Investing in Canada: A quick guide to your options

The Canadian Business Immigration Program aims to create new opportunities in local markets, by welcoming those who have the skill and experience to help grow it.

With some recent changes in the options available, we thought that it would be a good time for a brief review of what routes investors can take towards investing and gaining residency or citizenship in the country. There are federal, Canada-wide routes you can follow, but individual provinces have their own schemes.

The very popular Quebec Investor Immigration Program (QIIP) has been suspended since November 2019, as is being reviewed at the moment, but other federal and provincial options exist and are being expanded.

Option 1: THE START-UP VISA PROGRAM

The Start-up Visa Program is a general Business Immigration or “Investor” Visa option that allows you to immigrate to Canada by starting a business anywhere in the country. You and your business will have to meet a fairly stringent set of requirements in order to be successful with your application.

In general, your business must be innovative, create jobs for Canadians, be able to compete internationally, and you must play an active role in the ongoing management of your business while living in Canada. While you wait for your application’s approval, you can also apply for a temporary work permit to keep you busy in Canada.

All applicants (up to 5 people can apply as owners) must each hold at least 10% of the voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the business; and together with the designated organisation, they must hold more than 50% of the voting rights attached to all outstanding shares of the business.

You must also get a letter of support from a designated organisation that proves they are willing to invest in and support your start-up. These organisations include: Venture Capital Firms (CAD $200,000 investment); Angel Investor Groups (CAD $75,000 investment); and Business Incubators.

ANGEL INVESTOR STREAM

  • Applicants must convince the angel investor to invest at least CAD $75,000 in a start-up business.
  • AND have minimum CAD $750,000 in net worth (principal applicant’s and spouse’s assets combined).

BUSINESS INCUBATOR STREAM

  • Applicants must incorporate a company and intend to develop a business concept or idea in conjunction with CSC’s business incubator.
  • AND have minimum $500,000 in net worth (principal applicant’s and spouse’s assets combined).

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) gives every province and territory of Canada the power to invite applicants to come and live within their borders if they have the right skills and work experience. Most of the PNPs have at least one entrepreneur or investor visa category for people who want to who would like to expand or start their business in Canada.

Option 2: ONTARIO ENTREPRENEUR STREAM

You will require a minimum net worth of CAD $800,000 if your proposed business is to be situated in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Outside the GTA, the minimum net worth should be CAD $400,000. The proposed business needs to be in either ICT (information and communications technology) or digital communications, and the minimum net worth is CAD $400,000 anywhere in province.

Applicants need to invest at least CAD $600,000 in an Ontario business and own at least 33% if business is in the GTA.

Outside the GTA, applicants should invest at least CAD $200,000 and own at least 33% of the business.

The proposed business again should be either in ICT or digital communications, and applicants should invest at least CAD $200,000 and own at least 33% anywhere in province.

The proposed business should create two full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if located inside the GTA. Business located outside the GTA, or in either ICT or digital communications, must create one full time job.

Option 3: NEW BRUNSWICK DIRECT PR

The New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream is designed for experienced business owners and senior managers who wish to become permanent residents by managing and owning a business in New Brunswick, while residing in the Province.

You must have a minimum of 33.33% ownership and assume an active senior management role in the day-to-day operation of the business, which should be established as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.

When investing in a business, you must make an eligible business investment of not less than CAD $250,000 before tax. The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour (PETL) will not consider items purchased for personal use including, but not limited to, your principal residence and motor vehicles as part of your minimum eligible investment.

If buying an existing business, you must demonstrate to PETL that the business has been in continuous operation by the same owner for 3 years prior to the purchase date and that the owner is a permanent resident or citizen of Canada.

The business must create at least two full-time jobs for permanent residents or Canadian citizens living in New Brunswick.

Option 4: MANITOBA ENTREPRENEUR PNP

The renewed Entrepreneur Pathway replaces the previous MPNP-B stream. It allows Manitoba to recruit and nominate qualified business people from around the world who have the intent and ability to move to Manitoba and establish, purchase a business or become partners in an existing business within the first 24 months of arrival in Canada.

Applicants are no longer required to submit a deposit of CAD $100,000 to the Manitoba Government.

The minimum investment is CAD $150,000 if a business is situated outside of the Manitoba Capital Region. Business Investment must be made in an eligible business as defined by the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). The proposed business must create or maintain at least one job for a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Manitoba (excluding owners of the business and/or their close relative/s).

Investors can also now opt for the renewed Farm Investor Pathway (FIP), which replaces the previous Farm Strategic Recruitment Initiative. The Pathway is for individuals with proven farm business experience, sufficient available capital to invest, and who intend to establish and operate a farm operation in rural Manitoba.

Successful applicants of the FIP are expected to establish a farm business in rural Manitoba producing primary products that is consistent with the province’s current farm industry. The type of operation and investment must correlate with Provincial statistics and be relevant to Manitoba’s farm industry. Agriculture business operations not producing primary products may qualify under the Entrepreneur Pathway.

For more details about investing in Canada CLICK HERE