OINP Entrepreneur Stream
Information for entrepreneurs from outside Canada looking to start a new business or buy an existing business in Ontario.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has implemented the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system, as required by the federal government. Any new documents or registrations submitted to the OINP must reflect the new federal NOC 2021 system.
Entrepreneur Stream at a glance
The Entrepreneur Stream is an immigration stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). It is established under the Ontario Immigration Act, 2015 and its regulations. For your application to be approved you must follow the process and meet the criteria established under the regulations. This is only a summary; if there are any discrepancies between this webpage and the legislation, the legislation governs.
This stream is for entrepreneurs from outside 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. An overview of the process follows.
- Register an expression of interest.
- If invited, submit an online application.
- You and your business partner (if applicable) attend a mandatory interview.
- If your stage 1 application is successful, you must sign a performance agreement.
- We issue a temporary work permit support letter so that you can apply to IRCC for a temporary work permit.
- Establish your business - you have 20 months from the date you arrive in Ontario to implement your business plan and submit a final report.
- If your business meets all requirements, we ask you for documentation to make sure you are eligible for nomination for permanent residence.
Before you register an expression of interest
- Make sure you meet the mandatory requirements.
- Check the list of ineligible types of businesses.
- Understand the expression of interest process.
- Read the registration instructions.
Mandatory minimum requirements at Stage 1
To qualify for nomination as a permanent resident under the Entrepreneur Stream, you must demonstrate that you will 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 foreign national 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 eligibility requirements. This includes demonstrating that you had the qualifications that you claimed when you registered your expression of interest.
You must also submit your application within 90 days of receiving an invitation.
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 and managed the day-to-day operations of the business in whole or in part.
You (the applicant) must have a minimum personal net worth. All of your personal net worth must be lawfully obtained and verifiable, not just the minimum. If your proposed business is to be located:
- within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto and Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions) you must have a minimum personal net worth of $800,000 Canadian
- outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you must have a minimum personal net worth of $400,000 Canadian
Your personal net worth does not include your spouse’s personal net worth.
Personal investment funds and minimum equity
You must make minimum investments in your business from your personal net worth. If your proposed business is to be located:
- within the Greater Toronto Area, you must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 Canadian
- outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 Canadian
You must 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 Canadian and control at least of one-third of the equity in the business.
Please note that passive investments, including mutual and/or pooled fund securities, while permissible for the purpose of satisfying the minimum personal net worth criterion, are ineligible 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.
Capital investment purpose
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 is to 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 is to 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.
These jobs must:
- be paid at the median wage level for the position
- be filled continuously for at least 10 months prior to submitting the final report
- continue to exist at the time of final report and nomination
Additional requirements if purchasing an existing business
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 (proof of ownership and either a letter of intent to purchase the business or sale agreement is required)
- ownership of the business must be completely transferred to the applicant or any business partner
- the previous owner(s) cannot retain any shares of the business
- 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 jobs in the business prior to the transfer of ownership
- the proposed business must not have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees, including anyone who has received a certificate of nomination under the Entrepreneur Stream or the Opportunities Ontario Investor Component
General business requirements
In addition to meeting the minimum requirements listed above, you must also meet the general business requirements listed below.
The purpose of the business must be to make a profit from active income through the sale of goods and/or services.
Canadian and Ontario legal requirements
The business must comply with all applicable federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory and licensing requirements. This includes compliance with Ontario’s labour and employment standards laws.
Your business must operate on a permanent basis in Ontario. Project-based and seasonal businesses are ineligible.
Business premises in Ontario
You must maintain a place of business in Ontario at all times.
Qualifying third-party investors
Ineligible types of business
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 or operated by a current or former OINP Entrepreneur Stream nominee or a nominee under the former investor component of the Opportunities Ontario program
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
Mandatory minimum requirements at Stage 2
You must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.
For English tests, the OINP accepts either:
- International English Language Testing (IELTS) (General Training test only)
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) (General test only)
For French tests, the OINP accepts either:
- Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada (TEF)
- Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)
You must be physically living in Ontario for 75% of the time during which you are establishing your business.
You must receive a temporary work permit and arrive in Ontario within 12 months of receiving approval at Stage 1 and inform the program of your arrival within seven days.
You must be actively involved in the day-to-day management activities of your business.
Meet the commitments in your performance agreement
You must meet all the commitments agreed to in your performance agreement, which are based on information provided in your EOI and business plan.
Use a representative to apply
You may choose to appoint a lawyer or an immigration consultant to provide advice or help with your EOI and application and to act on your behalf with the OINP.
If you are experiencing technical issues with applying online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include as much detail as possible about the issue.
OINP staff will review your email and respond to you as soon as possible.