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Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES) – Ontario Nominee Program

The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES) is aimed at individuals from outside Canada who want to start a business or buy an already existing business in Ontario. 

Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Application Steps

The Entrepreneur Stream involves a series of steps before an applicant is granted permanent residency.

Successful applicants are initially awarded temporary residency, with permanent residency dependent on the performance of the business against agreed targets.

Step 1: Make sure you satisfy all criteria and requirements of the OES

Ontario suggests candidates thoroughly self-evaluate before registering an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Primarily, this should include making sure you meet minimum requirements, but candidates are strongly advised to visit the province to assess business opportunities and make local contacts.

If applying with a business partner, the both of you must meet the minimum requirements in order to apply under the OES.

Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Financial Requirements

1) Net Worth

  • Minimum net worth of $1,500,000 if your proposed business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Outside the GTA, minimum net worth is $800,000.
  • Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, minimum net worth is $800,000 anywhere in province.

2) Investment and Ownership

  • Invest at least $1 million in an Ontario business and own at least 33 per cent if business is in GTA.
  • Outside GTA, invest at least $500,000 and own at least 33 per cent.
  • Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, invest at least $500,000 and own at least 33 per cent anywhere in province.

Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Non-Financial Requirements

  • At least 36 months of full-time business experience in the past 60 months, as an owner or senior manager.
  • Create two full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the proposed company.
  • Make exploratory visit to Ontario in the 12 months prior to application. Note: This only applies to those buying an existing business.
  • Minimum CLB 4 in English or French.
  • Physically reside in Ontario for at least 75 % of the time you are managing the business.

Step 2: Complete and submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI)

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is an online form by which the applicant states an intention to immigrate to the province of Ontario under the OES. 

It must be submitted online via the OINP e-Filing Portal and must be filled out accurately and honestly.

An EOI is valid for a year from the date of receipt. If it expires, you are welcome to submit another one.

The applicant is assessed and given a score using a points system.  Points are awarded based on:

This factor is further divided into two sections:

Business experience must be:

  • Ownership experience (must have owned at least 33% of the business and have been actively involved in management) OR 
  • Senior management experience (decision-making responsibilities in areas such as operations, finance, sales, marketing, human resources, etc.)
  • In the past 5 years
  • Minimum required is 3 years: if you have below 36 months of experience, you are not eligible for the OES

Specific Experience must be:

  • In a high growth business or in an export trade business
  • As a business owner OR senior management
  • Within the last 5 years

This criterion is further divided into: personal net worth, investment amount, job creation, business visit, targeted sectors, business location

Personal net worth must be legally acquired and verifiable. It includes all assets minus all liabilities, yours and your spouse’s or common law partner’s, if applicable.

Minimum required is $1,500,000 if the business is located in GTA, or $800,000 if the business is located outside GTA or it operates in ICT/Digital communications.

Investment amount must be of minimum $1 million if business is in GTA OR at least $500,000 if outside GTA or operates in ICT/Digital communications.

The main applicant must own one-third of the business. If applicable, the spouse/common-law partner may own equity in the business.

If you have a business partner, they must also meet the same thresholds and own at least one-third of the business.

Some types of investments are ineligible:

  • Cash, cash equivalents or working capital
  • Wage payments made to your self and family members

Job creation may also provide points under this factor. Minimum requirement is to create two full-time permanent jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, paid at the median wage level.

The NOC of the positions you create also receives points. There is no minimum requirement, but NOC C and D will receive no points.

An exploratory visit to Ontario is optional for those who create a new business, but mandatory for those who purchase an existing business. It must be done within the last year prior to the application.

Further points are awarded if your business is in one of the following sectors:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Chemical and biochemical
  • Cleantech
  • Financial Services
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturing
  • Industrial Automation and Robotics
  • Information technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Mining
  • Tourism

Business location is also important, although not a mandatory requirement. The OINP awards points based on the size of the areas where the business is located.

The human capital factor provides points for the level of education you completed and the proficiency level you obtained in English or in French.

No minimum level of education is required for the OES, but points are given only for post-secondary diplomas or degrees.

If the education is not obtained in Canada, you must provide an Education Credential Assessment of your highest education level achieved.

A language test is also not mandatory, but points are given if you achieve minimum of CLB/NCLC 4 in all four language abilities, in English or in French, at the time of nomination.

Step 3: Invitation to apply

Ontario makes periodic draws and selects registrants from the EOI pool.

Candidates who are selected may then submit an application for nomination under the OES.

Step 4: Submit the application

Once an applicant is invited to apply, they will need to submit a business case along with the necessary forms and supporting documents within 90 days.

You must provide a review report of your personal net worth, made by a qualified vendor approved by the OINP.

There is a $3,500 application processing fee. If you are applying with a business partner, they must also pay the processing fee.

Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Step 5: Application assessment

Once the fee and all required documents are received, the application will be assessed. 

Applicants, and their business partner if applicable, will be required to attend a mandatory interview, in person, at OINP offices.

Step 6: Sign Performance Agreement

If your application is approved, you will be asked to sign a Performance Agreement. The Performance Agreement will outline the rules that must be followed in order for you, and your partner if applicable, to be nominated for permanent residence.

Step 7: Before you arrive: temporary work permit

Once you sign the Performance Agreement, you will be sent a Letter of Confirmation. This letter will allow you to apply for a Temporary Work Permit from the Canadian government. If you meet all the relevant criteria of the Canadian federal government, you will receive a temporary Work Permit.

Step 8: After you arrive: 20 months for business establishment

Once you obtain a temporary work permit, you should move to Ontario and begin establishing your business as soon as possible. You must inform the immigration processing office of your arrival in Ontario within 7 days of arrival. Within 18-20 months of arriving in Ontario, you must submit a report showing that you are abiding by all the rules of the OES and the terms of your Performance Agreement.

Step 9: Nomination for permanent residence

If your report is approved, you will be nominated for permanent residence by the Ontario government. The holder of a nomination certificate may submit an application for Canadian permanent residence to the federal government as long as the nominee continues to abide by the performance agreement and the requirements of the OES mentioned above.

Step 10: Application for permanent residence, plus three years of monitoring

If you obtain permanent residence, you will be monitored for an additional period of 36 months to make sure that you continue to abide by all the rules of the OES and the terms of your performance agreement.

Dependants

The following dependants of key staff members can be included in an application of Ontario Corporate Stream Business program:

  • Spouse or Common Law Partner
  • Dependent children who are:
    • Younger than age 19 and do not have a spouse or common law partner OR
    • Dependant on their parents due to physical or mental illness.
    • Dependent children of dependent children.

Interested employers: Kindly contact us  to receive further information.

Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.

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