On December 14, 2021, Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced the plans of the Ontario government. These plans were to accept 100 immigrant entrepreneurs in the next two years through the existing Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
Foreign entrepreneurs have to invest a minimum of $200,000 and start a new business or purchase an existing one in the province’s economy. McNaughton emphasized that the province wants those Entrepreneurs outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Moreover, Ontario has allocated $6 million to fund the initiative, hoping to get in return at least $20 million in business investment. At the same time, in 2019 no entrepreneurs were nominated by the OINP and in 2020, only 1 nominee.
Entrepreneurs face a complicated and long process under OINP. They first need to run a business for 12-20 months, to meet the program requirement, then apply for a nomination, and if nominated apply for PR with the federal government. Such a long process may scare Entrepreneurs who may turn to other options.
Ontario requested again that the federal government should double its current nomination allocation for 2022 to support economic growth and drive new jobs and investment to the province.
Claudia Hepburn, CEO, Windmill Microlending stated:
"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."