The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Entrepreneur Stream is designed to attract individuals who are looking to implement a new business initiative or buy an existing business in Ontario.

Successful applicants will obtain a temporary work permit support letter based on a performance agreement to establish the business in Ontario. If the investment and job creation agreements outlined in the performance agreement are adhered to, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to be nominated by the OINP for Canadian permanent resident status. The OINP Entrepreneur Stream operates on an 'Expression of Interest' model, whereby eligible participants must be invited to apply before they may submit a complete application.

In August, 2016, the OINP launched an online application process to make it easier to register an Expression of Interest (EOI), making it easier to apply to the Entrepreneur Stream if invited, and improving processing times for applicants.

Take the opportunity to learn more about the OINP Entrepreneur Stream through the following sections:

 

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Minimum Requirements for Applicants

In order to make an Expression of Interest (EOI), applicants must:

  • Have at least 36 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months as a business owner or senior manager;
    • If the applicant has experience as both a business owner and a senior manager, he or she must choose only ONE to use for the EOI and for the application.
  • Have a minimum net worth, which varies depending on where the business will be located;
    • For businesses located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), applicants must have a minimum net worth of $1,500,000.
    • For businesses located outside the GTA, applicants must have a minimum net worth of $800,000.
    • For businesses in the ICT/Digital Communications sector (regardless of where it will be located), applicants must have a minimum net worth of $800,000.
  • Provide a third party verification report, prepared by an authorized service provider, in order to demonstrate their net worth.
  • Make a minimum personal investment, which varies depending on the location of the proposed business;
    • If the proposed business will be located within the GTA, applicants must make a minimum personal investment of $1,000,000.
    • If the proposed business will be located outside the GTA, applicants must make a minimum personal investment of $500,000.
    • If the proposed business will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector (regardless of where it will be located), applicants must make a minimum personal investment of $500,000.
  • Have a minimum equity ownership of 33.3 percent (one-third);
  • Must commit to creating at least two permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents; and 
    • If purchasing an existing business, the applicant must create two new full-time permanent positions in addition to the current staff.
  • Make at least one business-related visit to Ontario in the 12 months prior to submitting the Expression of Interest, if purchasing an existing business.

NOTE: If the applicant is applying with a Business Partner who is also seeking nomination, both the applicant and the partner must individually meet all the minimum requirements listed above.

Minimum Requirements for Businesses

The proposed business must meet the following general requirements to participate in the Entrepreneur Stream:

  • The proposed business’ purpose must intend to make a profit through the sale of goods and/or services;
  • Primary income sources must be from active (earned) income, not passive (unearned) income;
  • The proposed business must comply with Canadian legal requirements and all regulatory industry and licensing requirements which govern its legitimate operation;
  • The proposed business must comply with all Ontario labour laws, including but not limited to employment standards, health and safety and labour relations legislation;
  • The proposed business must be considered a permanent business in Ontario; and
  • Third party investors must be a Schedule I or Schedule II bank or an institutional investor.

Other requirements specific to business succession:

  • Any existing business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner or group of owners for the five years prior to the applicant's purchase of the business;
    • Proof of ownership and either a letter of intent to purchase the business or sale agreement is required.
  • The purchase must completely transfer ownership from the previous owner(s) to the applicant, his or her Business Partner, if applicable, and/or any third party investor(s), if applicable;
  • The proposed business must not have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees;
  • The applicant must preserve all existing permanent full-time jobs and create two additional permanent full-time jobs;
  • The applicant must maintain, at minimum, the current wage levels and employment terms of existing staff; and
  • The proposed business plan must demonstrate that the applicant intends to grow the business. 

Minimum Requirements for Nominations

Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be nominated once they have established the business and met the performance agreement. Successfully obtaining a nomination certificate allows applicants to make an application for Canadian permanent residence.

Applicants must only meet these criteria when they apply for nomination after the business has been established, not when applying to the Entrepreneur Stream.

  • Applicants must demonstrate official language proficiency at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 level or equivalent.
    • CLB 4 can be demonstrated through the following International English Language Testing (IELTS) General Test Scores and Test d'Évaluation de Français (TEF) scores in each language proficiency:
      • Listening: IELTS 4.5 or TEF 145-180
      • Reading: IELTS3.54 or TEF 121-150
      • Writing: IELTS 4 or TEF 181-225
      • Speaking: IELTS 4 or TEF 181-225
  • To meet the active management requirements of the program, applicants must be physically residing in Ontario for 75 percent (nine months out of the year) of the period in which they are establishing the business in Ontario (i.e. the performance agreement period).

 

Ineligible Businesses

Ontario will not process applications where there is a risk of little to no long-term economic benefit to the province. Consequently, the proposed business cannot be included in the following list of ineligible businesses.

Ineligible Businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (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

Ineligible Businesses outside 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

 

Expression of Interest (EOI)

An EOI is not an application, but rather an expression of the candidate's interest in participating in the OINP Entrepreneur Stream. If an individual is invited to apply based on his or her EOI, he or she may submit a complete application to the Entrepreneur Stream. The EOI model functions on a self-declared points-based system, therefore applicants may claim a score based on the scoring information provided below. The total score will determine whether or not the applicant may receive an Invitation to Apply under the OINP Entrepreneur Stream.

Scoring Factors and Breakdown of Points

Applicants can claim points for factors under three categories: Experience, Investment and Human Capital. The maximum score available is 160 points.

Scoring Sections Points
Experience Factors 50
Investment Factors 100
Human Capital Factors 20
Total Points Available 170

Experience Factors

Individuals may claim points based on business experience. The number of points is based on the individual's past business ownership experience OR senior management experience in the 60 months prior to submitting an EOI. If the individual has both business ownership and senior management experience in 36 of the past 60 months, he or she must choose one of these experiences in the EOI. As mentioned in the minimum eligibility requirements section above, there is a minimum requirement of 36 months of experience to be eligible for the Entrepreneur Stream.

If the applicant has a Business Partner, the partner must also have a minimum of 36 months of experience in the last 60 months.

Experience Factor 1: Business Owner

Individuals claiming points under this factor must have owned at least 33.3 percent of the business during the period claimed as the length of experience. It must also be demonstrated that they held an active role in the business, meaning that the individual was personally involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and had direct involvement in decision-making.

Experience Factor 2: Senior Manager

The Senior Manager role must have included senior decision-making responsibilities in areas such as operations, sales, finance, marketing, distribution, human resources, research and development, etc.

Experience Total Duration Points
Business Owner Less than 36 months Not eligible
36 – 47 months 13
48 – 59 months 19
60 months 25
OR
Senior Manager Less than 36 months Not eligible
36 – 47 months 8
48 – 59 months 14
60 months 20
Total Points Available 25

Experience Factor 3: Specific Experience

Individuals may claim points based on their past specific experience in a high growth business and/or in an export trade business.

  • High Growth Business Experience: experience in a business that experienced at least 20 percent increase in revenue for two consecutive years. Submission of supporting documentation (e.g. financial statements) is mandatory if the individual is invited to apply.
  • Export Trade Business Experience: experience in a business exporting at least 20 percent of total goods/services to a foreign market. Submission of supporting documentation (e.g. financial statements with export declarations, purchase orders, invoices) is mandatory if the individual is invited to apply.

Business owners who can provide supporting documentation verifying that their business was a high growth business or an export-trade business may claim these points.

Senior managers who can provide a reference letter from the employer and/or other supporting documentation indicating that their role in the business had a direct decision-making authority or a direct impact on the high growth activity/activities of the business may claim these points.

Past Specific Experience Points
None 0
Yes: one past specific experience 15
Yes: two past specific experiences 25
Total Points Available 25

Investment Factors

Investment Factor 1: Net Worth

Personal net worth must be legally obtained and verifiable. Personal net worth includes all assets and those of the applicant's spouse or common-law partner, less any liabilities including mortgages and personal debts. Net worth must be in the applicant's and his or her spouse/common-law partner’s name.

As mentioned in the minimum eligibility requirements section above, there is a minimum requirement for personal net worth to be eligible for the Entrepreneur Stream, which varies according to where the proposed business will be located.

If the applicant has a Business Partner, the partner must also meet the appropriate minimum personal net worth requirement.

Personal Net Worth Points
If the proposed business
will be within the GTA
Less than $1,500,000 Not eligible
$1,500,000 to $1,999,999 2
$2,000,000 to $2,499,999 5
$2,500,000 to $2,999,000 8
$3,000,000 to $3,499,999 11
More than $3,500,000 15
OR

If the proposed business
will be outside the GTA


OR


If the proposed business
will be in the ICT/Digital
Communications Sector
(regardless of location)

Less than $800,000 Not eligible
$800,000 to $1,299,999 2
$1,300,000 to $1,799,999 5
$1,800,000 to $2,299,999 8
$2,300,000 to $2,799,999 11
More than $2,800,000 15
Total Points Available 15

Investment Factor 2: Investment Amount

The minimum eligible personal investment must be derived from the applicant's personal net worth.

Third parties may provide external financing beyond the minimum investment amount if they are a Schedule I or Schedule II bank or an institutional investor. Third-party personal investments are not permitted. Applicants cannot claim points for investments that will be made by a third-party.

In order to be considered an eligible investment, the expenditure must be essential to the establishment and operation of a new business or to purchase, improve and operate an existing business.

If the applicant is purchasing an existing business, he or she must:

  • Invest some funds towards improvement/expansion of the business; and
  • Note that improvement/expansion does not include regular operating expenses such as recurring inventory, wages, rent, utilities, or maintaining the same levels of marketing or advertising expenses, legal or professional fees, business licenses, etc.

The following are considered ineligible investments:

    • Cash, cash equivalents or working capital; and
    • Wage payments made to the applicant him/herself and his/her family members.

As mentioned in the minimum eligibility requirements section above, there is a minimum requirement for investment amount to be eligible for the Entrepreneur Stream, which varies according to where the proposed business will be located.

If the applicant has a Business Partner, the partner must also meet the appropriate minimum investment amount requirement.

Investment Amount Points
If the proposed business
will be within the GTA
Less than $1,000,000 Not eligible
$1,000,000 to $1,499,999 2
$1,500,000 to $1,999,999 6
$2,000,000 to $2,499,000 10
$2,500,000 to $2,999,999 14
More than $3,000,000 20
OR

If the proposed business
will be outside the GTA

OR


If the proposed business
will be in the ICT/Digital
Communications Sector
(regardless of location)

Less than $500,000 Not eligible
$500,000 to $999,999 3
$1,000,000 to $1,499,999 8

$1,500,000 to $1,999,999

13

$2,000,000 to $2,499,999

18
More than $2,500,000 25
Total Points Available 25

Investment Factor 3: Job Creation

Applicants may claim points based on the total number of permanent full-time jobs they will create for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. 

Applicants must demonstrate that they will create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in order to be eligible under the OINP Entrepreneur Stream, as mentioned in the above minimum requirements section. These jobs must be paid at the prevailing wage rate and must consist of a minimum of 1,560 hours of paid employment in a 12-month period.

If the applicant has a Business Partner, he or she must also create two jobs, making a total of four new jobs for the proposed business.

Job Creation Points
Fewer than 2 jobs Not eligible
2 jobs 5
3 – 4 jobs 12
5 – 6 jobs 19
7 or more jobs 20
Total Points Available 20

Investment Factor 4: Exploratory Visits

Applicants may claim points based on any business-related visits to Ontario made within the year prior to the EOI submission. There is no mandatory requirement for exploratory visits, unless the applicant is purchasing an existing business.

Exploratory Visits to Ontario Points
No 0
Yes: one visit in the last year 2
Yes: two or more visits in the last year 5
Total Points Available 5

Investment Factor 5: Key Sector Targeted

Applicants may claim points if the proposed business is in a key sector, as determined by the government of Ontario.

These key sectors have been defined as economic priorities for Ontario:

    • Aerospace
    • Automotive
    • Financial services
    • Food and Beverage Manufacturing
    • Information & Communications Technology
    • Life Sciences
    • Mining
    • Tourism Investment
    • Water Technology
Key Sector Targeted Points
No 0
Yes 10
Total Points Available 10

Investment Factor 6: Business Location

Individuals may claim points based on the location of the proposed business.

The OINP uses Cencus Metropolitan Area (CMA) and Census Agglomeration (CA) data to divide business locations into three broad categories based on population size.

CMAs and CAs are areas consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a population centre (known as a core). A CMA is defined as having a total population, of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the core. A CA is defined as having a core population of at least 10,000. Some locations may be part of larger categories. Therefore, individuals may find the business location is in a CMA or CA.

Business Location Points
CMA with a population of 175,000 or more 0
CMA or CA with a population greater than 100,000 but less than 175,000 5
Other location with a population of 100,000 or below 10
Total Points Available 10

Investment Factor 7: National Occupation Classification (NOC) 0, A or B Jobs

Applicants may claim points based on the NOC 0, NOC A or NOC B jobs their proposed business will create for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. 

Creation of N0C 0, A or B Jobs Points
Yes: NOC 0 or A job(s) 15
Yes: NOC B job(s) 10
No: Only NOC C and/or NOC D jobs 0
Total Points Available 15

Human Capital Factors

Human Capital Factor 1: Level of Education

Applicants may claim points based on their highest level of education completed. There is no minimum requirement to be considered for the Entrepreneur Stream.

Applicants invited to apply who are claiming to have completed six months or more of post-secondary education will be required to provide evidence of this education, including Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) results.

Level of Education Points
No post-secondary education 0
Between six months and two years of post-secondary education 2
More than two years of post-secondary education 5
Total Points Available 5

Human Capital Factor 2: Official Language Ability

While it is not mandatory to demonstrate language abilities in English and/or French in to be considered for the Entrepreneur Stream at the time of submitting the EOI, language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 is required at the time of nomination by OINP. 

Applicants must demonstrate their language proficiency with either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Test scores, Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), or Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF). 

Official Language Ability Points
None or minimal (CLB 3 or below) 3
Basic understanding (CLB 4) 10
Intermediate and advanced (CLB 5 or higher) 15
Total Points Available 15

To learn more about CLBs and language ability, click here.

 

Expression of Interest (EOI) Scoring, Draws, and Processing Periods

Meeting all the minimum requirements does not guarantee that an applicant will be invited to apply to the OINP Entrepreneur Stream. There is no minimum score, as EOIs will be ranked against each other and only top candidates will be invited to apply. If an applicant is applying with a Business Partner, the final score will be calculated using the lowest submitted score of the two candidates. This final score will be used to rank the EOI against other EOI scores received.

At the beginning of each Processing Period, a draw will occur, with only the top scoring EOI’s being selected for processing. Draws occur approximately every 120 days. The final “cut-off” score may vary between Processing Periods due to differences in scores submitted during respective months.

EOIs not selected within 12 months from the date of receipt will be removed from the selection pool. Individuals will be able to re-apply to enter the selection pool after an EOI has been removed.

 

Interview

The applicant (and Business Partner, if applicable) is required to attend a mandatory in-person interview at OINP’s offices. The purpose of the mandatory interview is to get a better understanding of the business plan and past experience. The applicant (and Business Partner, if applicable) is responsible for all transportation arrangements and costs incurred associated with the interview.

 

Performance Agreement

If the application is approved, the applicant (and Business Partner, if applicable) will be required to sign a Performance Agreement with the province of Ontario. The Performance Agreement outlines the commitments required in order to be nominated for permanent resident status. This document will include, but may not be limited to:

  • A description of the business (including industry and its location);
  • The investment amounts and timelines;
  • The number and type of jobs to be created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
  • Mandatory business milestones and achievements (depending on the specific business); and
  • Timeframes for any commitments.

Performance Agreements are unique to each applicant and are based on the information provided in the application (including the EOI), the business plan, and the interview, if applicable. Applicants who fail to satisfy the business commitments outlined in the Performance Agreement will not be eligible for nomination for permanent resident status.

Once the applicant (and his or her Business Partner, if applicable) have signed the agreement, OINP will issue a Letter of Confirmation so that he or she can apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a temporary work permit. 

 

Business Establishment

After the Performance Agreement is signed, successful applicants must arrive in Ontario with their valid temporary work permit issued by IRCC within one year of the date of the Letter of Confirmation. 

After arrival in Ontario, individuals have up to 20 months to implement the business plan and meet all commitments under the Performance Agreement. Successful applicants are responsible for submitting a Final Report to the OINP between 18 and 20 months after their arrival in Ontario with a valid temporary work permit. The Final Report should demondtrate that the candidate has met all objectives set out in the Performance Agreement.

The required permanent full-time jobs created by the new business must be filled within 10 months of the date of the applicant's arrival in Canada and they must remain filled for at least 10 months, up to the date that the Final Report is submitted to the OINP.

The Final Report along with supporting documentation must be submitted to the OINP in order to initiate the nomination process.

 

Nomination Requirements

Successful nominees must apply to IRCC for permanent resident status within six months of being nominated by OINP. In addition to meeting all obligations of the Performance Agreement, applicants (and their Business Partners, if applicable) must:

  • Be actively involved in the day-to-day management of the business;
  • Physically reside in Ontario for 75 percent of the year (nine months out of the year) to support the business during the performance agreement period; and
  • Demonstrate CLB 5 or equivalent language ability.
Federal admissibility requirements, including security and medical background checks, also apply.
 

Invitation History

Draw date Minimum score required Number of invitations issued
December 22, 2016 132 10
August 29, 2016 123 20
May 5, 2017 120 22

Tools and Resources

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