What is the Owner-Operator Program?

The LMIA Owner Operator program is offered to those foreign candidates who wish to purchase part of that Owner operator business or be involved in the daily operations.

Who is an ideal candidate?

To qualify as an owner-operator, the foreign investor must have:

  • Verifiable, transferable management experience.
  • Sufficient assets to purchase the targeted business in Canada.
  • Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.
  • Controlling interest in the business: own more than 50% of the shares and cannot be dismissed

Ownership of shares does not by itself guarantee that a foreign national qualifies as an owner-operator. The offer of employment must be made to a foreign investor that will be actively engaged in the management of the business. This will be assessed by reviewing the foreign national’s intention to operate the business as well as prior experience in managing or operating a business.

For this program to get accepted, it needs a proper business plan in order to make it as a compelling case and the business will have a great impact on the economy, and the due diligence has been ran to find a suitable candidate for this plan.

What is the process?

  • The foreign investor identifies a Canadian business to purchase.
  • A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is submitted along with a suitable business plan.
  • Once a positive LMIA opinion is issued, the foreign investor applies for a 12-24 months, renewable temporary work permit at the management level.

How long does this process take?

Once a suitable business is found, it will take 2-3 months to complete the LMIA application process.
It will take less than 3-months in most jurisdictions to receive a work permit.

As of April 1, 2021, this category allowed applicants to apply for a work permit without having to do the advertising requirement of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

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