Ontario wants to recruit 100 international entrepreneurs to start or buy businesses outside the Greater Toronto Area, with each investing $200,000.
Under the existing Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), the province aims to help regions hit hard by the pandemic by attracting $20 million in investment.
The Ontario government hopes the two-year project will create jobs in sectors including information technology, life sciences and tourism.
Applicants will be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been operating in Ontario for 18 to 20 months, the Ontario government says.
“As we continue to build back better, we want people across Ontario – no matter where they live – to find rewarding, well-paying careers in their communities,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“Our government is working for workers and spreading the jobs and opportunities that entrepreneurs bring to every corner of our province, not just our big cities.”
An Ontario provincial government press release pointed out that only two nominations have been made through the OINP Entrepreneur Stream, since it was launched in 2015.
“To improve this program, this project will better support entrepreneurs that apply and help connect them with business opportunities that best fit them,” the press release said.
McNaughton also reiterated recent calls for Ontario’s nomination allocation of 9,000 immigrants to be doubled in 2022, ‘to better fill critical labour shortages and drive economic growth’.
The new entrepreneur project is one of a number of initiatives Ontario is taking to attract more immigrants.
In October, it announced that foreign-trained lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, electricians and plumbers will no longer need Canadian work experience to practice their professions in Ontario under a proposed new provincial law.
The province is proposing that:
- Canadian work experience requirements for professional registration and licensing be eliminated unless an exemption is granted based on a demonstrated public health and safety risk.
- The duplication for official language-proficiency testing be reduced, so people with foreign credentials in these occupations will not have to complete multiple tests for the purposes of immigration and professional licencing, and;
- Speed up the licensing process which can now take 18 months or more to help internationally-trained immigrants start working in careers that match their skillset.
Ontario Entrepreneur Stream
The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream is aimed at individuals from outside Canada who want to start a business or buy an already existing business in Ontario.
The existing financial requirements are laid out below. It is not yet known if the new entrepreneur project will reduce some of the requirements in order to attract more candidates.
Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Financial Requirements
1) Net Worth
- Minimum net worth of $800,000 if your proposed business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Outside the GTA, minimum net worth is $400,000.
- Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, minimum net worth is $400,000 anywhere in province.
2) Investment and Ownership
- Invest at least $600,000 in an Ontario business and own at least 33 per cent if business is in GTA.
- Outside GTA, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33 per cent.
- Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33 per cent anywhere in province.
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