September 8, 2020-The Province of Ontario released a press release detailing the planned changes to its own immigrant selection program: OINP (Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program). The aim is to increase OINP’s ability to respond to labor market requirements, to manage the growing interest in OINP in order to create greater predictability for applicants and employers, and to make the selection of the most suitable candidates more rigorous.

The proposed changes will introduce an Expression of Interest (EOI) system for the following streams:

Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker;

Employer Job Offer: International Student;

Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills;

Masters Graduate; and

Ph.D. Graduate.

The press release includes preliminary information on how its new EOI procedure (similar to the federal Express Entry system) will make the selection. As a first step, applicants will be invited to create a candidate profile, which will place them in a pool of candidates. Applicants will then be asked to provide personal information about other factors that may influence the labor market and what the press release calls “human capital”, which will form the basis of a possible invitation to submit the actual file (ITA from Invitation to Apply).

According to the proposal submitted by Ontario, applicants will be ranked based on the information provided in the EOI, assigned a score for each factor taken into account, and the total will determine the final selection, depending on the bar set by OINP for each draw in part, as in the federal system. Those who receive an ITA will then be able to apply to be nominated in the respective OINP stream.
As is well known, the federal Express Entry system launches regular rounds of invitations, usually every two weeks; in 2020 it has so far invited 69,950 candidates to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

As in Ontario, eligible candidates from the three immigration programs managed by Express Entry (Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades and Canadian Experience Class) are calculated on a Comprehensive Ranking System that allocate points for factors such as age, education, professional experience and level of proficiency in English and / or French. For the time being, Ontario has not provided details on the factors taken into account and how the score will be counted in each of the streams listed above, other than to say that the allocation of points will be based on various factors, such as level of education and language.

The communiqué also states that there will be both general draws (in which candidates from all streams participate together) and some targeted draws for each stream; all of them will be displayed on the OINP website.

We note that in the past, some of the five OINP streams have been affected by problems in the manner of receiving applications. Most recently (in July and August 2020), the first two streams based on the employer’s job offer for international students and skilled foreign workers, were open for enrollment for only a few minutes, until the number of places allocated for each (1250 for students and 1300 for skilled workers) was completed, after which they were closed again; usually these streams only open twice a year.

This “first come, first served” approach has drawn a lot of criticism because it puts those who do not have easy access to high speed internet at a disadvantage, not to mention the fact that those who manage to win are not necessarily the most deserving.

All proposed amendments will enter into force only after a 45-day public consultation period ending on 23 October 2020. Interested parties may send their suggestions by email to ontarionominee@ontario.ca indicating “Regulatory Amendments 422/17 and 421 / 17 ” in subject line)