WATERLOO— Ontario is recruiting 100 international entrepreneurs to start or grow businesses in regions outside of the Greater Toronto Area that have been hit hard by pandemic job losses through the Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). This initiative will create more local jobs in a variety of sectors including information technology, life sciences, and tourism while bringing new investments to cities and towns often overlooked by entrepreneurs.
Through this two-year project, international entrepreneurs will be able to purchase or start new companies, hire local workers and drive economic growth in their new communities.
"As we continue to build back better, we want people across Ontario – no matter where they live – to find rewarding, well-paying careers in their communities," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "Our government is working for workers and spreading the jobs and opportunities that entrepreneurs bring to every corner of our province, not just our big cities."
Each entrepreneur who is selected will be required to invest a minimum of $200,000 into their business – generating at least $20 million for Ontario’s economy. The project will prioritize applications from entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their business outside of the GTA, especially in communities hit hard by job losses resulting from COVID-19.
Although the Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program was initially established in 2015, only two nominations have been made to date. To improve this program, this project will better support entrepreneurs that apply and help connect them with business opportunities that best fit them.
In 2021, over 100,000 immigrants have been granted permanent residency status by the federal government. Only 8,600 were nominated through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. To better fill critical labour shortages and drive economic growth, Minister McNaughton has called on the federal government to double Ontario’s allocation in 2022.
- Through the entrepreneur project, applicants will be able to be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been operating in Ontario for 18-20 months.
- Ontario has again requested the federal government to double its current nomination allocation for 2022 to support economic growth and drive new jobs and investment to the province.
- This work builds on the government efforts to attract top talent and investment to the province by:
- improving the nomination process for applicants to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program with an expression of interest system
- helping businesses in small and rural communities attract and retain skilled workers
- making it easier for internationally-trained individuals to practice in regulated professions.
"Communities across Ontario are looking for investment, and immigrants are looking for opportunities. Through Build Ontario, our government is working to bridge the gap between the two. Our government is working for workers, and laying a foundation for prosperity in every corner of our province. "
- Peter Bethlenfalvy
Minister of Finance
"I immigrated to Canada 50 years ago, and I am a proud Canadian Citizen. Many years ago, with the help of the Ontario government I started one of my businesses that has grown into a successful enterprise. I want to congratulate the Minister on announcing this new project today that will help many more international entrepreneurs start businesses like mine, create new jobs in small communities and settle in Ontario. "
- Kacee Vasudeva
CEO, Maxtech Innovations
"Increasing immigration numbers is essential to Ontario’s recovery post-COVID-19. We support the government of Ontario’s innovative efforts to increase the number of skilled immigrants and improve the speed with which they can put their skills to work, whether by building businesses or filling skills shortages across the province."
- Claudia Hepburn
CEO, Windmill Microlending
"Immigrant entrepreneurs and internationally trained professionals bring a wealth of knowledge, global experience, new perspectives and impressive qualifications that contribute to Ontario’s economic growth. We fully support the Ontario government and Minister McNaughton’s ongoing commitment to remove barriers that international entrepreneurs face when starting their entrepreneurial journey in Ontario. "
- Tonie Chaltas