Ontario has released further information about a new Canada immigration initiative aimed at attracting 100 international entrepreneurs willing to invest $200,000 apiece to create or purchase firms outside of the Greater Toronto Area.
On Tuesday, the province said that it had chosen the Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) to create and implement the Entrepreneur Pilot in collaboration with the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). The TBDC was chosen through a public bidding procedure.
"The employment and investments generated by these enterprises will contribute to support “soon to be selected regions” in need of the most assistance in recovering from COVID-19," according to an OINP statement.
The two-year experimental program was first announced in December 2021. Further, the province intends to attract $20 million in investment under the OINP's current Entrepreneur Stream to aid districts heavily hit by the disease.
The Ontario government anticipates that this pilot program will generate jobs in fields such as information technology, biological sciences, and tourism. After their firm has been functioning in Ontario for 18 to 20 months, applicants will be considered for permanent residence.
According to a December press release from the Ontario provincial government, just two nominations have been made under the OINP Entrepreneur Stream since its start in 2015.
Also, according to the news release, authorities have said that "to strengthen this program, our initiative will better support entrepreneurs who apply and help link them with business opportunities that best complement them."
The new entrepreneur program is one of the several efforts launched by Ontario to recruit more immigrants.
Beginning in October, foreign-trained attorneys, accountants, architects, engineers, electricians, and plumbers would no longer be required to have Canadian work experience under a proposed new provincial legislation.
Unless an exemption is granted based on a proven public health and safety danger, the province advises that the Canadian work experience requirements for professional registration and licensing be repealed.
It was also proposed to reduce the duplication of official language proficiency testing so that individuals with foreign credentials in these occupations do not have to take multiple tests for immigration and professional licensure; and to accelerate the licensure process, which can now take 18 months or more, to help internationally-trained immigrants begin work in careers that match their skill set.
Ontario Entrepreneur Stream
The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream is designed for those from outside Canada who wish to establish a business or purchase an existing one in Ontario. The current funding criteria is shown below. However, it is unclear whether the new entrepreneur project would relax any of the restrictions to attract more applicants or not.
Financial Requirements for the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream:
Net Worth: If your prospective business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you must have a net worth of $800,000 or more. The required minimum net worth outside of the Greater Toronto Area is $400,000. In addition, the proposed business in either ICT or digital communications has a minimum net worth of $400,000 anywhere in the province.
Investment and Ownership: Invest at least $600,000 in an Ontario firm and own at least 33% of the company in the Greater Toronto Area. Outside of the GTA, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33%. Proposed enterprise in either ICT or digital communications, with an investment of at least $200,000 and ownership of at least 33% anywhere in the province.
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