TORONTO – Ontario plans to accept 100 immigrants in the next two years under a program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to apply for immigration to the province after they invest a minimum of $ 200,000 in its economy.

Labor Minister Mount McNaughton says the government will focus on attracting international entrepreneurs to Ontario communities outside of the greater Toronto area.

He says these entrepreneurs will be nominated for immigration under the province’s economic immigration program after they start a new business or purchase an existing one in Ontario.

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McNaughton says the new initiative will cost the government $ 6 million, but will be recovered through fees paid by immigrants who come to the province to start or buy businesses.

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He says the province expects a minimum of $ 20 million in business investments generated through this flow of immigration.

The previous liberal government in Ontario had founded this stream in 2015, but only two immigrant investors have been nominated to use it since then.

“I see immigration as one of the key economic drivers of Ontario’s growth,” McNaughton said. “There is an opportunity to create new businesses outside of the GTA, to create more jobs for people across the province.”

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McNaughton said the program will help with the recovery of Ontario’s economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have to be aggressive as we rebuild better from the pandemic to recruit entrepreneurs in Ontario,” he said.

Last month, Ontario asked the federal government to double the number of immigrants allowed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program from 9,000 to 18,000 per year, a program aimed at boosting the skilled workforce.

McNaughton said the province faces a significant labor shortage that has been intensified by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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