Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

A foreign national may select one of three routes to obtain permanent resident (PR) status in Canada. They may apply under one of the economic classes, under the family class or under the refugee or humanitarian class.[1] A foreign national may be selected as a member of the economic class by applying as a skilled worker.[2] The skilled worker class includes the provincial nominee class[3] and the Express Entry Program.

There are three ways one may apply for PR in Ontario’s provincial nominee class. The employer job category is for where an Ontario employer has already offered the applicant a permanent and fulltime job. The human capital category is for where the applicant is a graduate student or worker who has valuable work experience, education, language skills and a profile in Canada’s Express Entry system. The business category is for where the applicant is an entrepreneur who is looking to either start a new business in Ontario or buy an existing Ontario business.

To apply in the employer job category, a foreign national must create a profile in the OINP e-filing portal, register an expression of interest for their employer job offer category, have received an invitation to apply and have a fulltime and permanent job offer from an Ontario employer. There are three streams in this category. The foreign worker stream is for where the applicant is a worker in a skilled position. The international student stream is for where the applicant recently graduated from an Ontario university as an international student. And the in-demand skills stream is for where the applicant is an intermediate skilled worker in areas such as construction, trucking or personal support services.

(Note: There is currently a two-year pilot that is working on marketing and outreach to raise awareness by local employers, in order to increase uptake in rural and small communities.)[4]

The human capital category has two different streams: the Masters Graduate or PhD Graduate streams; and Ontario’s Express Entry. To apply under the Masters graduate or PhD Graduate stream, the applicant must create a profile in the OINP e-filing portal, register an expression of interest for their graduate stream, have received an invitation to apply and apply within two years of getting their graduate degree from an eligible Ontario university. Ontario’s Express Entry streams, which operate through the Federal Government’s Express Entry System, include: the French-speaking skilled worker stream (where the applicant is proficient in both English and French and is a skilled worker who has the required work experience and education); the human capital priorities stream (where the applicant is proficient in either English or French and is a skilled worker who has the required work experience and education); and the skilled trades stream (where the applicant has work experience in Ontario in an eligible trade occupation). To apply under one of these streams, the applicant must submit a profile to IRCC’s Express Entry system.[5]

(Note: A new opportunity under this category is tech draws: the OINP will search for candidates with technological skills and give those it identifies a notification of interest. The purpose of this opportunity is to make it easier for businesses in the technology sector to recruit top talent.)[6]

The business category has only one stream, the entrepreneur stream. The application is a two-stage process. Stage 1 involves the applicant registering an expression of interest; if invited, submitting an online application; they and their business partner (if applicable) attending a mandatory interview; and, if the Stage 1 application is successful, signing a performance agreement. Stage 2 involves receiving a temporary work permit support letter that can be used to apply to the IRCC for a temporary work permit; the applicant arriving in Ontario and establishing their business within 20 months within the date of their arrival and submitting a final report; and, if the business meets all of the requirements, further document submissions as may be required.[7]

The application processing times for all streams is currently about 1-2 months. For the entrepreneur stream, the expression of interest assessment now takes approximately one month.[8]

The description above is only a general outline. The regulations prescribe a number of detailed requirements for each stream.[9] Therefore, if applying, it is beneficial to reach out to an immigration consultant or lawyer for advice and information on these processes.

Relevant laws: the Ontario Immigration Act, 2015, S.O. 2015, c. 8; Ontario Regulation 421/17: Approvals under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and Other Matters, made under the Act; and Ontario Regulation 422/17: General, made under the Act.

If an OINP application is unsuccessful, OINP will notify the applicant by email. The applicant has the right to ask for an internal review of the decision by completing and filing a document called “Notice of Request for Internal Review”.[10] The completed notice and accompanying documentation must be submitted by email to internalreview-revisioninterne@ontario.ca within 30 days after receiving notice of the decision. Before a decision is made on the review, the applicant has an opportunity to make written submissions. The person conducting the review will give the applicant notice of their decision.[11] The requester must identify in the request an error in the decision or order that, if not made, would have resulted in the decision or order being decided differently. The requester may not include in the request any evidence that was not adduced before the decision or order was made unless the evidence was not reasonably available at that time.[12] The reviewer may consider only any error identified by the requester and the evidence that the requester is entitled to include in the request.[13] If an internal review is unsuccessful, the applicant has an option of pursuing a judicial review of the decision.


[1] Liew, Jamie Chai Yun and Donald Galloway, “Chapter 3: Status in Canada”, Immigration Law, 2nd Edition (Toronto, ON: Irwin Law Inc., August 2015).

[2] Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27,  s. 12(2).

[3] Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227, s. 87.

[4] “Regional immigration pilot”: https:///www.ontario.ca

[5] “Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program”: https://www.ontario.ca

[6] “Tech draws”: https://www.ontario.ca

[7] “Entrepreneur stream”: https://www.ontario.ca

[8] “OINP Application processing times and nominations issued”: https://www.ontario.ca

[9] Cf. O. Reg. 422/17 General.

[10] “2021 Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program updates”: https://www.ontario.ca

[11] Ontario Immigration Act, 2015, s. 34.

[12] O. Reg. 421, s. 10.

[13] Ibid, s. 11.