Canada Work Permit Options 2021: Entrepreneurial Stream

In order to run a business in Canada; a work permit is the first step towards establishing a business in Canada for entrepreneurs. 

The Canadian government has made some major policy changes that are affecting immigration pathways for entrepreneurial candidates.

Canadian Immigration Authority recently announced that the Owner/Operator category that falls under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will be removed on the date of April 1, 2021. This is the category of work permit that allows applicants to apply for this without the need to do advertising requirements for the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) letter. 

It has been announced that there are some new changes that will be affecting the Comprehensive and Trade Agreement  (CETA) Investors. From 1 January 2021 onwards, Canada will not be processing UK candidates under this program. Actually, instead of this, the applicants applying under this category will be processed under the new Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement once it gets ratified. The ratification is expected to happen early this year only. Until then, the applicant has to have an LMIA letter or just meet the eligibility requirement for the LMIA exempt work permit. 

Given below is the list of some other options that Entrepreneurs can opt for in order to start a business in Canada.  

Intra-Company Transfer

The Intra-Company Work Permit is for entrepreneurs who are willing to expand an existing foreign business in Canada. This type of work permit is usually by multi-national corporations who have a desire to expand and transfer their management and key staff between international branches. But this work permit can also be used for opening a shop in Canada as well.

Business owners can also divide their time between managing their current overseas business and openings their Canadian branch, affiliate, and subsidiary.

The eligibility requirement for this work permit are as follows:

There is a viability test for new Canadian business that is needed to be passed by providing financial information, the physical premise securing evidence, and a business plan that provides hire of at least one Canadian during the whole year of operation.

The applicant business and the Canadian Businesses must have the same ownership structure. This means that the foreign business must have a parent branch, affiliate relationship, or parent-subsidiary.

The candidate being transferred for managing the new Canadian business have a requirement that they must be employed by a foreign business that is looking for transferring them for at least one year in a senior managerial or executive position. 

CUSMA Investor

Citizens of the U.S. or Mexico who are willing to invest in a new or existing business in Canada can apply for a work permit under the Canada-United-States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) Investor program. Shareholders, Investors, or sole owners can actually use this program to direct and develop their business from inside Canada.

In order to apply for this work permit, the applicant needs to develop a business plan giving details about the total capital involved to establish or purchase a business. This also needs to be shown that a significant portion of the investment should already be committed to this project. One more thing that is necessary is that the business should generate jobs and other added benefits to the local economy as well.

CETA Investor

European investors that are eligible for a CETA Investor program can actually stay in Canada without the need for an LMIA.

For being eligible, the candidate must be employed in an executive or a supervisory position by an enterprise. Also, the employing enterprise must be willing to invest a substantial capital amount to a Canadian business. 

The eligibility requirement is almost as similar to the CUSMA program explained above.


This is a work permit that is intended for entrepreneurs who are the majority shareholder of a seasonal Canadian company that is more than 50% of the company share. This work permit can also be applied if the Canadian business owner is willing to stay outside Canada. In these cases, the work permit can be exempted from the need of an LMIA.

Candidates must be able to demonstrate that their business wil be a significant success in terms of economic, social, or culturally beneficial to Canadians. Eventually, they can seek a temporary residency or permanent residency.

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