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Ontario Business Category Provincial Nominee Program PNP

Ontario Immigration Nominee Program Investor Immigrants

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) re-opened its investor immigrant program on December 18, 2015. The renamed program now has two new streams rather than the previous Investor stream.

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Entrepreneur Stream

Like Express Entry, the Entrepreneur Stream is points based. Here are the latest draws:

Date Minimum Score Number of Invitations
August 29, 2016 132 points 10
December 22, 2016 123 points 20


This is for foreign entrepreneurs who are looking to establish or buy a business in the province of Ontario. To be eligible you must:

  • Have a minimum of 36 months (3 years) full-time business experience in the last 60 months (5 years), with the last 12 months (1 year) in the area of general business experience, or a particular expertise related to the business opportunity you plan to pursue in Ontario.
  • Your listed business experience must be as a business owner, OR as a senior manager. If you have experience both as an owner and as a senior manager, choose only ONE of the two to list on your Expression of Interest, EOI.
  • Have a minimum net worth of CAD$1,500,000 if your business is to be located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
  • Have a minimum net worth of CAD$800,000 if your business is to be located outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
  • Have a minimum net worth of CAD$800,000 if your business is to be in the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector or the Digital Communications Sector, regardless of where in Ontario it is to be located.
  • You must make a personal investment in your proposed business of CAD$1,000,000 if your business is to be located within the GTA.
  • You must make a personal investment in your proposed business of CAD$500,000 if your business is to be located outside the GTA.
  • You must make a personal investment in your proposed business of CAD$ 500,000 if your business is in the ICT/Digital Communications Sector, regardless of where in Ontario it is to be located.
  • In all cases, you must have a minimum equity ownership of 33.3% in your proposed business.
  • You must commit to create at least 2 permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If you are purchasing an existing business, you must create 2 additional permanent, full-time jobs, for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • If you will be purchasing an existing business, you must make at least one exploratory visit to Ontario for business purposes, within the 12 months prior to your submitting your application.
  • If you are applying with a business partner who is also seeking nomination, they must meet all the above minimum requirements. That means your shared proposed business would require double the amounts invested listed above, and would have to create a minimum of 4 full-time permanent jobs.

As well as the above minimum requirements the business in which you plan to establish or purchase and then invest in must satisfy the following general requirements:

  • It must be a profit-driven enterprise, by delivering goods or services.
  • It must derive its revenue from active or earned income – not passive income.
  • It must comply with Ontario’s and Canada’s laws and regulations in health and safety as well as with labour regulations.
  • It must only have third-party investors (if any) who are Schedule I or Schedule II financial institutions. These are domestic or foreign chartered banks, authorized to operate in Canada under the Bank Act.
  • It must be considered a permanent business in Ontario: one with a fixed address in Ontario; no end-date; and liable for tax on profit earned.

If you plan to purchase an existing business, the following additional requirements must be met:

  • It must have been in continuous operation for at least the past 60 months with the same owner(s).
  • Ownership must be completely transferred to you, and any business partner or third-party investors (if applicable).
  • The original owners from which you are to purchase their business can NOT have been or be OINP business immigrant investors.
  • You must preserve all existing full-time permanent jobs AND create at least 2 additional full-time permanent jobs. Current wage levels and employment terms of existing employees must be at least maintained if not improved.
  • You must have a Business Plan that shows you intend to grow the business.

Should you reach the nomination stage and be nominated by the OINP, you must at that point, meet the following additional requirements:

  • You must demonstrate official language proficiency at a level of Canadian Languages Benchmark (CLB) level of 5 or equivalent:
    • Listening – IELTS 5 , or TEF 181-216
    • IELTS 4, or TEF 151-180
    • IELTS 5, or TEF 226-270
    • IELTS 5, or TEF 226-270
    • You must physically reside in Ontario for 9 months out of each year (75% of the time) while establishing your business.


Ineligible Businesses GTA:

  • Existing franchises in Ontario (if you will be bringing in a NEW franchise to the province of Ontario that is permitted, however)
  • Gas Stations
  • Tire Recycling
  • Scrap Metal Recycling
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • Holding Companies
  • Laundromats
  • Automated Car Wash Operations
  • Pay day loan and related businesses
  • Businesses previously owned by current/former OINP business stream nominees.


Corporate Stream

If you are interested in learning about the Corporate Stream, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.

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Application Process (Entrepreneur Stream Only)

The following flow chart illustrates the multi-step process for applying for a nomination as an immigrant investor under the Entrepreneur stream:

How to Apply for Ontario's Entrepreneur Immigrant Stream


Step 1: Pre Expression of Interest

Prior to submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) you should first ensure that your proposed business is not on the ineligible lists above and that it will conform to all the applicable regulations and laws of Ontario and Canada.

For this reason, and especially when you are considering purchasing an existing business, you should consider an exploratory visit to the province of Ontario. Your visit must be within the 12 months previous to your submitting an application. 


Step 2: Submit Expression of Interest

An Expression of Interest, or EOI, is your first step in the actual process of applying. An EOI, however, is not your application. It is an expression of interest on your part in the OINP Entrepreneur stream. Think of it as similar to completing an Express Entry profile and being placed in a pool of candidates.

The EOI is a self-declared points-based system where your score will determine the likelihood of your being invited to apply. You will have to support any claims/information you provide when completing your EOI with underlying documentation.

As well, the information you provide in your EOI will be the basis of your contractual obligations when you sign a Performance Agreement in Step 5. If, for example, you state in your EOI that you will invest CAD$2,000,000 in your proposed business, then you must – by contractual obligation via your Performance Agreement – be able to invest that amount when you arrive in Canada and establish or purchase your proposed business. If you are unable to, or if any other information in your EOI is inaccurate or misleading, your application may be cancelled.

Here’s how the EOI points scoring system works:

There are 3 sections with a total possible score of 160 points:

Scoring Sections Points
Experience Factors 50
Investment Factors 90
Human Capital Factors 20
Total Possible Score 160


Experience Factors: 50 Points

You must either provide your experience as an owner or as a senior manager, but NOT both.


Experience as a Business Owner

Experience Points
Less than 36 months Not Eligible
36-47 months 13
48-59 months 19
60 months or more 25

Supporting Documentation: Financial Statements, Reference Letters from investors, financial institutions, suppliers, vendors, customers.



Experience as a Senior Manager

Experience Experience Duration Points
Senior decision-making responsibilities in departments like Finance, Sales, Operations, Marketing Less than 36 months Not Eligible
36 -47 months 8
48 - 59 months 14
60 months 20

Supporting Documentation: Organizational charts detailing your position & reporting structure, Official employer reference letters detailing your position, reporting structure, role, length of employment.

Maximum Total Points for Owner or Senior Business Manager: 25


Points for Specific Experience

Past Specific Experience Points
None 0
High Growth Business Experience: 20% or more revenue growth in 2 consecutive years
Export Trade Business Experience: exporting 20% or more of total goods/services to foreign market
High Growth Business Experience: 20% or more revenue growth in 2 consecutive years
Export Trade Business Experience: exporting 20% or more of total goods/services to foreign market
Total Points 25

Supporting Documentation: financial statements, letters of credit, export permits, reference letters from employer in case of senior managers etc.

Please note that Specific Experience is not a mandatory requirement, but you must provide supporting documentation in order to support the points claimed in your EOI.

Total Points for Experience: 50


Investment Factors - 90 Points

These total 90 points and are categorized as follows:


Net Worth - 15 Points

Your personal net worth is defined as all your assets including those of your spouse or common-law partner, less any liabilities including mortgages and personal debts. If you receive an Invitation to Apply, you will have to contract a Designated Service Provider from a list given to you by the OINP, in order to review your personal net worth. You will have to provide any requested supporting documentation to back up your claims.

Location/Sector Net Worth Points
Personal Net Worth if your proposed business is to be within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Less than CAD$1,500,000 Not Eligible
CAD$1,500,000 – 1,999,999 2
CAD$2,000,000 – 2,499,999 5
CAD$2,500,000 – 2,999,999 8
CAD$3,000,000 – 3,499,999 11
CAD$3,500,000 and greater 15
Personal Net Worth if your proposed business is to be located outside the GTA in the rest of Ontario
If your proposed business is in the ICT/Digital Communications Sector regardless of its location
Less than CAD$800,000 Not Eligible
CAD$800,000 – 1,299,999 2
CAD$1,300,000 – 1,799,999 5
CAD$1,800,000 – 2,299,999 8
CAD$2,300,000 – 2,799,999 11
CAD$2,800,000  and greater 15
Total Points 15


Investment Amount - 25 Points

Remember the investment amount you provide in your EOI will be a contractual legally binding obligation, used in your Performance Agreement (see below).

Location/Sector Investment Amount Points
Investment Amount if your proposed business is to be located within the GTA Less than CAD$1,000,000 Not Eligible
CAD$1,000,000 – 1,499,999 2
CAD$1,500,000 – 1,999,999 6
CAD$2,000,000 – 2,499,999 10
CAD$2,500,000 – 2,999,999 14
CAD$3,000,000 and greater 20
Investment Amount if your proposed business is to be located outside the GTA
If your proposed business is in the ICT/Digital Communications sector
Less than CAD$500,000 Not Eligible
  CAD$500,000 – 999,999 3
  CAD$1,000,000 – 1,499,999 8
  CAD$1,500,000 – 1,999,999 13
  CAD$2,000,000 – 2,499,999 18
  CAD$2,500,000 and greater 25
Total Points 25

You will have to provide evidence that your investment was allocated in full: bank and financial statements, invoices, etc.

Eligible investments include: 

  • Purchase of existing business assets – including inventory – and purchase of business equity.
  • New equipment purchases.
  • Start-up inventory.
  • New inventory related to business expansion or improvement plan.
  • Leasehold improvements.
  • New marketing costs.
  • When purchasing a new business; you must allocate some funds towards the improvement and/or expansion of the business.
  • This expansion/improvement does not include regular operating expenses like:
    • Recurring inventory
    • Wages
    • Rent & Utilities
    • Legal & professional fees
    • Business licenses

The following are NOT eligible investments:

  • Cash
  • Working Capital
  • Wages paid to yourself or family members

Please note that signing a letter of intent or an agreement to purchase a business BEFORE you receive an Invitation to Apply and BEFORE your application is approved, is solely at your own risk. If you do so, OINP will accept investments that are made within 1 year of your application date.

Finally, all the requirements must be fulfilled completely by BOTH you and your business partner, should you have a business partner.


Job Creation - 35 Points

Jobs Created Points
Less than 2 jobs Not Eligible
2 jobs 5
3-4 jobs 12
5-6 jobs 19
7 or more jobs 20
Total Points 20

A full-time job consists of a minimum of 1,560 hours per 12 month period, which works out to 130 hours per month, or 32.5 hours per week. To be valid jobs, they must not include the following types of employees:

  • Seasonal, or part-time employees, regardless if they work 1,560 hours a year;
  • Subcontractors or agency workers;
  • Employees who do not work on the company premises.

If you will be purchasing an existing business, you must create 2 additional full-time positions.


Skilled Job Creation

You may claim points for any National Occupation Classification (NOC) 0, A, or B (i.e. skilled) jobs your proposed business creates:

NOC 0, A or B Jobs Points
None - only NOC C or NOC D jobs created 0
NOC B job(s) created 10
NOC 0 or NOC A job(s) created 15
Total Points 15

Total Points for Job Creation: 35


Exploratory Visits - 5 Points

Exploratory Visits to Ontario Points
None 0
1 exploratory visit in the last year 2
2 or more exploratory visits in the last year 5
Total Points 5


Key Sector - 10 Points

If your business targets a key sector you can claim 10 points. This is not a mandatory requirement.


Key Sectors:
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage Manufacturing
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Mining
  • Tourism Investment
  • Water Technology

Total Points for Investment: 90


Human Capital Factors - 20 Points


Education - 5 Points

Level of Education Points
No post-secondary education 0
6 months – 2 years post-secondary education 2
More than 2 years post-secondary education 5
Total Points 5

You will be required to provide evidence of your education in the form of an Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA.


Official Language Ability - 15 Points

If you receive an Invitation to Apply, you will be required to provide proof of your Official Language Ability through either IELTS or TEF (French).

Official Language Ability Points
CLB 3 or below (minimal) 3
CLB 4 (basic understanding) 10
CLB 5 or higher (intermediate or advanced) 15
Total Points 15

You will be required to have achieved a CLB (Canadian Languages Benchmark) level 5 by the time you are nominated, that is, after you meet your Performance Agreement goals.

Total Points for Human Capital Factors: 20


Total Possible Points for Expression of Interest: 160


Submitting the Expression of Interest

To submit an Expression of Interest, go here where you can self-assess your EOI score. If you feel your score is high enough, then you should:

Download from here the Entrepreneur Stream – Expression of Interest form and complete it. Print out a copy of the completed form AND include a printed copy of the EOI self-assessment report. It is available as a PDF download once you have finished the self-assessment survey here. Mail the printed copies to:

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration, & International Trade
400 University Avenue, Ground Floor
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M7A 2R9

Remember to include both you and your business partner’s – if you have one – printed copy of the self-assessment report and a printed copy of the completed EOI form.

As well, you do NOT need to provide any supporting documentation when you complete and submit your Expression of Interest or EOI. You will need to provide supporting documentation later, if and when you are invited to apply and receive an Invitation to Apply.

OINP will send you an email confirming receipt of your EOI, and from the date of the confirmation email, your EOI will be entered into a selection pool for a period of 12 months.

If you receive a Not Eligible classification on any of the minimum requirements (see above) you will not be placed in a selection pool.

If you wish to withdraw your EOI, you must notify the OINP by email. Include your name, the name of your business partner (if applicable) and the date your EOI was submitted.

Draws from the pools will be held approximately every 120 days (4 months). Visit the OINP website for more information on draw dates.

If you are selected to apply you will receive an email from OINP informing you of your Invitation to Apply, along with a list of the documents you (and your business partner if applicable) must submit with your application. 


Step 3: How to Apply

If you wish to hire a paid representative to represent you, go here to download an Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative form. Paid authorized representatives must be:

  • Immigration consultants in good standing with the ICCRC, Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council; OR
  • Lawyers who are members in good standing of a provincial or territorial law society, or students-at-law under their supervision; OR
  • Notaries in good standing with the Chambre des Notaires du Quebec. 

If invited to apply, you will receive a package from OINP containing all the necessary forms along with instructions how to complete them. You will have 90 days from the date you receive your email notification of your Invitation to Apply. Your application must include:

  • Original EOI Report
  • Entrepreneur Application form
  • Business Partner Application form (if applicable)
  • Your Business Plan (see below)
  • Any supporting documentation requested by OINP
  • Personal Net Worth review by Designated Service Provider
  • Processing Fee (see below)

If invited to apply, you will need to hire a Designated Service Provider – usually a private sector accounting firm – form a list provide to you by the OINP to review your personal net worth. They will review any requested documents and may do an independent investigation to determine that your net worth is valid and has been obtained legally. Your DSP will send you a copy of the verification report which you must send along with your application.

The DSP is required to complete the review within 60 days. You are responsible for any and all charges associated with producing the verification report. A standard range for the report is between CAD$3,000 and $5,000

Any documents not in English or French must be accompanied by a certified translation

  • If you are applying from within Ontario, the translator should be certified by the ATIO.
  • If applying from outside Canada, you may use any third-party translator, but your documents to be translated must be notarized in such a case.


Processing Fee

A non-refundable processing fee of CAD$3,500 must be included with your application. If you have a business partner, you should enclose 2 payments of CAD$3,500 each. The payment can be by:

  • Money Order
  • Cashier/Certified Cheque
  • Postal Money Order
  • Bank Draft
  • Cash, Personal Cheques, and Credit Card payments will NOT be accepted

You should submit the completed application by mail, courier, or personal delivery to the following address:

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration, & International Trade
400 University Avenue, Ground Floor
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M7A 2R9


Step 4: After you apply


Application Assessment

If your application is complete you will receive a confirming email from the OINP. The assessment will then proceed with the verification of all the information you have provided in your application. You may enquire about your case-specific status at the following email:

[email protected]


Mandatory Interview

You may be asked to attend an in-person interview at the OINP offices to further understand your business plan. As with any other associated expense, you are responsible for paying all travel and other costs associated with a visit to Ontario to participate in the interview. If you are unable to attend the interview, your application may be denied.

If you wish to withdraw your application, you must contact the OINP. Your application processing fee will NOT be refunded. 


Step 5: Performance Agreement

If your application is accepted, you must sign a Performance Agreement, which outline the commitments required in order to be nominated for permanent resident status.

Each Performance Agreement is unique, and depends on the information you submit in your EOI, your application, and your interview. Some typical features may include:

  • A description of your business;
  • Investment amounts and timelines;
  • Number and type of jobs you will create for Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
  • Mandatory business milestones and achievements;
  • Timeframes for any commitments.

If you fail to meet your commitments you will not be eligible for a nomination for permanent residence.


Step 6: Applying for a Temporary Work Permit

Once you have signed your Performance Agreement, the OINP will issue you a Letter of Confirmation so that you can apply to IRCC (former CIC) for a temporary work permit. You must apply yourself, with the Letter of Confirmation to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, & Citizenship Canada) for your Temporary Work Permit as soon as possible. Without the Temporary Work Permit you will not be able to enter Canada and establish your business.

Please note that the OINP can withdraw their support for your temporary work permit should you at some point no longer meet the eligibility criteria.


Step 7: Arrive & Establish Business

You must arrive in Canada within 12 months of the date of your Letter of Confirmation with your valid Temporary Work Permit. And you must inform the OINP of your arrival in Canada within 7 days of the date of your arrival.

Once in Canada, you have 20 months to build your business and meet all the commitments of your Performance Agreement

You must, however, have created the required number of full-time jobs within 10 months of having arrived in Canada.

OINP officials will monitor your business and may visit the premises from time to time.

You must submit a Final Report to the OINP between 18 and 20 months from your arrival in Canada, along with any required supporting documentation. The OINP will provide you with a template for your final report. You must show you have met your Performance Agreement Commitments in your Final Report. 


Step 8: Nomination

If you meet your Performance Agreement commitments, as well as your General requirements of:

  • Active Management
  • Residency (9 months per year)
  • CLB level 5 language skills; 

then you will receive the following:

  • Confirmation of Nomination;
  • Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Confirmation of Nomination document.

You must then apply to the IRCC for permanent residence status, within 6 months of being nominated. Include a copy of the above 2 documents along with whatever other documentation the IRCC requests. The final decision on your application for permanent residence will be made by the IRCC, not the OINP.


Step 9: After Nomination

Post-nomination monitoring of your business by OINP officials will continue for 36 months after you attain permanent residence status.

For more information please contact the OINP at:

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration, & International Trade
400 University Avenue, Ground Floor
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M7A 2R9

416-327-0374 or toll-free from within North America at 1-866-214-6820

[email protected]

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