This section contains policy, procedures and guidance that the staff of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) typically refer to. The authorities have placed this on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Officers have the ability to substitute their evaluations for the requirements specified in the Ministerial Instructions (MIs) on a case-by-case basis. However, they would do this only if they believe that the requirements are not sufficient indicators of whether or not the foreign nationals have the ability to establish themselves economically in Canada.
In some situations, the officers might choose to use substituted evaluation – whether negative or positive. In this scenario, the scope of what the officers might consider while exercising their authority would tend to supersede the prescribed list of factors. It is possible that in some situations, the applicant might have ‘almost met’ the prescribed requirements. However, this in itself is not sufficient grounds for recommending the use of a positive substituted evaluation.
It is worth highlighting that officers must not confuse substituted evaluation with Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) authority. The authorities have addressed this appropriately in the provisions specified in A25 – refer to Appendix A. Federal Court case law indicates that officers would need to consider substituted evaluation only if an applicant or the applicant’s representative requests it. However, officers would need to examine the circumstances of the case before considering this. In addition, there is no requirement for the officers to conduct an interview, if the applicant does not make a compelling case.
In some situations, the officers might find that the case does not warrant the consideration of a substituted evaluation. In this scenario, the officers would need to indicate this clearly in their case notes. They would need to highlight this in the formal refusal letter as well. Thereafter, they would need to provide a brief summary of the reasons for refusing to consider substituted evaluation in that specific case.
The exercising of substituted evaluation would typically depend on the merits of each individual case. Therefore, officers would need to use the terms specified in the legislation such as:
- Substituted evaluation or,
- The ability of the applicants to establish themselves economically in Canada
In certain situations, the officers might decide to use negative substituted evaluation. This would typically be the scenario where the applicant meets all the requirements of the class. In these situations, the officers would need to:
- Communicate their concerns in writing and provide ample opportunity for the applicant to respond to the concerns raised either via correspondence or documentation
- Obtain written concurrence from a designated officer and,
- Provide the relevant reasons for using negative substituted evaluation in the formal refusal letter
Similarly, in some situations, the officers might decide to use positive substituted evaluation. This would typically be the case when the applicant does not meet one or more of the requirements of the class. In these situations, the officers would need to:
- Obtain written concurrence from a designated officer and,
- Place a note in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) providing reasons for the use of positive substituted evaluation
The officers would need to exercise discretion when they consider using substituted evaluation. This is particularly so in cases when they determine whether an applicant is a member of the Start-Up Business Class. It is worth mentioning though, that officers would not be able to use substituted evaluation for overcoming the absence of a commitment from a designated entity. This is in accordance with the provisions specified in MI 2 (2) (a).
- The use of substituted evaluation always requires the written concurrence of a second officer
Fraud Detection and Deterrence
Officers would need to undertake both targeted and random verifications for detecting and deterring fraud. They would need to do this on a percentage of cases high enough to act as a meaningful disincentive for those who engage in fraudulent practices. Some of the ways by which they could detect and combat fraud include:
- Interviews (refer to Appendix B)
- Site visits and,
- Telephone checks
Addressing Integrity Concerns
Officers would need to consider carefully the integrity of all supporting documentation. Thereafter, they would need to investigate any suspicious documents or inconsistencies related to the submission. It is worth mentioning that any material misrepresentation is grounds for inadmissibility in its own right. If the authorities find individuals involved in such fraudulent practices – whether directly or indirectly, they would prescribe a two-year period of inadmissibility for these individuals.
Situations could arise where the officers have some concerns regarding the accuracy or authenticity of the information or documentation. Similarly, officers might find some discrepancies in the information or documentation specified in the application. For this, they would need to follow up or seek clarifications from:
- The applicant or,
- The designated entity
In addition, they might need to initiate a peer review before they make a final decision on the application.
The Start-Up Visa Program was introduced by ministerial instruction in April 2013 as a five-year pilot project. It was made permanent on March 31, 2018.
The Start-Up Visa program grants Canadian permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs. The program aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada and link them with the Canadian private sector businesses, (angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators) and facilitate the establishment of their start-up business in Canada.
Start-Up Visa Program News
- Start-Up Visa Program Bringing Entrepreneurs and New Businesses To Canada
- Start-Up Visa Program for Business-Minded International Students
- Canada Start-Up Visa Program For Entrepreneur Immigrants To Be Made Permanent
Successful candidates will receive a letter of support from a government designated entity (angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator). The government designated entity is primarily responsible to determine the viability of the applicant’s intended business and present an approved project along with a Commitment Certificate to immigration authorities. Applications are assessed under a pass fail basis. See list of designated entities.
Applicants to Canada’s Start-Up Visa program must meet four basic eligibility requirements:
- Have a qualifying business
- Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support;
- Have sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds;
- Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardized testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5) ;
The required commitment from a designated entity must meet the following criteria:
- A designated angel investor group must confirm that it is investing at least $75,000 CAD into the qualifying business, or two or more commitments from designated angel investor groups totaling $75,000 CAD; OR
- A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 CAD into the qualifying business or two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling $200,000 CAD; OR
- A designated business incubator must confirm that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator Program.
In order to qualify, the intended business must be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made and:
- The applicant owns a least 10% of the voting rights in the corporation; AND
- No other person holds 50% or more of the total amount of voting rights in the corporation.
Up to five applicants may have their application for permanent residence supported by the same business investment. However, certain applicants may be designated essential to the intended business. If any of the essential applicants withdraw their application or are refused for other reasons, all other applicants under the same business investment will see their applications terminated.
Applicants who have secured a Commitment Certificate from a designated entity, and who wish to begin working in the business during the processing of their permanent residence application may apply for a short term work permit on the basis of their Commitment Certificate if the designated entity supports such a request.
Canada’s Start-Up Visa program does not apply to applicants who intend to reside in the province of Quebec.
Designated venture capital funds
- BDC Venture Capital
- Celtic House Venture Partners
- Extreme Venture Partners LLP
- Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
- Impression Ventures
- Information Venture Partners Management Inc.
- Innovation Platform Capital International LP
- iNovia Capital Inc.
- Lumira Capital
- Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
- OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
- Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
- PRIVEQ Capital Funds
- Real Ventures
- Relay Ventures
- ScaleUp Venture Partners Inc.
- Top Renergy Inc.
- Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
- Version One Ventures
- Westcap Management Ltd.
- Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.
Designated angel investor groups
- Canadian International Angel Investors
- Ekagrata Inc.
- Golden Triangle Angel Network
- Oak Mason Investments Inc.
- Southwestern Ontario Angel Network
- Southwestern Ontario Angel Group
- TenX Angel Investors Inc.
- York angel Investors Inc.
Designated business incubators
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
- Food Processing Development Centre
- Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
- Calgary Technologies Inc.
- Creative Destruction Lab
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- Highline BETA Inc.
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- Launch Academy
- LaunchPad PEI Inc.
- NEXT Canada
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
- Spring Activator
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
Interested readers are invited to complete our Free Assessment to determine whether they qualify for immigration to Canada under Canada’s Start-Up Visa program or under another business program.