points. There is no minimum score, as EOIs will be ranked against each other and only top candidates will be invited to apply. Draws occur approximately every 120 days.

Purchasing an Existing Business

If you purchase a business up to 12 months prior to the date that your application is submitted, the minimum requirements of the Entrepreneur Stream will be retroactively applied and assessed based on the date that you purchased the business (i.e. you must have the minimum net worth at the time that you purchased the business).

Nomination Requirements

You must also meet the following requirements:

–    Language Requirement Official language proficiency at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 level or equivalent

–    Must be physically residing in Ontario for 75% (9 months out of the year) for the period in which you are in Ontario establishing your business

–   Must be actively involved in the day-to-day management activities of your business.

Application fee

If you are invited to apply to the Entrepreneur Stream, the application fee is CDN$3,500 per applicant. If you have a Business partner, the partner must also pay CDN$3,500 in a separate payment attached to each respective application.

List of ineligible types of businesses in the GTA:

  •  Existing Franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises expanding into Ontario are permitted)
  • Gas Stations
  • Tire Recycling
  • Scrap Metal Recycling
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • Holding Companies
  • Laundromats
  •  Automated Car Wash Operations
  • Pay day loan and related businesses
  • Businesses which have been previously owned / operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees

List of ineligible types of businesses outside of the GTA:

  • Tire Recycling
  •  Scrap Metal Recycling
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Holding Companies
  • Laundromats
  • Automated Car Wash Operations
  • Pay day loan and related businesses
  • Businesses which have been previously owned / operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees

Application fee 

If you are invited to apply to the Entrepreneur Stream, the application fee is CDN$3,500 per applicant. If you have a Business partner, the partner must also pay CDN$3,500 in a separate payment attached to each respective application.

 

Ontario Corporate Stream

Eligibility Criteria

  • The minimum investment must be at least CAD$5 million (Corporate expansions are eligible).
  • Must create at least 5 permanent full-time jobs for Canadians (per nominee)
  • Individual investors can invest a minimum of $1 million.
  • Up to 5 key staff nominees permitted if jobs are permanent and full-time employment with fair wages
  • Key staff must be in a high level occupation – NOC O,  A or B
  • Canadian Language Benchmark 5 required at time of nomination
  • No familial or financial relationship between key staff and corporation
  • Key employees must have at least 3 years of work experience in the intended occupation within the last 5 years.

        A. Corporate Requirements

  • The corporation must have been established for at least 36 months at the time of application.

        B. Investment Requirements

  • The corporation must make a minimum investment of $5 million to expand into Ontario or purchase an existing business in the province.
  • The source of investment funds must have been obtained from legal sources.
  • The proposed investment activity must be of significant economic benefit to Ontario.
  • If the business to be established in Ontario is a land development or a leasehold company, please refer to the following requirement:
  • Limit of 3 projects per year
  • Make a minimum investment of $10 million
  • The proposed activity must be a permanent, ongoing business (not project based) that seeks to expand or improve the current status of the land site, as well as ensure that the investing company has an ongoing and active management role in the proposed business
  • Must produce the proposed good or deliver a service of their own and not just set-up to manage the operations of other companies to make a profit
  • Have to demonstrate that the proposed business is a long-term and non-speculative investment and that the associated land development will be an integral part of the core ongoing business enterprise
  • The proposed investment amount cannot be solely used for the purpose of buying the land and cover construction costs
  • Provide local site certification documents and/or related local planning authority approvals
  • In the two-year monitoring period, the corporation must demonstrate that all of the commitments outlined in the Performance Agreement are met to setup the proposed operations and support the ongoing business in order to be eligible for nomination

        C. Local Job Creation Requirements

  • The corporation must create 5 new full-time permanent jobs for Canadians or Permanent Residents per each key staff.
  • Positions must be paid at or above the prevailing wage level for that position.
  • A full-time job means a position that consists of a minimum of 1,560 hours of paid employment in a 12-month period.
  • The position must be continuously filled for at least 10 months prior to the submission of your Final Report

        D. Key Staff and Position Requirements

      Stage 1: Application Requirements

  • The key staff must be essential to the establishment and operation of the proposed business.
  • Key staff must be in a senior, executive, management or specialized knowledge capacity (National Occupation Classification O or A) in the applicant corporation’s existing business.
  • Only one key staff in a NOC A position can be proposed.
  • The key staff must have at least 36 months of experience in the last 60 months in the intended occupation with the applicant corporation. The key staff must also be continuously working for the applicant corporation in that position in the immediate 12 months prior to the submission of the application.
  • Key staff must not have an immediate family relationship with any member of the corporation’s Executive Board or Board of Directors or shareholders with more than 10% equity in the applicant corporation. Immediate family members include spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents and spouse’s immediate family members.
  • Key staff must not hold equity in the company, except in the case where that equity has been obtained as part of the remuneration package as part of the employee contract, in which case the equity held by the key staff must be less than 10% of the corporate applicant’s business.
  • The key staff position in the proposed business in Ontario must be a permanent full-time position and meet the prevailing wage levels.

     Stage 2: Nomination Requirements:

Key staff must meet these requirements in order to be nominated for permanent resident status.

  • Key staff must be in the position for which they were approved by OINP and carrying out the approved job duties.
  • The key staff must physically reside in Ontario for at least 75% of each year (9 months out of the year)
  • The key staff must have a language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5

Application fee

The application fee is CDN$3,500 per key staff. Each certified cheque must be attached to an individual key staff application. There is no processing fee for the corporate application.

List of ineligible types of businesses in the GTA:

  • Existing Franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises expanding into Ontario are permitted)
  • Gas Stations
  • Tire Recycling
  • Scrap Metal Recycling
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • Holding Companies
  • Laundromats
  • Automated Car Wash Operations
  • Payday loan and related businesses
  • Businesses which have been previously owned / operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees

List of ineligible types of businesses outside of the GTA:

  • Tire Recycling
  • Scrap Metal Recycling
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Holding Companies
  • Laundromats
  • Automated Car Wash Operations
  • Payday loan and related businesses
  • Businesses which have been previously owned / operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees