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Immigrating to Ontario? We Can Help!

If you have been reading our blogs, you may know that there are some truly great business opportunities in Canada for foreign nationals. Ontario, the most populous of all Canadian provinces and the location of the nation’s capital,[1] in particular, offers unique chances for immigrant entrepreneurs. However, to take advantage of these opportunities, you must understand Ontario’s specific immigration requirements. Visa Business Plans breaks them down below!

Ontario’s entrepreneur initiative is a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) known as the Entrepreneur Stream. As a PNP, the Entrepreneur Stream helps entrepreneurs from outside Canada to launch a start-up or purchase an existing business in Ontario. The Entrepreneur Stream consists of two stages.[2]

During stage one, a foreign national and up to one business partner may register an expression of interest in the program by email and, if invited, submit an online application. After an interview, qualifying candidates sign a performance agreement.[3]

During stage two, the provincial government of Ontario issues a support letter so that the foreign nationals can receive temporary work permits. The entrepreneurs then have 20 months to establish their business and submit a final report to the program. If all requirements are met, they will be nominated for permanent residence.[4]

In addition to the basics, there are some general requirements for applying to the Entrepreneur Stream.

Qualifying entrepreneurs must have at least two years of full-time business experience in the last five years, speak English or French, be actively involved in managing their business, live in Ontario for 75% of the time it takes to establish their business, and control at least one-third of the equity. In addition, the primary purpose of businesses eligible for the Entrepreneur Stream must be to make a profit.[5]

Requirements vary depending on whether your business will be inside or outside the Greater Toronto Area and whether it will be in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector. Depending on the region and type of business, individuals must have a net worth between CAD$400,000 and CAD$800,000 and make a minimum personal investment between CAD$200,000 and CAD$600,000. Businesses in the Greater Toronto Area must also create at least two permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.[6]

If immigrating to Canada, you must also take into consideration that some business models are ineligible for the Entrepreneur Stream. Examples include automated car washes, holding companies, laundromats, pawnbrokers, pay day loan and related businesses, scrap metal recycling, tire recycling, businesses involved in producing, distributing, or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services. Other business models that the Canadian government does not accept include businesses 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. Existing franchises, gas stations, and bed and breakfasts are also ineligible for businesses in the Greater Toronto area.[7]

If you are purchasing an existing Ontario business, other requirements also apply.[8]

If you think the Entrepreneur Stream may be for you, chances are you’ll need a business plan, and Visa Business Plans can help. Contact us today to learn more about how our trusted and comprehensive immigration business plans can help you succeed in meeting your immigration objectives!

Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration and SBA loans.


[1] The Beaverton “We Ranked the Provinces.” | May 3, 2018 | Luke Gordon Field

[2] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021

[3] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021

[4] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021

[5] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021

[6] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021

[7] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021

[8] Ontario “OINP Entrepreneur Stream.” | 2021