Northwest Territories Business Stream
About the Program

The Northwest Territories Business Stream welcomes business people with the resources and drive to establish, buy, or invest in a business in the Northwest Territories.

Successful applicants to the Northwest Territories Business Stream obtain support from the territory to apply to the Canadian government for a two-year work permit, so that they can start running their business in the territory. After successfully operating a business for 19 months, candidates may obtain a nomination and apply to the federal government for permanent resident status for themselves, and any dependents.

Eligibility requirements for the Northwest Territories Business Stream

In order to be eligible, candidates must:

  • • Invest at least $300,000 CAD in starting or buying a business in Yellowknife, or $150,000 CAD if outside Yellowknife.
  • • Have a personal net worth of at least $500,000 CAD if starting or buying a business in Yellowknife, or at least $250,000 CAD if outside Yellowknife. Net worth must be verified by a Financial Services Provider.
  • • Demonstrate ownership of at least one-third (33.3%) of the proposed business (if the investment is over $1mn CAD the ownership share can be lower).
  • • Demonstrate (through valid results from an approved test) a minimum level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in English or French – test results must be no older than six months at the time of application.
  • • Submit a good faith deposit of $75,000 CAD to the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment – this is held in trust and released after the satisfactory execution of the Business Performance Agreement (see below in step 6).
  • • Demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the Northwest Territories and its economy.
  • • Have the necessary experience and education to execute the business plan.
  • • Possess sufficient financial resources to start and operate a business, and support themselves and any dependents.
  • • Not have an active application with any other provincial or territorial nominee program, or with any other stream
Applying through the Northwest Territories Business Stream involves an eight-step process.

1. Self-Assessment and Initial Investigations – in the early stages of the process, candidates review the eligibility criteria and develop a business plan.

2. Further Investigations and Face-to-Face Interview(s) – Before an application is submitted, a prospective applicant must make at least one trip to the Northwest Territories to explore the business environment of the territory, and research what it takes to run a business there. The trip must include at least four full business days (not including travel days or civic holidays) to the site of the proposed business.

3. Initiating the Application Process and Pre-Screening – also known as the Expression of Interest, this is the point when prospective applicants can submit an initial application.

4. Formal Application – Once a candidate receives an invitation to apply, he or she can submit a formal application by mail, in person, or by email, including required forms, a financial verification, and a detailed business plan. The application must be submitted within six months of receiving the invitation to apply. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and all documents must be submitted at once.

5. Application Review – NTNP staff review the application and obtain a third-party identity verification report. Further information, documents, or even an interview may be required. Once the candidate and business plan have been fully assessed for their potential to create jobs, contribute to the economy, and remain sustainable (further elements contribute to the assessment as well), the NTNP makes a recommendation to either accept or deny the application. The final decision is made by the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment, and the candidate is informed.

6. Approval and the Business Performance Agreement – the Business Performance Agreement is a key document that forms the basis of the candidate’s progression to permanent resident status. Developed in collaboration between the candidate and the NTNP, this agreement is based on the business plan and outlines how the candidate will operate the business. Upon signing, a candidate must submit a $75,000 deposit and another form. The NTNP then issues a letter of support for a two-year work permit, so the candidate can apply to the Canadian government for a temporary work permit (the NTNP notes that this is no guarantee a work permit application will be approved).

7. Developing the Business – Once the temporary work permit is approved and signed, the candidate has 60 days to submit a further form and documents. After submission, he or she has a further six months to start the business and make the investment outlined in the Business Performance agreement.

8. Nomination – Once the applicant is accepted and the business plan is implemented, the NTNP will issue a nomination certificate and the applicant, and any dependents, can apply for Canadian permanent resident status.

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