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.
If you are nominated, the next step will be to apply to the federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). They make the final decision on who becomes a permanent resident.
The Entrepreneur Stream application is a two-stage process.
1. Register an expression of interest by email
2. If invited, submit an online application
3. You and your business partner (if applicable) attend a mandatory in-person interview at the OINP office in Toronto
4. If your stage 1 application is successful, you must sign a performance agreement
1. We issue a temporary work permit support letter so that you can apply to IRCC for a temporary work permit
2. Establish your business - you have 20 months to implement your business plan and submit a final report
3. If your business meets all requirements, we ask you for documentation to make sure you are eligible for nomination for permanent residence.
To qualify under the Entrepreneur Stream, you 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. You and one business partner (if applicable) must both meet the eligibility requirements.
If you are invited to submit an application, you must provide supporting documentation to demonstrate you meet the requirements.
Please refer section 13 of Ontario Regulation 422/17 and the Entrepreneur Stream Application Guide for more details on each requirement.
You must have at least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months.
Your experience must be as a business owner or as a senior manager (business management). As a business owner you must have had an active role in the business and owned at least one-third of the business. As a senior manager you must have had senior decision-making responsibilities in the business.
If your proposed business will be located:
• within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto and Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions) you must have a minimum net worth of 800,000 CDN.
• outside of the Greater Toronto Area you must have a minimum net worth of $400,000 CDN.
If your proposed business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector then regardless of location, you must have a minimum net worth of $400,000 CDN.
If your proposed business will be located:
• within the Greater Toronto Area, you must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 CDN and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
• outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CDN and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
If your proposed business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector then regardless of location, you must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CDN and control at least of one-third of the equity in the business.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) welcomes foreign national entrepreneurs willing to invest in Ontario. Candidates who are invited to apply for permanent residency nomination under the Entrepreneur Stream would be considered, but not guaranteed for approval, and applications are assessed against the criteria as set out under section 13 of Ontario Regulation 422/17 (General), as further explained in the Application Guide: Entrepreneur Stream. The criteria include an applicant demonstrating that they meet minimum personal net worth and investment criteria. While passive investments, including mutual and/or pooled fund securities, are permissible for the purpose of satisfying the personal net worth criterion, they are not eligible for inclusion in an applicant’s minimum business investment amount.
You must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
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.
If the business will be located inside the Greater Toronto Area, you 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, you 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.
If you plan to purchase an existing business:
• you 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
• you must use at least 10% of your personal investment towards improving or expanding the business in Ontario
• you 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 listed above, you must also meet the general business requirements listed below.
1. Business purpose
The business purpose must be to make a profit from active income through the sale of goods and/or services.
2. Canadian and Ontario legal requirements
Your business must comply with all relevant federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory and licensing requirements. This includes compliance with Ontario’s labour and employment standards laws.
3. Permanent business
Your business must be permanent. Project-based and seasonal businesses are not eligible.
Ineligible types of businesses
Before you start the process of applying you need to ensure that your proposed business is not one of the ineligible types listed below.
• automated car wash business
• holding companies
• pay day loan and related businesses
• scrap metal recycling
• tire recycling
• a 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 your proposed business will be located in the Greater Toronto Area, the following types are also ineligible.
• existing franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises expanding into Ontario are permitted)
• gas stations
• bed and breakfasts
Use a representative to apply
You may choose to appoint an authorized representative, such as an immigration consultant or lawyer, to provide advice or help with your EOI and application and to act on your behalf with the OINP.
Expression of interest
An expression of interest (EOI) is the first step. It is 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 your Business Concept. Your business concept will need to score at least 37 of the available 74 points (50%) to be placed in the EOI selection pool.
Whether you will be issued an invitation to apply is based on your EOI rank in the selection pool. Only the top ranked candidates are invited to apply.
Refer to the Entrepreneur Stream Application Guide to learn more about the different scoring categories and the corresponding points.
• if you are selected, you will be invited to submit an application and you will be required to provide supporting documents to validate the information in your EOI
• if your stage 1 application is successful, the information you provide in your EOI will become part of your contractual obligations under the performance agreement.
Example: If you are selected to apply to the Entrepreneur Stream and your EOI indicates you will make a $2,000,000 investment, your application must indicate you will be making an investment of at least $2,000,000. This will then be included in your performance agreement as the minimum investment you must make in order to be eligible for nomination for permanent residence.