Ontario has suspended applications to the Entrepreneur Stream and stopped accepting new expressions of interest, effective December 4, 2023.
This announcement came on Monday, and was accompanied by news of the Entrepreneur Success Initiative also ending.
The website read that “The ministry is committed to supporting immigration efforts through the OINP.”
“We will continue to take an active role in helping employers find talent solutions through immigration and look forward to ongoing program growth to meet labour market needs in sectors across the province.”
The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream was under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), established under the Ontario Immigrant Act, 2015 and its regulations.
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It allowed entrepreneurs from outside Canada to start a new business or buy an existing one in Ontario.
It further provided an entrepreneur and up to one foreign national business partner the opportunity to be nominated for Canada PR once their business had been established in the province.
This decision comes in the middle of a downturn in Canada’s entrepreneurial spirit, with 100,000 fewer entrepreneurs today than in 2000., as per the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) analysis of Statistics Canada numbers.
“Twenty years ago, there was three Canadians in 1,000 every year becoming an entrepreneur,” Pierre Cléroux, chief economist at BDC, told CBC News in October.
“Now we’re down to about one for every 1,000 people.”
This is a troubling statistic, and the decline “simply can’t be ignored,” according to Cléroux, because new businesses are responsible for “almost all net new job creation in this country.”
“In any healthy economy, you need a good percentage of startups” to bring new products and services to market and “force mature businesses to do better.”
Canada has bolstered its business immigration programs through various streams. For example, the federal government’s Start-Up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs to start and grow their companies in Canada.
Various provincial entrepreneur programs also exist. For example, the Quebec Entrepreneur stream provides Canada PR to those can create businesses in Quebec, especially in the agricultural, industrial, or commercial fields.