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The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement

Annex C
Pilot Provincial Nominee Program


1.0 Preamble

1.1 Both parties recognize that Ontario has particular needs and circumstances, and that Ontario is best positioned to determine the specific needs of the province vis-à-vis immigration. Both parties further agree that these needs can be accommodated insofar as they are not incompatible with national immigration policy.

1.2 Both parties recognize the importance of encouraging the development of minority official language communities in Ontario.

2.0 Purpose and objectives

2.1 The objective of this Annex is to define the roles and responsibilities of Canada and Ontario in relation to the operation of a three (3) year Pilot Provincial Nominee Program.

2.2 This Annex provides Ontario with a mechanism to increase the economic benefits of immigration to Ontario, based on its economic priorities and labour market conditions.

2.3 This Annex permits the processing and admission to Canada of candidates nominated by Ontario for permanent residence as expeditiously as possible, taking into account statutory requirements, operational and resource constraints, Canada’s immigration projections and Ontario’s provincial nominee activity plan, and service standards as developed.

3.0 Promotion and recruitment

3.1 Ontario and Canada agree to cooperate in the promotion and recruitment of Provincial Nominees.

3.2 Ontario will undertake recruitment initiatives as needed to implement the Pilot Provincial Nominee Program.

3.3 Canada agrees to make all practical efforts to assist Ontario to identify prospective immigrants to fulfill the province’s targets in its Pilot Provincial Nominee Program, including but not limited to:

  1. directing potential applicants in permanent and temporary streams through Canada’s immigration-related websites to visit the Ontario website;
  2. distributing promotional materials provided by Ontario when displaying promotional materials at selected missions abroad;
  3. participating in provincially initiated missions to attract immigrants within the limits of mission resources;
  4. inviting Ontario to participate in appropriate training or information sharing exercises with program managers and other mission staff to communicate the province’s specific needs and opportunities;
  5. inviting Ontario to participate in national initiatives which provide opportunities to identify and recruit immigrants; and
  6. sharing of advance overseas labour market and demographic information and expertise.

3.4 Canada recognizes that Ontario may undertake its own promotion and recruitment activities consistent with the intent of this Annex.

3.5 Ontario may enter into partnership with other parties for the purposes of promotion and recruitment and in so doing will:

  1. require third parties to respect the terms and conditions of this Annex; and
  2. advise Canada of such partnerships.

4.0 Assessment and nomination

4.1 Ontario has the sole and non-transferable responsibility to assess and nominate candidates who, in Ontario’s determination:

  1. will be of benefit to the economic development of Ontario; and
  2. have a strong likelihood of becoming economically established in Ontario.

4.2 In exercising its nomination authority under this Annex, Ontario will follow the procedures and criteria for nomination established by Ontario, as amended from time to time. Ontario will share its criteria with Canada and keep written records of its assessments of its nominees against those criteria.

4.3 Ontario will develop an annual provincial nominee plan based on principles established by Ontario and shared with Canada.

4.4 Ontario’s annual Pilot Provincial Nominee plan will be submitted to Canada in a timely manner during the course of this pilot to allow for levels planning for the following year. Canada undertakes to incorporate the Pilot Provincial Nominee targets into the operational targets set for visa offices for the term of this pilot. Ontario, in cooperation with Canada, will determine annual targets for the term of this Annex.

4.5 Ontario will issue a dated nomination certificate, valid in accordance with Ontario’s administrative requirements for each provincial nominee. For security reasons, Ontario will forward a copy of the certificate to the mission where the candidate will apply for admission. A nomination certificate received directly from the candidate or other parties will not be accepted as evidence pursuant to section 4.7 and 4.8 of this Annex.

4.6 Canada agrees to process applicants nominated for Permanent Resident status by Ontario as expeditiously as possible with a view to achieving targets that have been integrated into Canada’s annual delivery plan.

4.7 Upon receipt of the Certificate of Nomination from Ontario, Canada will:

  1. exercise the final selection;
  2. determine the admissibility of the nominee and his or her dependants with respect to legislative requirements including health, criminality and security; and
  3. issue immigrant visas to provincial nominees and accompanying dependants who meet all the admissibility requirements of the IRPA and IRPR.

4.8 Canada will consider a nomination certificate issued by Ontario as a determination that admission is of benefit to the economic development of Ontario and that Ontario has conducted due diligence to ensure that the applicant has the ability and is likely to become economically established in Ontario.

4.9 Processing of applications and issuance of visas may continue beyond the calendar year in which the nomination certificate was issued.

4.10 Should Canada determine that an individual nominated by Ontario is likely to be refused an immigrant visa, Ontario will be notified immediately and consulted regarding the reasons for possible refusal.

4.11 Ontario may raise concerns or seek clarification from the assessing officer at the relevant mission with respect to a potential refusal, within 90 days from the date of being advised by Canada. Further representation, if necessary, may be made to the program manager at the mission within the 90‑day period.

4.12 Where Canada determines that it will refuse, notwithstanding Ontario’s views as communicated pursuant to section 4.11 of this Annex, Canada will advise Ontario before a final decision is made.

4.13 Where an individual nominated by Ontario has received a job offer from an Ontario-based employer, the responsible Canadian Visa Officer may issue a temporary work permit pursuant to the IRPR, if the work permit application includes a letter from Ontario that:

  1. states that the nominated individual is required by the employer; and
  2. determines that:
    1. the job offer would create economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities,
    2. the employment is not part-time or seasonal, and
    3. the wages and working conditions of the employment would be sufficient to attract and retain Canadian citizens; and
  3. requests the Visa Officer to issue a temporary work permit.

4.14 Ontario will not knowingly issue a nomination certificate to anyone whose employment will affect the settlement of any labour dispute or affect the employment of a person involved in such a dispute, or where their employment will adversely affect employment or training opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Ontario.

5.0 Temporary admission to facilitate promotion and recruitment

5.1 Canada and Ontario may develop partnerships or projects related to temporary admission to facilitate promotion and recruitment. These partnerships or projects may include, but are not limited to, those involving information sharing and facilitating exploratory visits.

5.2 Canada recognizes the legitimate requirement for exploratory visits by potential immigrants to Ontario when issuing temporary resident visas, taking into account that all of Canada’s statutory obligations must be met.

6.0 Program evaluation and information exchange

6.1 Canada and Ontario recognize the importance of evaluating the Pilot Provincial Nominee Program in order to determine its impacts and outcomes in Ontario. Accordingly, Canada and Ontario will negotiate an evaluation framework in accordance with section 7.2.3 of the General Provisions which will ensure that sufficient data is available and analysis completed at appropriate intervals, so that the pilot can be appropriately evaluated. Ontario will assume responsibility for the costs of such an evaluation.

6.2 Subject to section 4.4.3 of the General Provisions, Canada and Ontario agree to share information on prospective and actual immigrant landings so as to maximize the effect of recruitment and retention efforts. This will include tracking of provincial nominees to Ontario for a minimum of three years from their date of entry, as a basis for assessing the effectiveness of targeted recruitment and integration and retention activities.

6.3 In order to facilitate the exchange of information between Canada and Ontario, Ontario will obtain from each nominee and his or her dependents a signed consent allowing Canada to share with Ontario information regarding the nominee’s application, including the processing thereof.

6.4 Canada will provide Ontario with information on a quarterly basis, on average processing times of provincial nominees destined to Ontario and other provinces.

6.5 Canada will provide Ontario with names and dates of landings of Ontario-nominated provincial nominees on a monthly basis.

7.0 Notification

7.1 The official representatives for the purpose of communication and notification pursuant to this Annex, which may be changed from time to time by notice in writing to the other Party, are:

  1. for Canada, the Director, Economic Policy and Programs, Selection Branch; and
  2. for Ontario, the Manager, Business Immigration Section, Trade and Investment Division, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

8.0 Implementation

8.1 This Annex shall take effect and the pilot shall commence on the date when Ontario formally announces the launch of its pilot Provincial Nominee Program, once it has approved operational and implementation requirements, including but not limited to: nomination criteria and process, target groups and numbers, and resource approvals.

8.2 The date on which this Annex takes effect and the pilot commences shall be within twelve (12) months of the signing of this Agreement.

8.3 The duration of the pilot shall be for a period of three (3) years from the date this Annex has taken effect and the pilot has commenced. The term of this Annex may be extended pursuant to section 7.4.3 of the General Provisions.

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