OINP Entrepreneur Stream

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is for entrepreneurs from outside Canada looking to start a new business or buy an existing business in Ontario.

Entrepreneur Stream at a glance for OINP

The Entrepreneur Stream is an immigration stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) and its regulations. For an application to be approved the applicant must follow the process and meet the criteria established under the regulations.

This stream is for entrepreneurs from outside Canada interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario.

It gives an entrepreneur (and up to one foreign national business partner) the opportunity to be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been established in Ontario.

Once nominated, by the province of Ontario the next step is to apply to the federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). They make the final decision on who becomes a permanent resident.

The Entrepreneur Stream application is a two-stage process. An overview of the process follows.

Stage 1 of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

  • Register an expression of interest by email.
  • If invited, submit an online application.
  • Entrepreneur and business partner (if applicable) attend a mandatory interview.
  • If stage 1 application is successful, the entrepreneur must sign a performance agreement.

Stage 2 of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

  • A temporary work permit support letter is issued by the province so that the entrepreneur and business partner (if applicable) can apply to the IRCC for a temporary work permit.

  • The entrepreneur must establish a business – entrepreneurs have 20 months from the date they arrive in Ontario to implement their business plan and submit a final report.

  • If the business meets all requirements, (documentation has to be submitted) to make sure eligibility for permanent residency.

Before you register an expression of interest

  • Make sure you meet the mandatory requirements.
  • Check the list of ineligible types of businesses.
  • Have a strong business plan which includes performance guarantees (see below for minimum requirements)
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

Mandatory minimum requirements at Stage 1

To qualify for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program as a permanent resident under the Entrepreneur Stream, entrepreneurs must demonstrate that they will have a viable business that is likely to provide material economic benefit to the economy of Ontario as a whole or to the local Ontario economy where the business will be located.  The entrepreneur and one foreign national business partner (if applicable) must both meet the eligibility requirements.

Supporting documentation to demonstrate that eligibility requirements are met must be provided. This includes providing proof of the qualifications claimed when the expression of interest was registered.

An application must be submitted within 90 days of receiving an invitation.

Please note that below is a summary of the minimum mandatory requirements invitations to apply are rarely issued when minimum requirements in ALL categories are not exceeded.

Business experience

  • Minimum of 24 months of full-time experience as an owner (in the last 60 months).

  • Must have an active role in the business.

  • Must own at least 1/3 of the business.

  • or
  • As a senior manager must have had senior decision-making responsibilities in the business and managed the day-to-day operations of the business (minimum of 24 months in the last 60 months).

Net worth

  • Must have a minimum personal net worth of $800,000 if business is within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto and Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions).

  • Outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you must have a minimum personal net worth of $400,000 Canadian.

Minimum Investment in a business

  • To qualify for Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program the applicant must make a minimum investment in the business from personal funds of $600,000 Canadian if business is to be located within the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Outside of the Greater Toronto Area must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 Canadian.

  • If business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector then regardless of location, you must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 Canadian.

  • Regardless of type of business must control at least 1/3 of the equity in the business.

  • Passive investments, including mutual and/or pooled fund securities, while permissible for the purpose of satisfying the minimum personal net worth criterion, are ineligible for inclusion in the minimum business investment amount.

Active involvement

  • Must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the day to day operations and management of the business.

Capital investment purpose

  • The primary purpose of investing capital in a business must be to make a profit.

  • Purpose of investment can not be to derive interest, dividends or capital gains.

Minimum Job creation

  • If the business is inside the Greater Toronto Area, you must create at least 2 permanent full-time jobs for Canadians (citizens or permanent residents).

  • If the business is to be located outside the Greater Toronto Area, you must create at least 1 permanent full-time job for a Canadian.

  • These jobs must:

    • Be paid at the median wage level for the position.
    • Be filled continuously for at least 10 months prior to submitting the final report.
    • Continue to exist at the time of final report and nomination.

Additional minimum requirements if purchasing an existing business

  • If the entrepreneur plans to purchase an existing business:

    • Must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario within 12 months from the date of registering an expression of interest.
    • The business being purchased must have been in continuous operation by the same owner(s) for the previous 60 months (proof of ownership and either a letter of intent to purchase the business or sale agreement is required).
    • 100% ownership of the business must be completely transferred to the applicant or any business partner.
    • The previous owner(s) cannot retain any shares of the business.
    • Must use at least 10% of personal investment towards improving or expanding the business in Ontario.
    • Must keep all permanent, full-time jobs in the business prior to the transfer of ownership.
    • The business can not have been previously owned/operated by a current or former Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program business stream candidate, including anyone who has received a certificate of nomination under the Entrepreneur Stream or the Opportunities Ontario Investor Component.

General business requirements for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

In addition to meeting the minimum requirements for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, listed above, you must also meet the general business requirements listed below.

Business purpose

  • The purpose of the business must be to make a profit from active income through the sale of goods and/or services.

Permanent business

  • The business must operate on a permanent basis in Ontario. Project-based and seasonal businesses are ineligible.

Ineligible types of business

  • Automated car wash business.

  • Holding companies.

  • Laundromats.

  • Pawnbrokers.

  • Pay day loan and related businesses.

  • Scrap metal recycling.

  • Tire recycling.

  • A business involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services.

  • Businesses which have been previously owned or operated by a current or former OINP Entrepreneur Stream nominee or a nominee under the former investor component of the Opportunities Ontario program.

If the business will be in the Greater Toronto Area, the following types are also ineligible:

  • Existing franchises in Ontario.

  • Gas stations.

  • Bed and breakfasts.

Mandatory minimum requirements at Stage 2

In order to qualify for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program an entrepreneur must meet the requirements below:


  • Must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.


  • Must be physically living in Ontario for 75% of the time during the time the business is being established (the 20 month period for which the temporary work permit has been granted).

  • Must receive a temporary work permit and arrive in Ontario within 12 months of receiving approval at Stage 1 and inform the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program of your arrival within seven days.

Active management

  • You must be actively involved in the day-to-day management activities of the business.

Meet the commitments in your performance agreement

  • For the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, you must meet all the commitments agreed to in the performance agreement – which is based on information provided in the EOI and business plan.