The Business Driven Program of the NTNP seeks to attract individuals with business expertise and considerable investment capital to settle in the Northwest Territories and enhance their economic environment.

The streams under this immigration program are for foreign nationals with the ability to establish, purchase, or invest in an existing business. Applicants are selected primarily on the basis of their ability to create jobs for the foreign national and other Canadians living in the region.

The application process begins with a working business concept and a desire to move to the Northwest Territories (NWT). Prospective applicants submit complete applications and business plans for review to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. If the applicant is accepted and the business plan is implemented, a nomination certificate will be issued and the applicant may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status.

There are two streams under the NTNP's Business Driven Program: the Entrepreneur Stream and the Self Employed Stream.

This page will provide further details on the following topics:

 

The Streams

Entrepreneur Stream

This stream facilitates immigration for entrepreneurs who wish to immigrate to the NWT and establish business operations in the territory. Candidates from all economic sectors are eligible for this stream, however, businesses are considered a priority for assessment under this stream if they involve the introduction of a product that is new to the NWT, or if the business would generate significant economic benefits for the territory. A business plan must be provided.

Self Employed Stream

NOTE: The Self Employed Stream of the NTNP's Business Driven Program is permanently closed.

This immigration stream is for professionals who can provide an in-demand service in the Northwest Territories, by establishing business outlets or professional practices. Professionals that will be employed by a business or other organization are not eligible under this stream as it applies only to self employed professionals.

 

The Nomination Process

There are eight steps to the nomination process:

Step 1: Self-Assessment and Initial Investigations

If a prospective applicant believes that he or she meets the criteria of the Business Driven Program, then he or she is encouraged to develop a working business concept and to begin researching the Northwest Territories, its people, its communities, and its economy. The working business concept may be simply identifying a business opportunity in the Northwest Territories or it may entail preparing a full‐scale business plan for a new business, the extent of the work is at the discretion of the prospective applicant.

Step 2: Further Investigations and Face‐to‐Face Interview(s)

Prospective applicants are required to make a business trip to the Northwest Territories prior to being invited to submit an application in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Northwest Territories business environment and the necessary steps to turn a working business concept into a business plan. The trip must be no less than four full business days in length, not including travel days (to and from the Northwest Territories), interview day(s) and statutory holidays. 

After the business trip, prospective applicants must participate in at least one face‐to‐face interview with Nominee Program staff to review the working business concept, and to assess the foreign national's knowledge of the Northwest Territories and his or her business and communication skills. One interview must be held at the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment headquarters in Yellowknife and one must be held with the relevant regional office.

Step 3: Initiating the Application Process and Pre‐Screening

After the interview, the prospective applicant may initiate the application process by submitting the following documents:

  • A cover letter or e‐mail indicating his or her interest in being formally considered for the Nominee Program;
  • A completed NTNP‐01: Nominee Information Form;
  • An updated resume if more than two weeks has passed since the interview(s);
  • An up‐to‐date copy of NTNP‐05: Authorized or Cancel a Representative;
  • A written summary of the working business concept and an outline of the investments to be made; and
  • A completed summary of his or her findings from the business trip.

The prospective applicant will be invited to apply to the NTNP's Business Driven Program if the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is satisfied with the information provided (including the business concept) and believes that the prospective applicant is sincere in his or her desire to settle in the Northwest Territories.

Step 4: Formal Application

Once invited to formally apply, the candidate has nine months to submit a complete application to the Nominee Program. Additionally, the application fee and any other charges must be paid in full and the Third Party Financial Verification Report, detailed business plan, and up‐to‐date copy of the NTNP‐05: Authorize or Cancel a Representative must be submitted within the nine month time period as well.

Step 5: Application Review

After the complete formal application is submitted, both the applicant and the business plan will be reviewed according to the eligibility criteria. NTNP staff may request additional documentation and/or an additional interview to verify information within the application. Nominee Program staff will then either recommend the applicant for entry into the NTNP or deem him/her ineligible. This recommendation is reviewed by the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment who makes the final decision to accept or refuse the application.

Step 6: Approval and the Business Performance Agreement

Once accepted, the applicant will be notified in writing by NTNP staff. The NTNP will then begin negotiating a Business Performance Agreement with the applicant, which outlines the terms under which the applicant is to execute the business plan. Once the agreement is signed and the refundable $75,000 CAD good faith deposit has been received, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment will provide the applicant with a letter of support for a two year temporary work permit, which the applicant may submit along with his or her application to IRCC.

In order to successfully fulfil the requirements of the Business Performance Agreement and be nominated, applicants must reside within 100 kilometres of the NWT business and must reside in the Northwest Territories for at least 75 percent of the time while on a work permit.

Step 7: Developing the Business

Upon arrival in the Northwest Territories, the applicant has two years to develop the business described in the business plan in accordance with the Business Performance Agreement. NTNP staff will monitor the business' progression and meet with the applicant from time to time. The applicant must demonstrate that her or she is actively involved in and accountable for the management of the NWT business' daily operations. Active management must occur at the place of business in the Northwest Territories

Step 8: Nomination

Upon fulfillment of the terms set out in the Business Performance Agreement, the Government of Northwest Territories may issue a nomination certificate to the applicant. Once nominated, the applicant may apply to IRCC for permanent residence. He or she has one year to do so as of the date of nomination indicated on the nomination certificate. 

 

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

Minimum Requirements for the Entrepreneur Stream

In order to be eligible as an entrepreneur under the Business Driven Program, applicants must:

  • Invest:
    • A minimum of $300,000 CAD into starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; or
    • A minimum of $150,000 CAD into starting or buying a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
  • Have a personal net worth of:
    • At least $500,000 CAD if starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; or
    • At least $250,000 CAD if starting or buying a business outside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
  • Demonstrate that they own at least one-third (33.3 percent) of the business;
    • If the applicant makes a personal equity investment of $1,000,000 CAD or more, he or she may own less than one-third (33.3 percent).
  • Provide a good faith deposit of $75,000 CAD to be held in a trust and released upon satisfactory execution of the terms of the Business Performance Agreement;
  • Demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the Northwest Territories and its economy;
  • Demonstrate sufficient communication skills to conduct business in the Northwest Territories and to integrate into the local community; and
  • Have the necessary experience and education to successfully implement the business plan.

Minimum Requirements for the Self Employed Stream

NOTE: The Self Employed Stream of the NTNP's Business Driven Program is permanently closed.

To be eligible under the Self Employed Stream of the Business Driven Program, applicants must:

  • Be a member of a profession in respect to which there is an identified professional skill shortage in the Northwest Territories;
  • Satisfy any certification or accreditation requirements for the profession or occupation;
  • Be capable of meeting all Northwest Territories regulatory authority requirements if in a regulated professions;
    • If no regulatory authority exists within the Northwest Territories, then the Canadian licensing body will be consulted.
  • Demonstrate sufficient communication skills to conduct business in the Northwest Territories and to integrate into the local community;
  • Demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the Northwest Territories and its economy;
  • Demonstrate access to sufficient financial resources to start and operate a professional practice and to support themselves and any dependents for a period of six months; and
  • Submit a detailed business plan for the business or practice.

 

The Business Plan

The business plan must be a coherent and well-thought-out plan for successful settlement and business development in the Northwest Territories. The plan should outline the steps that the applicant will take to ensure that the business has a reasonable chance of success and can be implemented upon arrival. The business plan should show that the candidate has conducted extensive research into the economic, market, and cultural factors relevant to the proposed business and that he or she has taken into account his or her management strengths and weaknesses.

A third party may help the applicant develop the business plan, however, it is crucial that the applicant has complete knowledge and understanding of his or her plan. In the event that the applicant is unaware of the plan's contents, the application may be denied.

Required Content

The business plan must include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Proposed business name and description of the business concept;
  • Business ownership information – partnership, proprietorship, corporation, franchise, acquisition;
  • Proposed industry/sector;
    • Applicants must indicate:
      • The industry sector code(s) that best relates to their proposed investment (per the North American Industry Classification); and
      • The occupation code(s) that best relates to their experience and skill level (per the National Occupation Classification) system.
  • Proposed location for the business;
  • Plans for establishing residence in the Northwest Territories;
  • Management contribution the applicant will make with respect to the proposed business;
  • Proposed investment amount and explanation of how it will be spent;
  • Fore-casted startup funds and expenses;
  • Pro‐forma financial data and a financing plan,if applicable;
  • Number of jobs to be created for NWT residents;
  • Market research performed and all other supporting analysis;
  • A list of planned past and/or future visits to the Northwest Territories, if applicable;
  • Any preparation and training for entrepreneurship in the Northwest Territories (include course titles and institution names, if applicable);
  • The name, organizations, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and emails of contracted professional business service providers whom the prospective applicant has contacted and/or established an active working relationship or paid contractual agreement with; and
  • A summary of the people contracted or consulted within the preparation and/or compilation of the business plan, including the name, organization name, mailing address, e‐mail address and phone number of each.

 

When Not to Apply

Applicants are considered to be ineligible if they:

  • Do not meet one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above;
  • (or any dependent family member, accompanying or not) have a serious medical condition;
  • (or any dependent family member over the age of 18, accompanying or not) have a criminal record;
  • Have unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any member of their family;
  • Are refugee claimants in Canada;
  • Are involved in a federal appeal or removal process;
  • Have active applications with other provincial nominee programs;
  • Have intentionally committed misrepresentation during the application process;
  • Have intentionally committed fraud during the application process; or
  • Have proposed an investment into a business, where the business is operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income.

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