Ontario Entrepreneur Stream

The Entrepreneur Stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) targets international entrepreneurs who plan to start a new business or buy an existing business in Ontario. Upon successfully establishing a business in Ontario, they can apply for provincial nomination, and then for permanent residence in Canada with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The whole application process involves two stages. In the first stage, the candidate submits an Expression of Interest. Upon receiving an invitation from the OINP, the candidate can apply for provincial nomination. The next step is attending a mandatory in-person interview at the OINP office in Toronto. If the interview is successful, they can sign a business performance agreement.

In the second stage, the candidate receives a temporary work permit support letter with which, they can apply to the IRCC for a temporary work permit. Within 20 months, the candidate has to implement the business plan and submit a final report. If the candidate meets all the requirements in the business performance agreement, they will receive provincial nomination from Ontario for Canadian permanent residence.

In order to be eligible under the stream, the candidate as well as the proposed business must meet certain requirements.

The requirements for the candidate include:

  1. At least two years of full-time business experience as a business owner or as a senior manager. The candidate must have acquired the business in the last five years.
  2. The candidate must have a minimum net worth of $800,000 if the business is located in the Greater Toronto Area. If the business is located outside the Greater Toronto Area, the required minimum net worth is $400,000.
  3. The candidate must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 if the proposed business is located in the Greater Toronto Area and hold one-third of the equity in the business. If the proposed business is located outside the Greater Toronto Area, the required minimum personal investment is $200,000. The candidate must also hold at least one-third of the equity of the business. However, if the proposed business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector, the required minimum personal investment is $200,000, irrespective of the location. The candidate must also hold at least of one-third of the equity in the business.
  4. The candidate must actively involve in the management of the business in a day-to-day basis.
  5. The primary purpose of the business must be making profit.
  6. The business must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if the proposed business is located inside the Greater Toronto Area. If the business will be located outside the Greater Toronto Area or in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector, at least one permanent full-time job has to be created for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Requirements for purchasing an existing business

  • The candidate must have conducted at least one business-related visit to Ontario in 12 months before submitting the Expression of Interest
  • The purchased business must have been in continuous operation for at least five years under the same owner
  • The ownership must be completely transferred to the applicant or any business partner.
  • The candidate must use at least 10% of the personal investment for improving or expanding the business in Ontario
  • The new owner must keep all the permanent full-time employees that worked in the business before the ownership was transferred.

Requirements for business

  • The purpose of the business must be to make profit
  • The business must comply with all the relevant federal, provincial and municipal rules.
  • The business must be permanent and not project-based or seasonal business
  • The candidate must maintain a place of business in Ontario at all times.

Ineligible businesses

  • Automated car wash business
  • Holding companies
  • Laundromats
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Pay day loan and related businesses
  • Scrap metal recycling
  • Tire recycling
  • Business involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services
  • Businesses which have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees

If the business is located in the Greater Toronto Area the following businesses will also be ineligible:

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

Expression of Interest(EoI)

Each EoI accepted by the OINP under the stream is awarded a ranking score based on two components: Self-Declared Score (126 points) and Business Concept Score (74 points), with the total maximum score being 200 points. The business concept must score at least 37 points out of 74 to be selected. The highest ranking candidates will be invited to apply in the draws that are held periodically. Upon receiving the invitation, the candidate can apply within 90 days. The validity of an Expression of Interest profile is 12 months and if the candidate is not invited within this period, the profile would be removed from the selection pool. Then the candidate will have to submit a new EoI.

Provincial Nominee Programs open up vast opportunities for international skilled workers and entrepreneurs to accomplish their dreams. Choose the right immigration pathway for you with the help of experienced immigration lawyers and consultants to ensure maximum success for your  application. Contact us for more information

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