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What is Canada’s Immigrant Investor Program?

By February 7, 2018 May 25th, 2022 No Comments

Canada’s immigrant investor programs are exclusive immigration streams open to a limited number of individuals each year. The programs once provided a one-step path for entrepreneurs and investors to immigrate by making a minimum investment to get permanent residency in Canada. However, this program is now administered at the provincial level. In most provinces, there is now a two-step process for entrepreneurs who want to invest in Canada by creating a business. Let’s take a look at how the immigrant investor programs work.


Two-Step Provincial Entrepreneur Programs: British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia

 Provincial entrepreneur programs require candidates to make a minimum investment to get permanent residency in Canada. In addition to a monetary contribution, the immigrant must commit to spending up to two years on a conditional temporary work permit before the province will issue a nomination for permanent residence.

British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia all operate a two-step program. In the two-step process, candidates must sign an Investment Agreement compelling the candidate to follow through on a Canadian business investment. In Ontario and British Columbia, for instance, candidates have 20 months to implement a business plan outlined in a Performance Agreement. The province will nominate the candidate for permanent residence if the terms of the agreement are met.

These changes were implemented after controversies about investors who paid a deposit for permanent residency while pledging to open a business, but never followed through on their promise to create jobs in the Canadian economy. The provinces have moved to a more contract-oriented model, with candidates being held to their pledge to open a business in Canada as a condition of permanent residence.

Ontario’s Business Investor Stream

To be eligible for immigration to Ontario under this program, a person must have a business activity which will benefit Ontario. There are five factors that a person and their business partners must meet:

1)      A minimum of 36 months of full-time business experience during the last 60 months. This experience must be as owner or senior manager.

2)      Net worth of $1,500,000 if the business will be located within the Greater Toronto Area. Business located outside of this area must have ownership with a net worth of at least $800,000.

3)      For businesses within the Greater Toronto Area, minimum investment of $1,000,000. For businesses outside of this area, a personal investment of at least $500,000.

4)     The business must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

 5)      If a person plans to make their investment by purchasing an existing Canadian business, the investor must make at least one visit to Ontario during the 12 months before the application is submitted.

 All provinces which follow this format follow a similar process. Check with the local province to find the most recent minimum investor amount.


One-Step Provincial Entrepreneur Programs: Québec, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick

Québec has a one-step program permitting investors to become permanent residents for a minimum investment of $800,000 for a period of five years. A person who applies for the Québec stream must have a net worth of at least $1.6 million, an intention to settle in Québec, and prior senior management experience. The person does not need to sign an Investor Agreement.

Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick also operate one-step programs. For example, an investor can secure permanent residency in P.E.I. with a $200,000 deposit and a personal net worth of at least $600,000. New Brunswick allows immigration for investors who have a $300,000 net worth and a deposit of $75,000.

Alberta’s Self-Employed Farmer Stream

Alberta’s entrepreneur stream is only open to self-employed farmers who are able to invest a minimum of $500,000 of equity in a primary production farming business. Entrepreneurs in this category may be required to show that they can invest more than the minimum amount.

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