Proposed amendments to the Ontario Immigration Act include termination of the Corporate stream.
The Ontario Corporate Stream is unique in the Canadian immigration landscape. This Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) stream helps established international corporations expand into Ontario or buy an existing business in the province.
Through the Ontario Corporate Stream, key staff may eventually obtain Canadian permanent resident status having fulfilled the terms of a Performance Agreement and applied for provincial nomination under the OINP. Successful applicants to the Corporate Stream may first arrive in Canada on a temporary work permit.
Unlike the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream, the Corporate Stream does not operate on an Expression of Interest / Invitation to Apply basis. Eligible applicant corporations may apply directly to the OINP.
Ontario Corporate Stream eligibility criteria
There are requirements for the corporation, the investment, the proposed business, and key staff.
At the time of the application, international corporations must have been established for at least 36 months.
In addition, the applicant corporation must meet the following requirements:
- There must be a clear structural linkage between the Parent Corporation and proposed new business in Ontario (e.g. a subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the corporation).
- The business must intend to make a profit through the sale of goods and/or services.
- Primary income sources must be from active (earned) income, not passive (unearned) income.
- The proposed business must comply with Canadian legal requirements and all regulatory industry and licensing requirements which govern its legitimate operation.
- The proposed business must comply with all provincial labour laws.
- The proposed business must be considered a permanent business in Ontario.
- Applicant corporations must submit a business plan that explains the:
- purpose and objectives of the proposed business, including products, target markets, and operational strategies;
- operational and financial goals;
- challenges that lie between the execution of the business plan and the achievement of its purpose, objectives, and goals; and
- strategies for overcoming challenges.
If purchasing an existing business in Ontario, the following conditions also apply:
- Any existing business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous 60 months.
- The purchase must completely transfer ownership from the previous owner(s) to the corporation.
- The business must not have been previously owned or operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees.
- The proposed business plan must grow the business; buy-and-hold strategy business plans with no intent to grow the business are not permitted.
- Applicants must maintain at a minimum the current wage levels and employment terms of existing staff, preserve all existing permanent full-time jobs, and meet the job creation commitment.
If the proposed business is a land development or leasehold company, the following criteria also apply:
- Limit of three projects per year.
- The proposed activity must be a permanent, ongoing business that seeks to expand or improve the current status of the land site, as well as ensure that the investing company has an ongoing and active management role in the proposed business.
- Eligible leasehold companies must produce the proposed good or deliver a service of their own and not just set-up to manage the operations of other companies to make a profit.
- Eligible land development companies have to demonstrate that the proposed business is a long-term and non-speculative investment and that the associated land development will be an integral part of the core ongoing business enterprise.
- Corporations must provide local site certification documents and/or related local planning authority approval.
- In the two-year monitoring period, the corporation must demonstrate that all of the commitments outlined in the Performance Agreement are met to setup the proposed operations and support the ongoing business in order to be eligible for nomination.
The corporation must make a minimum investment of $5 million, obtained from legal sources, to expand into Ontario or purchase an existing business in the province.
The proposed investment activity must be of significant economic benefit to Ontario. This will be determined through an assessment of the corporation’s business plan. If the corporation is intending to purchase an existing business in Ontario, there are additional criteria (see below, ‘purchasing an existing business in Ontario’).
Local job creation requirements
The corporation must create five new full-time permanent jobs for Canadians or permanent residents per each key staff being nominated. Positions must be paid at or above the prevailing wage level for that position. The position must be continuously filled for at least 10 months prior to the submission of the Final Report (see below).
Seasonal or part-time employees, subcontractors, agency workers, and employees who do not work on the company’s premises are not eligible under the Corporate Stream.