Ontario is one of the most developed Canadian provinces. It contains Toronto, the country’s largest city, and its capital, Ottawa. There are good prospects for business here, and the opportunity to obtain a permanent status is another argument in favor of doing business in the country. However, in order to obtain permanent residence, you will need to fulfill a number of conditions, including the chosen field of activity and business value, as well as pass the selection and be among the best. Business indicators will need to be maintained for several years – before obtaining a permanent resident card.
Key points about the Permanent residence in Canada program
The Province of Ontario supports the issuance of permanent residence to entrepreneurs doing business in the region and their families. Selection takes place under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which is governed by the Ontario Immigration Act 2015. A successful candidate who fulfills all the conditions receives a certificate of nomination – official approval from the province. It provides grounds for applying for permanent residence to the Federal Office for Migration (IRCC), which regulates entry into the country. However, the applicant will not receive the coveted status immediately: only before the nomination will have to wait about two years.
OINP is based on the Expression of Interest (EOI) model, which is one of the operating principles of Canadian immigration programs. To begin with, the applicant will need to fill out a special form: describe in detail their work experience, education and proposed business. If the EOI passes the minimum requirements check, the potential of the candidate and his business will be assessed in points – similar to the Express Entry system. The highest scoring applicants will receive an invitation to submit a formal application in which everything they describe in the EOI will need to be documented. On average, about a hundred entrepreneurs receive such invitations a year. Once the application is approved, they will be able to come to the country and start or buy a business. Next, you will need to fulfill the indicators stated in the business plan.
The province encourages entrepreneurs who make a significant contribution to the economy and develop those industries and areas where there is a lack of business activity. Therefore, the program sets different conditions for different regions: the investment and equity of the applicant for a business in Greater Toronto must be larger than outside it. In terms of areas of activity, the conditions differ even more: high technologies are a priority, while a number of other industries, on the contrary, do not give the right to obtain permanent residence. In the case of buying a ready-made business, additional restrictions are imposed on it.
Requirements for business and candidates
The main condition is a viable business that will benefit the province as a whole or individual regions. Its main goal should be to make a profit, the company must comply with the laws of all levels, including labor laws. The business must be permanent and based in Ontario.
In addition, the main applicant and one foreign business partner who may also apply for permanent residence are subject to the following mandatory requirements.
work experience. Be the owner (at least one-third) or manager of the business for at least 24 months out of the last 60.
minimum equity. At least 800 thousand CAD if the declared business is located within the boundaries of the Greater Toronto Area, and at least 400 thousand CAD outside of it. For ICT companies – from 400 thousand CAD, regardless of location.
personal investment. At least one-third of the declared business must be controlled. At the same time, personal investments in the business must be at least 600 thousand CAD within the Greater Toronto Area and at least 200 thousand CAD outside the Greater Toronto Area or in ICT.
active participation. The investor must actively participate in the management of the business on an ongoing basis.
Purpose of investment. The main purpose of investing capital should be to make a profit. It must not generate interest, dividends, or capital gains.
Creation of jobs. The business must create and maintain at least two permanent jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if the company is located in the Greater Toronto Area, and one job outside of it or for the ICT business. The salary of employees should be at the level of the average for the corresponding position.
When buying an existing business:
the investor must have traveled to Ontario for business at least once within 12 months of the registration of the “expression of interest”;
the business to be acquired must have had one owner within the previous 60 months;
ownership of the business must be fully transferred to the applicant or his business partner;
at least 10% of the applicant’s personal investment must be used to improve or expand the business in Ontario;
it is necessary to keep all permanent jobs and create at least one or two new ones (depending on the region).
Types of business that do not give the right to permanent residence:
automated car washes;
payday loans and similar organizations;
scrap metal processing;
pornography and the sex industry;
companies that were formerly owned or operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees.
The following types of business are additionally excluded in the Greater Toronto Area:
existing franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises allowed);
accommodation of guests by type of bed and breakfast
Documents are submitted online – in the form of scans and copies. This is done at the application stage, after receiving a positive response to the “expression of interest” (EOI). You will need to submit a large package of documents confirming the value of the applicant and his business to Ontario, which served as the basis for approval of your candidacy.
A resume is a summary document that provides information about your education, business, and work experience.
In addition to it, documents for the last five years will be required.
For top managers of companies:
Letters of recommendation from all employers.
Description of the companies you have worked for.
Copies of all employment contracts.
The last two documents on payments from the current place of work.
For business owners:
Three letters of recommendation from current or past business contacts (vendors, suppliers or customers) – with contacts, terms and details of interaction.
Registration documents for each company owned.
Certificates of registration of companies in the tax authorities.
Proof of ownership of shares in each company.
A list of employees, including their salaries, hours worked, and proof of payment.
Declarations or receipts for the payment of income tax from companies.
business financial reporting.
Constituent documents of your business.
Specific work experience
These documents will be needed if you declared points for rapid business growth or experience in export companies in the EOI.
For company executives: a letter of recommendation from the employer and supporting documentation.
For business owners: financial statements showing revenue growth of 20% or more for two consecutive years, or documentation showing that at least 20% of the company’s goods or services went to foreign markets, or documents showing that you have the required experience and skills for the proposed business.
A third-party report on the verification of your personal capital and the legitimacy of the accumulations of funds.
Proof of business visits to Ontario – if you are buying an existing business.
A business plan that matches the parameters you specified in the EOI.
Proof of business ownership – in the case of purchasing an existing business.
Documentation of payments made to all employees for the last tax year (if applicable).
Validation of human capital
Required if you have claimed scores for these categories in the EOI.
Education: Canadian diploma, certificate, or proof of a scientific degree. For foreign diplomas, a conclusion on their compliance with the Canadian educational system (educational certification) will be required.
Language Skills: Test scores in English and/or French.
Photo that meets passport or visa requirements.
Passport: copies of all pages. If you have had your current passport for less than two years, please attach copies of all pages of your previous passport.
Passports of family members.
If the documents are not in English or French, a copy of the original document and a certified translation will be required.