Canada welcomes newcomers with different skills, work experience, and education to contribute to the economy and make a new life here. While many immigrants apply to settle in Canada as permanent residents (PR) through the Express Entry system, there are other programs that might make it easier for you to move to Canada. One of those is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). There are 13 provinces and territories in Canada and 11 of them currently offer this program. Each has different eligibility criteria and a separate application process. 

In this article:

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are primarily aimed at individuals who:

  • Have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory.
  • Intend to settle permanently in that province or territory, and  
  • Want to become permanent residents of Canada.

The province of Ontario is the political and economic centre of Canada, making it a popular choice for newcomers. Major cities like Toronto and Ottawa provide plenty of opportunities for jobs, innovation, dining, entertainment, and leisure. If you’re thinking of applying for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), here is what you need to know about how the program works and how to apply. 

Want to know more about moving to Canada?
See Frequently asked questions about immigration to Canada to learn more about your options.

Overview of Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

As Ontario’s economic immigration program, the ONIP recognizes and nominates foreign nationals who have the skills and experience the Ontario economy needs for permanent residence. 

In Ontario, there are three ways you may qualify:

  1. Employer job offer category: for workers who already have a permanent job offer from an Ontario employer
  2. Human capital category: for workers who have valuable work experience, education, language skills, and a profile in Canada’s Express Entry system; or for international graduates. There are two sub-categories, the first is the international graduate stream. The second is Ontario’s Express Entry streams, which includes:
    1. French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream
    2. Human Capital priorities stream
    3. Skilled Trades stream
  3. Business category: for entrepreneurs looking to start a business or buy an existing business in Ontario

How to qualify for an Ontario PR nomination through OINP

Currently, there are multiple streams available under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, including qualifying for permanent residence through the provincial Express Entry system.

OINP streams that are currently accepting applications

StreamCriteriaMandatory  requirements
French-Speaking Skilled Worker streamFrench-speaking skilled workers with the required work experience, education and language proficiency in both French and English.
  • Must have valid Express Entry profile and notification of interest from Ontario
  • Relevant work experience
  • Canadian bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degree or equivalent from another country
  • French language at CLB level 7 or higher
  • English language at CLB level 6 or higher
  • Settlement funds
  • Intention to live in Ontario
  • Meet requirements of Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • If applying for the FSWP, score at least 67 on six selection factors
Human Capital Priorities streamFor skilled workers with the required work experience, education and language proficiency in French or English.
  • Must have valid Express Entry profile and notification of interest from Ontario
  • Relevant work experience
  • Canadian bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degree or equivalent from another country
  • French OR English language skills at CLB level 7 or higher
  • Intention to live in Ontario
  • Meet requirements of FSWP or CEC
  • If applying for the FSWP, score at least 67 on six selection factors
Skilled Trades streamFor workers with work experience in Ontario in an eligible trade occupation.
  • Must have valid Express Entry profile and notification of interest from Ontario
  • Relevant work experience
  • Valid certificate or licence (if applicable) 
  • Current residence in Ontario & legal status in Canada
  • French OR English language skills at CLB level 5 or higher
  • Settlement funds
  • Intention to live in Ontario
Entrepreneur streamFor entrepreneurs from outside of Canada who are interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario. 
  • Demonstrate you have a viable business that will provide economic benefit to Ontario
  • At least 24 months business experience in last 60 months
  • Meet minimum net worth and personal investment funds criteria
  • Active involvement in business
  • Job creation
  • Meet general business requirements
  • French or English at CLB level 4 or higher
  • Physically present at least 75 per cent of time in Ontario 
  • Meet additional requirements if purchasing an existing business

For the French-Speaking Skilled Workers stream, Human Capital Priorities stream, and Skilled Trades stream, you’ll need to have a valid profile in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Express Entry system and receive a Notification of Interest from Ontario before you can apply online to be nominated by the Ontario government for permanent residence.

OINP streams that are currently accepting expressions of interest

Registering an expression of interest allows the OINP to collect important information about you and select candidates who are most likely to meet Ontario’s current economic and labour market needs. 

However, this information is subject to change and it’s important you check the official Ontario government website to verify which programs are open for registering expressions of interest. 

The following streams are listed under expressions of interest as of August 2021:

StreamCriteriaMandatory requirements
Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker streamForeign workers with a job offer in a skilled occupation at Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Open to foreign workers in and outside Canada.
  • Job offer – Full-time, permanent position
  • Applicant requirements – Mandatory licence (if applicable), demonstrate work experience in the same occupation as the NOC code of job offer, at least two years full-time, paid work experience.
  • Employer requirements – Business based in Ontario, active for at least three years, revenue and employee requirements, demonstrate effort to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident prior to offering the position to a foreign national.
Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream For skilled workers with a job offer in an in-demand occupation, including agriculture, construction, trucking, personal support work. 
  • Job offer – Full-time, permanent position in an eligible occupation in NOC Skill Level C or D, based in Ontario, position is urgent to business and offers at least median wage. 
  • Applicant requirements – At least nine months full-time work experience, valid licence (if required), French or English at CLB Level 4 or higher, Canadian high school diploma or equivalent from another country, intention to live in Ontario.
  • Employer requirements – Business based in Ontario, active for at least three years, demonstrate effort to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident prior to offering the position to a foreign national, meet revenue requirements and full-time employee requirements.
Masters Graduate stream For international graduates with an Ontario master’s degree to apply to live permanently and work in Ontario.
  • Expression of interest and invitation to apply
  • Master’s degree with at least one year study at eligible Ontario university 
  • French OR English language skills at CLB level 7 or higher 
  • Legally lived in Ontario for at least one year in the past 2 years 
  • Settlement funds
  • Intention to live in Ontario
  • Submit application within two years of completing degree
PhD Graduate streamFor international graduates with an Ontario PhD degree to apply to live permanently and work in Ontario.
  • Expression of interest and invitation to apply
  • PhD degree with at least two year study at eligible Ontario university 
  • French OR English language skills at CLB level 7 or higher 
  • Legally lived in Ontario for at least one year in the past 2 years 
  • Settlement funds
  • Intention to live in Ontario
  • Submit application within two years of completing degree

Note Icon  Important
You can only apply to these streams if you are invited. Registering an expression of interest is not the same as applying for PR or to OINP.

Step-by-step application process for OINP

There are four key steps involved in the OINP application process:

1. Confirm you qualify

Once you have identified which stream you’d like to apply under, it’s important to make sure you meet all the mandatory requirements for that stream before completing your application.

2. Create a profile

Before being nominated, you need to create a profile. Your profile will be ranked according to a point scoring system.

3. Apply to be nominated for OINP

If you are invited to apply or receive a notification of interest, you’ll need to apply online through the OINP e-Filing Portal

  • Express Entry streams – you may apply online within 45 calendar days.
  • Employer job offer and international student – you may apply online within 14 calendar days.

At this stage, you’ll also need to pay the application fees. Currently, they range from $1,500 CAD to $3,500 CAD, depending on the program you select.

Note Icon  Note
It takes between two to three hours to complete your OINP e-Filing Portal application.

4. Apply for permanent residence

If your application is successful, the last step is to apply for permanent residence through IRCC. It will be up to the Government of Canada to make the final decision on your permanent residency.

How does the OINP draw and point scoring system work?

Unlike the Express Entry draw which is based solely on your CRS score, the OINP draws for various streams can be based on score, target industries or professions the province wants people for, or a combination of both. Recent draws for the In-Demand Skills Stream and Human Capital Priorities Stream were “targeted,” with the province releasing a list of National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes and inviting people from the listed occupations to apply. Up-to-date information on OINP draws can be found on their program updates page. 

What happens after I get an OINP nomination?

If you’re applying for PR through an Express Entry OINP stream, 600 points will be added to your CRS score if you secure a PNP nomination. This will guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in the next round of federal invitations.

Where to get more information on OINP

For more information on the Ontario Immigrant Nomination Program:

  • Call: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at telephone 416-327-0374 or toll-free 1-888-214-6820.
  • Email ontarionominee@ontario.ca 

Entrepreneur stream applicants only business.immigration@ontario.ca 

Visit the OINP website for up-to-date news and announcements

If you’re looking for information on your application for permanent residence, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada online or at telephone 1-888-242-2100.  

The OINP process may seem daunting, as there are many steps involved. However, if you follow the instructions provided by the provincial Government and consult with authorized immigration representatives, you’ll be able to realize your dream of settling in Ontario.

To get to know more about Canadian culture, the Arrive mobile app is a good starting point. The Arrive app can ease your transition and help you adapt faster life to Canada. It is specially designed to provide newcomers, like yourself, with information that matters, at a time when you need it the most. The best part: you’ll always have all resources in one place – in an app on your phone – and you can access it wherever you are, without having to provide any confirmation from the Canadian government. Whether you’re a year away from your move or recently landed, if you’re a PR, international student or temporary foreign worker, the Arrive app will provide timely and relevant content, tools and guidance to ensure you’re fully prepared for your move and your life in Canada. 

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About Arrive

Arrive is powered by RBC Ventures Inc, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. In collaboration with RBC, Arrive is dedicated to helping newcomers achieve their life, career, and financial goals in Canada. An important part of establishing your financial life in Canada is finding the right partner to invest in your financial success. RBC is the largest bank in Canada* and here to be your partner in all of your financial needs. RBC supports Arrive, and with a 150-year commitment to newcomer success in Canada, RBC goes the extra mile in support and funding to ensure that the Arrive newcomer platform is FREE to all. Working with RBC, Arrive can help you get your financial life in Canada started – right now. Learn about your banking options in Canada and be prepared. Click here to book an appointment with an advisor.

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Disclaimer:
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.