Canada-Ontario Agreement on Provincial Nominees

Electronic Version
Original signed May 27, 2015

1.0 Preamble

1.1 The Canada-Ontario Agreement on Provincial Nominees (hereinafter referred to as the “Agreement”) is BETWEEN Her Majesty, The Queen in right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (hereinafter referred to as “Canada”), and Her Majesty, the Queen in right of the province of Ontario, as represented by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (hereinafter referred to as “Ontario”);

1.2 And whereas section 95 of the Constitution Act, 1867 grants Canada and Ontario concurrent legislative jurisdiction in relation to immigration;

1.3 And whereas the Parliament of Canada has enacted the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (hereinafter referred to as the “IRPA”) and, thereunder, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (hereinafter referred to as the “IRPR”);

1.4 And whereas the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain mobility rights to every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada, and guarantees every individual equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination;

1.5 And whereas the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the equality of status to English and French as the official languages of Canada;

1.6 And whereas subsection 10(2) of the IRPA requires the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to consult with the provinces annually with respect to the number of foreign nationals in each class who will become permanent residents each year, their distribution in Canada taking into account regional economic and demographic requirements, and the measures to be undertaken to facilitate their integration into Canadian society;

1.7 And whereas subsection 8(1) of the IRPA and subsection 5(1) of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, with approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into agreements with provinces and territories for the purposes of the IRPA;

1.8 And whereas Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade has the authority to enter into this Agreement with Canada pursuant to section 3 of the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture Act and by Order in Council # 1478/2005 made under section 2(2) of the Executive Council Act.

1.9 And whereas the IRPA is designed to, among other things:

  1. 1.9.1 support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada; 
  2. 1.9.2 enrich and strengthen the cultural and social fabric of Canadian society while respecting the federal, bilingual, and multicultural character of Canada; and
  3. 1.9.3 support and assist the development of Minority Official Languages Communities in Canada.

1.10 And whereas Ontario’s French Language Services Act recognizes the contribution of the cultural heritage of the French speaking population and wishes to preserve it for future generations.

1.11 And whereas Canada and Ontario share a mutual interest in:

  1. 1.11.1 maximizing the contribution of immigration to the achievement of their social, demographic, and economic goals;
  2. 1.11.2 ensuring Immigrants have the earliest opportunity to fully utilize their skills within the Canadian labour market;
  3. 1.11.3 planning and coordinating their immigration activities, based on cooperation, consultation, and information sharing; and
  4. 1.11.4 working in partnership with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, ethnic organizations, communities, and employers to facilitate the attainment of immigration objectives.

Therefore, Canada and Ontario agree to the following:

2.0 Definitions

2.1 Definitions from the IRPA and the IRPR

For the purposes of this Agreement:

  1. except where otherwise provided in this Agreement, words used in this Agreement which are defined in the IRPA or in the IRPR have the same meaning as in the IRPA or the IRPR;
  2. a reference to the IRPA or the IRPR is a reference to that Act or those Regulations, as amended from time to time; and
  3. where a definition given in this Agreement is inconsistent with a definition given in the IRPA or the IRPR, the definition in the IRPA or the IRPR will prevail.

2.2 Definitions in this Agreement

For the purposes of this Agreement:

  1. “Designated Representatives” are the primary contacts for both Canada and Ontario who are responsible for the interpretation, inquiries, and requests for amendments of this Agreement;
  2. “Dispute” means a conflict or disagreement between the Parties respecting:
    1. the interpretation, application, implementation of this Agreement, the IRPA, or the IRPR;
    2. a breach or anticipated breach of this Agreement; or
    3. other matters identified in the Agreement; and
    4. that the Designated Representatives have been informed in writing of the conflict as per clause 3.1 of Appendix A – Dispute Management and Resolution Procedures;
  3. “Fraud” means an intentional, false representation of truth, omission, or concealment of a material fact made by one person to another for the purpose of inducing the other person to act;
  4. “Immigrant” means a permanent resident, including a Convention refugee abroad and humanitarian-protected persons abroad resettled to Canada, and protected persons in Canada;
  5. “Minority Official Languages Communities” means French speaking communities in Ontario;
  6. “Misrepresentation” occurs when documentary and/or verbal evidence of incorrect fact is presented for the purpose of obtaining money, goods, privileges, benefits, or services to which the individual is not entitled;
  7. “Party” means Canada or Ontario, and “Parties” means Canada and Ontario;
  8. “Personal Information” means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form, including, without limitation, “Personal Information” as defined for Canada, in the Privacy Act R.S.C 1985, c P-21, to which Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), as a government institution, is subject and for Ontario in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act R.S.O [1990], c.F.31 (“FOIPPA”);
  9. “Processing pause” means that Ontario nominee certificates and/or applications related to those certificates under Dispute will no longer be accepted by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and returned; and that processing will cease on those Ontario nominee applications under dispute until the Dispute is resolved;
  10. “Program Integrity and Quality Assurance” is about delivering the right service, to the right person, for the right reasons, in a consistent manner.  Operationally, this includes undertaking activities that maintain the integrity of the program and sound risk management practices, by giving attention to every stage of the delivery process.  This usually involves random sampling used to monitor and assess established procedures, adherence to program requirements, the quality of decision-making and the reliability of client information.  These exercises can be used to uncover activities such as Fraud and Misrepresentation, risks or gaps and to help identify any areas in need of program and policy improvements;
  11. “Provincial Nominee” means a person who is a member of the Provincial Nominee class;
  12. “Provincial Nominee Program” means the functions under the Provincial Nominee Agreement entered into and under the IRPA and the IRPR that allow Ontario to nominate foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada and apply to CIC to become a permanent resident of Canada; and
  13. "Temporary Resident" means a temporary foreign worker, an international student, or a visitor.

3.0 Purpose and Objectives

3.1 The purpose of this Agreement is to define the roles and responsibilities of Canada and Ontario in relation to the Provincial Nominee Class as described in section 87 of the IRPR, and, in accordance with section 8(1) of the IRPA, to establish provisions concerning the selection of, and acquisition of immigration status by, foreign nationals nominated by Ontario.

3.2 In the event of a conflict between this Agreement and the IRPA, the IRPR, or Ministerial Instructions given under the IRPA, Canada and Ontario agree that the IRPA, the IRPR or Ministerial Instructions shall prevail.

3.3 The objectives of this Agreement are:

  1. 3.3.1 To strengthen Ontario’s ability to enhance its economic benefit from immigration, taking into account its economic priorities;
  2. 3.3.2 To increase the number of Francophone Immigrants to Ontario;
  3. 3.3.3 To recognize that the Provincial Nominee class as established by section 87(1) of the IRPR, and the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Provincial Nominees, provide for the establishment of a jointly administered immigration program where:
    1. Ontario is responsible for:
      1. the recruitment and nomination of Provincial Nominees on the basis of their ability to economically establish and settle in Ontario;
      2. the promotion of Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program;
      3. the integrity of the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program; and
      4. ensuring that effective performance monitoring and evaluation systems, consistent with the national Provincial Nominee Program Evaluation Framework and national Provincial Nominee Program Performance Measurement Framework, are in place in Ontario;
    2. Canada is responsible for:
      1. ensuring that applicants admitted under the Provincial Nominee Program have met the requirements of membership in the economic class as provided under the IRPA, and that they are assessed for nomination using criteria designed to determine their eligibility for consideration in the economic class;
      2. making the final selection and admissibility decisions and issuing visas; and
      3. ensuring that performance monitoring and evaluation systems are in place at the federal level to ensure that the national Provincial Nominee Program continues to meet its economic objectives; and
  4. 3.3.4 To admit Ontario Provincial Nominees for permanent residence as expeditiously as possible, taking into account:
    1. Ontario’s annual immigration levels plan, including its provincial nominee plan;
    2. Canada’s projected annual immigration levels plan as per section 94 of the IRPA;
    3. The number of provincial nomination certificates issued in each calendar year, as referred to in section 5.2;
    4. Legislative and regulatory requirements, including Ministerial Instructions; and
    5. Operational and resource constraints.

4.0 Shared Principles

4.1 Canada and Ontario agree to abide by and uphold the following shared principles:

4.1.1 Ontario is best positioned to:

  1. determine its own economic and labour market needs vis-à-vis immigration; and
  2. assess and nominate candidates that will have the ability and intention to economically establish and settle in Ontario and, thereby, meet its economic and labour market needs;

4.1.2 Canada is responsible for national immigration policy direction, the overall design and management of the movement of permanent and temporary residents to Canada, and, in accordance with section 94 of the IRPA, for the establishment of an annual immigration plan containing a projection of the number of Immigrants to be admitted to Canada each year in total and in each Immigrant category; and, in accordance with section 87.3 of the IRPA, for the processing of applications and requests in a manner that, in the opinion of the Minister, will best support the attainment of the immigration goals established by Canada.  In carrying out its responsibilities under sections 94 and 87.3 of the IRPA, Canada is committed to working equitably with all interested parties, including Ontario;

4.1.3 Canada is responsible for the creation of immigration classes within the IRPA and the IRPR; Ontario is responsible for the design, administration, monitoring, evaluation, and integrity of its Provincial Nominee Program, and may create categories within this Program to the extent they identify individuals solely on the basis of their ability and intention to economically establish and settle in Ontario, and are compatible with the definitions and criteria applicable to the Provincial Nominee class under the IRPA and the IRPR and with national immigration policy;

4.1.4 Canada will process Provincial Nominee applications from all provinces and territories equitably and as expeditiously as possible within its national levels plan, subject to the provisions of section 5.3 below, operational and resource constraints, and its balancing of multiple competing priorities, including as reflected in Ministerial Instructions issued under section 87.3 of the IRPA;

4.1.5 The importance of the Provincial Nominee Program as a strategic tool for significant economic benefit in the region;

4.1.6 The importance of proactively encouraging the development of Minority Official Languages Communities; 

4.1.7 The importance of communication and collaboration to ensure the Program’s integrity, effective management, and generation of successful outcomes;

4.1.8 The importance of Program Integrity activities in maintaining the integrity of the Provincial Nominee Program;

4.1.9 The importance of standardized methodology for all Provincial Nominee Program evaluations to ensure that performance information common to all jurisdictions is collected and evaluated in a comparable manner; and

4.1.10 The importance of the Provincial Nominee Program as a tool for spreading the benefits of immigration across Canada, and the critical role that the settlement and retention of Provincial Nominees in the nominating jurisdiction plays in achieving this goal.

5.0 Planning and Reporting

5.1 Ontario will develop a Provincial Nominee Program plan based on the shared principles agreed to by the Parties in section 4.1 above.  In establishing its Provincial Nominee Program plan, Ontario will consult with Canada, taking into account Canada’s role in national immigration policy and planning.

5.2 Canada will make all reasonable efforts to incorporate Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program plan into Canada’s immigration plan.  The number of Provincial Nominee Program nominations as set by Canada in consultation with Ontario, subject to the principles outlined in section 4.1.2 above, may be adjusted at any time during the year upon the Parties’ agreement.   Any nominations issued above the agreed upon amount for any given calendar year will be retained by Ontario until the following calendar year.  In the event that a greater number of certificates are received by Canada than was agreed upon for the current calendar year, the excess certificates will be returned to Ontario.  Ontario will be responsible for advising affected nominees that their certificates have been returned and will be held by Ontario until January 1 of the following year.  By September 30, or periodically as agreed to by both Parties, Ontario will inform Canada of its progress in issuing certificates for the current calendar year. 

5.3 Reporting on Ontario’s Nominee Program will be undertaken as follows:

5.3.1 By March 31st of each year, Ontario will provide Canada with an annual report on the Provincial Nominee Program’s results for the previous calendar year; and

5.3.2 Ontario’s Annual Provincial Nominee Program report will include the common performance indicators listed in the national Provincial Nominee Program Performance Measurement Framework outlined in section 9.2. In addition to information related to the common performance indicators, Ontario will also include in its annual Provincial Nominee Program Report the other elements outlined in Schedule A as they are available.  Where Ontario does not currently collect information related to these additional elements, it will provide details of its plan to collect this information in the future.

6.0 Assessment and Nomination

6.1 Ontario has the sole and non-transferable responsibility to assess and nominate candidates who, in Ontario’s determination and subject to sections 6.2 through 6.8 below:

  1. 6.1.1 will be of benefit to the economic development of Ontario; and
  2. 6.1.2 have the ability and intention to economically establish and reside in Ontario.

6.2 In order to exercise its nomination authority under this Agreement, Ontario will develop objective and transparent criteria for nomination which will be designed to assess the ability of the applicant to become economically established in Ontario and to demonstrate the economic benefit to Ontario.  Ontario will establish and make publicly available its Provincial Nominee Program requirements, policies, and procedures.  Applicants will be required to meet these criteria in order to be nominated.  Ontario will respect the principles and objectives of this Agreement in developing and implementing its criteria and procedures. 

6.3 Ontario will provide Canada with all necessary information regarding the criteria, policies, and procedures that it has established for the categories under its Provincial Nominee Program, as outlined in Schedule B, prior to the introduction and/or modification of any Provincial Nominee Program stream, category, or pilot project.  Canada will conduct a review of any proposed changes and, if it has determined that the changes are consistent with the IRPA, the IRPR and national immigration policies, Canada and Ontario will agree to the proposed changes.  To the extent possible, the timing and duration of the review will be mutually agreed upon by Canada and Ontario prior to the start of the review process, taking into account resource constraints.  The period of this review will vary according to the complexity of the proposed changes.  Ontario will only implement the new or amended Provincial Nominee Program stream, category, or pilot project once Canada and Ontario have reached agreement.

6.4 Provincial Nominee applicants will be nominated solely on the basis of economic benefit to Ontario and their ability and likelihood of becoming economically established and residing in Ontario.  Economic establishment will be determined on the basis of factors such as an applicant’s current job or job offer, language ability, work experience, education and training, and business ownership experience. 

6.5 Non-economic factors including, but not limited to, an applicant’s family connections or community ties shall not constitute an eligibility condition or determining factor under any stream or category under the Provincial Nominee Program.  Non-economic factors may only be used to assess the applicant's ability to adapt, or likelihood to reside and/or settle, in Ontario. 

6.6 Ontario agrees to maintain the minimum language standards implemented on July 1, 2012 for Provincial Nominees at skill levels C and D of the National Occupation Classification (NOC), and to work towards establishing minimum language standards and mandatory testing for all other Provincial Nominees.

6.6.1 For those streams, categories, or occupations subject to minimum language standards and mandatory testing, Ontario will ensure that nominations are based on valid language test results.  Ontario will require those applicants to have their proficiency assessed in the English or French language by an organization or institution designated by Canada, and these applicants must have obtained proficiencies for their abilities to speak, listen, read, and write that correspond to agreed-upon benchmarks.  Only language test results from an organization or institution designated by Canada and the correlation of those results with the agreed upon benchmarks will be accepted as evidence of the applicant’s proficiency in an official language for the purposes of this provision.  The official notification of the results issued by the designated organization or a copy must be included with the application for permanent residence.  The benchmarks are as follows:

  1. In the case of an applicant who has a job offer for an occupation listed in NOC skill level C or NOC skill level D, or has acquired work experience in one or more occupations that are listed in skill level C or skill level D of the NOC matrix, applicants must have obtained proficiencies that correspond to the Canadian Language Benchmark of 4 or higher in each of the following competencies: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

6.6.2 As applicants in other streams, categories, or occupations become subject to minimum language standards and mandatory testing, Ontario will follow the same process as outlined in section 6.6.1 to ensure that these applicants have obtained proficiencies for their abilities to speak, listen, read, and write corresponding to agreed-upon benchmarks. 

6.6.3 Applications for permanent residence requiring the submission of language test results as per section 6.6.1 and which do not include valid language test results or the language results do not meet the above requirements will be returned to the applicant.

6.7 In exercising its nomination authority under this Agreement, Ontario will apply the criteria for nomination referred to in sections 6.1 through 6.6 above, and will follow its policies and procedures, as amended from time to time, insofar as these criteria, policies, and procedures are consistent with the IRPA, the IRPR, any successor legislation and regulations, national immigration policies and the terms of this Agreement.  These criteria will be applied to all individuals applying under Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program, and Ontario does not have the authority to waive these criteria.

6.8 Ontario will not issue a nomination certificate to:

  1. 6.8.1 any person whose employment is likely to affect the settlement of any labour dispute or affect the employment of a person involved in such a dispute, or whose employment will adversely affect employment or training opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Ontario; and
  2. 6.8.2 any person who intends to enter, has agreed to enter, or has entered into an “immigration-linked investment scheme” as described in section 87 of the IRPR, or its successor.

6.9 Ontario is responsible for verifying that all documentation supporting a nomination is genuine.

6.10 Ontario will keep written or electronic records of its assessments of its nominees against those criteria for a minimum of six years from the date of nomination, and will share those records with Canada if requested to do so, subject to section 10 of this Agreement.

6.11 Ontario is responsible for conducting due diligence to ensure that the applicant has the ability and is likely to become economically established and settle in Ontario.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, Canada retains the right to request from the nominee additional documentation supporting the nominee’s ability and likelihood to become economically established and settle in Ontario, and, pursuant to section 87(3) of the IRPR, to substitute its evaluation of the nominee’s ability to become economically established in Canada.  In exercising its responsibilities under sections 6.14, 6.16, and sections 9.1 to 9.6 below, Canada may also seek clarification and request documentation from Ontario on its assessment of nominees.

6.12 Ontario will issue a dated nomination certificate number, valid in accordance with Ontario’s administrative requirements, for each nominee.  The certificate will specify information including, but not limited to, the category under which the nomination has been made, as well as other information outlined in section 10.3 below.  For security reasons, Ontario will forward a record of the certificate, by electronic means, to the location specified by Canada.  A nomination certificate received directly from the candidate or other parties will not be accepted as evidence.  Nominees must file an application for immigration within the time limit specified on the nomination certificate.

6.13 On a five (5) year schedule, and subject to the following conditions, Ontario will conduct an independent and objective audit of its Provincial Nomination Program in order to assess whether the procedures required under this Agreement, as set out in sections 6.1 through 6.12, have been established, are being respected, and to assess whether adequate oversight mechanisms have been put in place for ongoing program monitoring and reporting:

  1. 6.13.1 Audits will be consistent with the standards established by the Institute of Internal Auditors.
  2. 6.13.2 Ontario will consult with Canada on the terms of reference for the audit.
  3. 6.13.3 Ontario will provide the results of audits, including the management responses, to Canada.
  4. 6.13.4 Ontario shall undertake the audit as described in section 6.13 within one (1) year of this Agreement taking effect, unless such an activity was completed within the previous three (3) years.

6.14 Canada shall consider Ontario’s nomination as evidence that Ontario has carried out its due diligence determining that the nominee will be of economic benefit to Ontario and has met the requirements of Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program.

6.15 Subject to section 5.2, above, 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 immigration levels plan, and to balancing multiple competing priorities, including as reflected in Ministerial Instructions issued under section 87.3 of the IRPA.

6.16 Canada will communicate the terms of this Agreement to offices involved in the processing of Provincial Nominee Program applications to ensure consistent application of all principles agreed upon at processing offices.

6.17 Upon receipt of an application for permanent residence, together with a Certificate of Nomination from Ontario, Canada will:

  1. 6.17.1 determine the eligibility of the nominee, pursuant to section 87 of the IRPR, as a member of the Provincial Nominee Class;
  2. 6.17.2 determine the admissibility of the nominee and his or her dependants with respect to legislative requirements; and
  3. 6.17.3 issue permanent resident visas to Provincial Nominees and accompanying dependants who meet all the requirements of the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program and the eligibility and admissibility requirements of the IRPA and the IRPR.

6.18 Should the visa/processing officer determine that an individual nominated by Ontario is likely to be refused a permanent resident visa based on the applicant’s inability to meet the criteria of the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program and the requirements of membership in the Provincial Nominee class specified by the IRPA, the IRPR, and this Agreement, Ontario will be notified as soon as possible, taking into consideration local operating environments, and Ontario will be consulted regarding the reasons for possible refusal. 

6.19 In cases mentioned in sections 6.18 and subject to section 6.20, below, Ontario may, within 60 days, seek clarification from the assessing office with respect to a nominee’s potential refusal by Canada.   

6.20 In all cases where Canada determines that a nominee does not meet the admissibility requirements of the IRPA, Canada will refuse the nominee without prior notice to Ontario. Canada will forward a copy of the refusal letter to Ontario. The refusal letter will include the reason(s) for which the nominee was refused.

6.21 Canada and Ontario are committed to working together to ensure the integrity of the Program.  As such, where Canada has refused a nominee on the basis of Misrepresentation under section 40 of the IRPA and Canada has provided Ontario with a complete record of its decision as set out in sections 6.20 and 8.5, Ontario shall examine the information provided by Canada, conduct its own review of the nominee’s application in accordance with its policies and procedures, and withdraw its nomination where it has confirmed that Misrepresentation has occurred.  For further clarity, Canada understands that any such determination by Ontario may be subject to a nominee’s right of formal review, which may stay the nomination’s withdrawal pending the formal review’s confirmation of Misrepresentation.

7.0 Admission as a Temporary Resident

7.1 Where an individual nominated by Ontario is employed or has received a job offer from an employer in that province, Canada may issue a work permit pursuant to the IRPR, if the work permit application includes a letter from Ontario that:

  1. 7.1.1 requests Canada to issue a work permit;
  2. 7.1.2 states that the nominated individual is urgently required by the employer before permanent resident processing is complete; and
  3. 7.1.3 determines that:
    1. in the case of employment or a job offer, that
      1. the job offer is genuine and will create economic 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.

7.2 Where Ontario is considering an application for nomination under the business category of the Provincial Nominee Program, and is of the opinion that the entry of a foreign national under that application to carry out business activity in the province is of significant benefit to Ontario, Canada may issue a temporary work permit to that foreign national pursuant to section 205(a) of the IRPR, if the work permit application includes a letter from Ontario that:

  1. 7.2.1 states that the foreign national is being considered for nomination for permanent residence based on their stated intention to conduct business activity in Ontario;
  2. 7.2.2 states that Ontario is of the opinion that it will significantly benefit from the planned business activity or work of the foreign national; and
  3. 7.2.3 requests Canada to issue a temporary work permit for a specific period, up to a maximum of two (2) years.

7.3 Ontario will be responsible for conducting due diligence to ensure the genuineness of the job offer and that the individual is urgently required by the employer, or, in the case of a business nominee, that the business plan is economically viable and that there are compelling reasons to authorize the business activities of the nominee prior to completion of permanent residence processing.

7.4 Notwithstanding section 7.1, above, the individual nominated by Ontario must meet all other requirements of the IRPA/ the IRPR, including admissibility, for the issuance of a work permit.

8.0 Program Integrity

8.1 Ontario is responsible for the detection and deterrence of Fraud or Misrepresentation in the administration of its Provincial Nominee Program.  To ensure the integrity of the Program, Ontario will conduct Quality Assurance exercises on a periodic basis and implement timely program changes as necessary.

8.2 Canada and Ontario will cooperate to ensure the integrity of the Provincial Nominee Program, including, but not limited to, activities such as:             

  1. 8.2.1 investigating potential program abuses to ensure the rigour and confidence of the immigration system;
  2. 8.2.2 sharing information, including Personal Information and intelligence, related to program abuses;
  3. 8.2.3 working collaboratively with other federal agencies, as required, to address issues related to admissibility, including anti-Fraud activities, criminality and public safety;
  4. 8.2.4 coordinating and streamlining investigations involving both jurisdictions; and
  5. 8.2.5 conducting and disseminating research, and identifying knowledge gaps related to Program Integrity and Quality Assurance mechanisms.

8.3 Canada and Ontario will continuously seek to improve Program Integrity by acting upon knowledge gained through periodic Program Integrity and Quality Assurance activities, with an emphasis on:

  1. 8.3.1 identifying and evaluating risk information to ensure appropriate measures are taken;
  2. 8.3.2 establishing measures to strategically and systematically mitigate risks;
  3. 8.3.3 improving policies and procedures by closing gaps and addressing vulnerabilities; and
  4. 8.3.4 targeted Program Integrity training.

8.4 Ontario will report instances of suspected or confirmed Fraud and/or Misrepresentation involving, but not limited to, applicants, employers, third party immigration representatives, and educational institutions to Canada without delay, subject to section 10 of this Agreement.

8.5 Where suspected or confirmed Fraud or Misrepresentation has been identified by either Party, Ontario will, upon request by Canada, provide case-specific information, including information relating to the administration of the Provincial Nominee Program, in order to make informed decisions about the disposition of these cases and in the furtherance of the integrity of the program.  Where suspected or confirmed Fraud or Misrepresentation has been identified by either Party, Canada will, upon request by Ontario, provide applicant-specific information and that of organizations and any other entities involved to assist Ontario in its assessment of applications for nomination.

8.6 Canada and Ontario will share information on current and planned activities that support Quality Assurance and Program Integrity and, upon request, share the results of these activities with the other.

9.0 Program Evaluation

9.1 Canada will conduct a national evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program on a five (5) year cycle in order to meet federal accountability and evaluation requirements.  The evaluation will include the relevant components of Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program determined by Canada as necessary for a national evaluation.  Ontario is committed to cooperate to this end.  Canada will be responsible for the costs of the national evaluation.    

9.2 Canada will consult with all jurisdictions, including Ontario, in the development of a national Provincial Nominee Program Performance Measurement Framework.  Ontario agrees to collect ongoing performance information related to the common indicators that have been agreed upon by all jurisdictions and that are included in the national Performance Measurement framework.  Ontario will report to Canada on an annual basis on these common indicators through Ontario’s Annual Provincial Nominee Program Report, referenced in section 5.3.2.

9.3 Canada will develop a national Provincial Nominee Program Evaluation Framework in consultation with all jurisdictions that have a Provincial Nominee Program, including Ontario.  The national Provincial Nominee Program Evaluation Framework will establish common definitions, performance indicators, and data collection methodologies for all jurisdictions, including Ontario. These may be adjusted from time to time.  These common components will ensure consistency and comparability within the evaluation process.

9.4 On a five (5) year schedule, Ontario will conduct rigorous evaluations of its Provincial Nominee Program that utilize both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and multiple lines of evidence.  The evaluations will examine the performance of the Program, including the extent to which desired outcomes are achieved, and incorporate data on common performance indicators collected as per the national Provincial Nominee Program Evaluation Framework and Ontario’s Annual Provincial Nominee Program Report as per Schedule A.  Ontario will provide a copy of these evaluations, which will include a description of methodologies used, to Canada upon completion.

9.5 In addition to the data reported annually under section 9.3, above, Ontario will ensure that the requisite national evaluation information as identified in section 9.2 is available.  Ontario will cooperate with Canada, to the extent permitted by law, including sharing relevant program information and data, and facilitating access to program staff and clients for the purpose of gathering additional information required for Canada’s national evaluation. 

9.6 Subject to applicable legislation and policies governing the disclosure of Personal Information, Canada and Ontario agree to share information on prospective and actual permanent resident admissions to aid in the evaluation and management of Ontario’s Provincial Nominee Program.

9.7 Ontario will continue to participate as a consortium member and contribute to the Longitudinal Immigrant Data Base (IMDB), which has established a mechanism to collect the data for, inter alia, the Provincial Nominee Program’s evaluation.

10.0 Information Exchange

10.1 Canada and Ontario will ensure that any exchange of information between them shall be conducted in accordance with all applicable federal, provincial/territorial legislation and in accordance with their respective policies relating to protection of privacy, access to information, security of records, and other possible agreements or arrangements, including:

10.1.1 The Privacy Act and all related supporting guidelines, policies, and directives on Privacy and Data Protection and the Government of Canada Security Policy and supporting operating directives and guidelines covering the administrative, technical, and physical safeguarding of Personal Information (the said supporting guidelines, policies and directives hereinafter referred to as the “Supporting Guidelines”), provided that Ontario is provided with prior written notice of such guidelines, policies, and directives and any changes made to them from time to time; or,

10.1.2 The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and all related guidelines, policies, and directives governing the administrative, technical, and physical safeguarding of Personal Information.
whichever shall apply.

10.2 In order to facilitate the exchange of information between Canada and Ontario, Ontario will obtain signed consent for each nominee and their spouse and/or dependent(s) child(ren), allowing Ontario and Canada to share information regarding the nominee’s application, including the processing thereof, and for the purposes of program monitoring, Quality Assurance, Program Integrity, and evaluation.

10.3 Ontario will provide monthly nomination reports to Canada.  These reports will include, but will not be limited to, information identifying each applicant (e.g., full name, date of birth, citizenship), nomination certificate (e.g., certificate number and expiry date), relevant stream (e.g., stream/category name and type), along with the applicant’s NOC code and language test results, where required.

10.4 Canada will provide monthly reports on the processing and permanent resident admissions of nominees destined to Ontario, as well as any other type of report provided to other provinces pursuant to a Provincial Nominee Agreement.

10.5 The Parties undertake to give one another notice of any change in procedure, policy, regulations or legislation relating to their respective programs or operations that is likely to affect the Provincial Nominee Program.

10.6 The Parties undertake to develop a comprehensive information sharing Memorandum of Understanding to support the information exchange requirements of this Agreement. 

11.0 Dispute Management and Resolution Procedures

11.1 In the case of a Dispute under this Agreement, Canada and Ontario agree to follow the Dispute Management and Resolution Procedures provided for in Appendix A – Dispute Management and Resolution Procedures.

11.2 Notwithstanding section 11.1, upon notification in writing, as per section 3.1 of Appendix A, that a Dispute exists regarding the interpretation or implementation of the IRPA, the IRPR, or this Agreement as they pertain to Provincial Nominees, including, but not limited to, Disputes concerning Ontario’s criteria to assess an individual’s ability to economically establish or where there is evidence of systemic Fraud or multiple instances of Fraud in the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program, Canada may, at any time during the Dispute Management and Resolution process, impose a Processing Pause on the application(s) under dispute until the Dispute is resolved.

11.2.1 Canada will provide written notification to Ontario of the date when the Processing Pause will start.

11.2.2 Canada will provide written notification to Ontario of the date when the Processing Pause will end.

12.0 General

12.1 The designated representatives for the purpose of communication and notification pursuant to this Agreement are:

  1. 12.1.1 For Canada, the Director, Economic Immigration Policy and Programs, Immigration Branch; and
  2. 12.1.2 For Ontario, the Director, the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program.

12.2 This Agreement will take effect when it is signed by both Parties.

12.3 This Agreement may be entered into by each Party signing a separate copy of this Agreement (including a photocopy, facsimile or electronic submission) and delivering it to the other Party, each of which when taken together, shall constitute an original Agreement.

12.4 This Agreement will remain in effect for five (5) years from the date it comes into force.

12.5 Upon the Parties’ mutual written consent, the terms and conditions of this Agreement can be extended at any time prior to its expiry, subject to any required approval or authorization, including the approval of the Governor in Council.

12.6 This Agreement may be amended at any time by the Parties’ mutual written consent, subject to any required approval or authorization, including the approval of the Governor in Council.

12.7 Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by providing at least twelve (12) months written notice.

13.0 Notices

13.1 Any notice to be delivered under this Agreement should be sent to the Party concerned as follows, as well as to the Parties’ Designated Representatives:

Address for notice to Canada
Deputy Minister
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

Address for notice to Ontario
Deputy Minister
Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade
6th Floor, 400 University Ave
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9

13.2 Either Party may from time to time change a Designated Representative by giving notice in accordance with this Agreement.

13.3 Any notice, information or document provided for under this Agreement may be delivered or sent by letter, electronic mail or facsimile, postage or other charges prepaid. Any notice that is delivered will be deemed to have been received on delivery; any notice sent by electronic mail or facsimile will be deemed to have been received one working day after having been sent; and any notice mailed will be deemed to have been received eight (8) calendar days after being mailed.

In witness whereof this Agreement has been signed by the Parties on the dates written below.

For the Government of Canada

Witness

Date

The Honourable Chris Alexander
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Date

For the Government of Ontario

Witness

Date

The Honourable Michael Chan
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration
and International Trade

Date

Schedule A – Annual Report

Part A: Objectives, Principles and Priorities

  • overview of Provincial Nominee Program, priorities and achievements

Part B: Results Achieved based on annual plan

  • all elements included in the federal-provincial-territorial Provincial Nominee Program Annual Report, as amended from time to time by Canada, in collaboration with provinces and territories, in the following areas:
    • Nominations Issued and provincial/territorial processing
      • Nomination certificates issued
      • Nominees who were Temporary Foreign Workers at time of nomination
      • Provincial/territorial processing: Applications received, Applications declined, Nominations issued, Nominations withdrawn, inventories, processing times
    • Landings, Retention and Economic Outcomes
      • Nominees admitted who have not reported to Province/Territory within 3 months of landing
      • Nominees Residing in Province/Territory
      • Outcomes of Business Nominees
    • Program Development, Promotion and Recruitment
      • Promotion and recruitment activities, including those targeting Francophone immigrants to Ontario
      • Francophone immigrants to Ontario: Nominees reporting French as mother tongue or first official language
    • Program Integrity
      • Refusals/withdrawals involving fraud or misrepresentation

Part C: Program Integrity

  • summary of Provincial Nominee Program program integrity activities including, but not limited to, anti-fraud and quality assurance exercises

Part D: Evaluation and Audit

  •  evaluation plans and/or results

Schedule B – Changes to Ontario Provincial Nominee Program

Part A: Introduction of a new stream or category

  1. Summary:
    1. Description of the proposed stream, including type of stream one of the 6 Global Case Management System categories.
    2. What is the expected timeframe for this change?
  2. Rationale:
    1. What are Ontario’s goals in creating this stream?
    2. Why is the introduction of this stream required/preferred, as opposed to the modification of an existing stream?
    3. What would be:
      1. The profile of the ideal candidate for this stream? Who is this stream’s target group?
      2. The projected volume of provincial/territorial applications under this stream?
      3. The projected number of nominations under this stream, and its share of overall nominations?
  3. Analysis:
    1. Criteria: Ontario to submit a table/chart listing the proposed criteria for the stream, the rationale for each criterion, and how each requirement will be verified. A template for this chart will be provided by Canada. Ontario will also provide any rating guide or points grid used to evaluate the criteria established.
    2. Process: in some cases, Canada may request that Ontario submit a process map outlining the application process, including documents required at each step, what assessment and verifications will be done at each stage, and identifying decision-makers. Where needed, a template for this process map will be provided by Canada.

Part B: Modification or amendment of the eligibility criteria of an existing stream or category

  1. Summary:
    1. Description of the proposed changes to the stream criteria and/or application process
    2. What is the expected timeframe for this change?
  2. Rationale:
    1. What does Ontario aim to achieve by making these changes?
    2. What impact (if any) does Ontario anticipate that these changes will have on:
      1. The projected volume of provincial/territorial applications?
      2. The number of nominations issued under this stream and/or the importance of this stream within overall nominations?
      3. The provincial/territorial application process?
  3. Analysis: Ontario to submit a table/chart listing the current stream criteria, the proposed changes to stream criteria, and the rationale for each change. A template for this chart will be provided by Canada. Ontario will also provide any rating guide or points grid used to evaluate the criteria established.

Part C: Closing/suspension of a current stream or category

  1. Summary:
    1. Which stream is Ontario planning to close/suspend?
    2. What is the effective date of this change?
  2. Rationale:
    1. Why has Ontario decided to eliminate/suspend this stream?
    2. Does Ontario plan to replace this stream/category, or to refer this applicant population to a different stream within the current program?
    3. What impact (if any) does Ontario anticipate that this stream closure/suspension will have on:
      1. Overall nomination numbers?
      2. The distribution of nominations among the remaining streams?
  3. Processing:
    1. Is there a current inventory of applications under this stream? If so, how large?
    2. What are the timeframes for clearing the inventory of applications under this stream?

APPENDIX A – Dispute Management and Resolution Procedures

 Preamble

Canada and Ontario are committed to working together to implement the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Provincial Nominees.  Under this partnership, both Parties contribute with their respective policies, programs, capacity, and expertise and recognize and respect each other’s different roles and responsibilities under the Agreement.

1.0 Application

1.1 This Appendix applies to the prevention and resolution of disputes between the Parties regarding the interpretation or implementation of the IRPA, the IRPR, or this Agreement as they apply to Provincial Nominees.

1.2 This Dispute Management and Resolution process shall not in any way limit the final authority of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration respecting decisions to interpret and administer the IRPA and the IRPR. 

2.0 Dispute Prevention

2.1 The Parties agree to work together and make every reasonable effort to prevent and avoid disputes arising under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Provincial Nominees, through the following activities:

  1. Designated Representatives:
    The Parties agree to establish designated representatives to discuss and resolve matters relating to the implementation of the IRPA, the IRPR, or this Agreement as they apply to Provincial Nominees.  The purpose of these contacts is to ensure that necessary communication occurs in respect of any planned or proposed new initiative and for the furtherance of activities under the Agreement.

3.0 Initiation of Dispute Management and Resolution Process

3.1 Dispute as defined in section 2.0 of this Agreement is said to begin when one Party informs the other in writing that there is a conflict or disagreement between the Parties which needs to be resolved. Mutual agreement that a dispute exists is not required.

4.0 Officials’ Dispute Management through Informal Discussions

4.1 In the case of a Dispute under this Agreement, the respective officials from Canada and Ontario will attempt to resolve the matter through information sharing, communications, and informal discussions.

4.2 If the Parties are unable to resolve the Dispute within 30 days of its initiation, as set out  in section 3.1 above, through information sharing and communications, either Party may initiate the Dispute Management and Resolution process through meetings of the Designated Representatives described in section 12.1 of the Agreement.

5.0 Director General/ Sub-Committee Dispute Management and Resolution Process

5.1 Either Party may refer the matter to the Director(s) General/Sub-Committee responsible by providing a written notice. 

5.2 If the Director(s) General responsible are unable to resolve the Dispute within 30 days from the date of its referral to the Director(s) General, either Party may request that the Dispute be referred to Assistant Deputy Ministers.

6.0 Assistant Deputy Ministers/Committee Dispute Management and Resolution Process

6.1 Either Party may refer the matter to the Assistant Deputy Minister Dispute Management and Resolution process by providing written notice.  Officials are responsible for gathering all appropriate information for consideration by the Assistant Deputy Ministers.

6.2  Both Parties will exchange all relevant information and engage in bilateral discussions at least twice in an attempt to clarify and resolve the Dispute. Assistant Deputy Ministers will provide equal opportunities for representation by each Party, and attempt to resolve Disputes within 30 days and ensure clarity for the implementation of final decisions. Should the Dispute be resolved, Assistant Deputy Ministers will draft a short report identifying the issues that have been resolved and specific actions and timelines required to implement the resolution.

6.3 If Assistant Deputy Ministers are unable to resolve the Dispute within 30 days from the date of its referral to them, either Party may request that the Dispute be referred to their respective Deputy Ministers.

7.0 Deputy Ministers Dispute Management and Resolution Process

7.1 Either Party may refer the matter to the Deputy Ministers Dispute Management and Resolution process by providing written notice.

7.2 Both Parties will exchange all relevant information and engage in bilateral discussions at least twice in an attempt to resolve the Dispute. Deputy Ministers will provide equal opportunities for representation by each Party, attempt to resolve Disputes within 30 days, and ensure clarity for the implementation of final decisions.  Should the Dispute be resolved, Deputy Ministers will draft a short report identifying the issues that have been resolved and specific actions and timelines required to implement the resolution.

7.3 If Deputy Ministers are unable to resolve the Dispute within 30 days from the date of its referral to them, they would determine the appropriate course of action for its resolution, including elevating the Dispute to Ministers.

7.4 Ministers will provide advice and direction to their officials on an appropriate course of action to resolve the Dispute.

Date Modified: