Self-employment as an opportunity

By: Elie Ngoy

Published on: August 23, 2022

An ageing population and declining fertility rates in Canada mean newcomers are critical to economic development and growth. However, despite this predicament, many newcomers cannot use the same skills that may have been a ticket to their arrival in Canada.

Photo: Mike Petrucci (Unsplash)

Newcomers have played a significant role in where Canada is today. The contributions of newcomers have significantly strengthened our labour force, allowing us to integrate new life into our economy as our population ages. Canada has also introduced pioneering programs such as the “Express Entry program, ” which has allowed Canada to recruit computer programmers, accountants, lawyers, software engineers, and other top professionals. All newcomers will become tax-paying citizens, valuable contributors, and skilled assets. Not solely have newcomers been a great asset to our economy, but Immigrants have also played significant roles within our communities. One-third of Immigrants in Canada have volunteered, and over two-thirds are part of social organizations.

Newcomers also played a massive role during the COVID-19 pandemic. They worked as front-line workers that kept Canadians fed throughout the country, were local nurses and healthcare aids at health facilities in our cities, and worked in farms and factories that kept our economy running. Through their efforts, domestic and international trade was possible, and province-to province labour sharing was achievable, which fixed logistical issues in our trucking industry. They often worked in jobs that no one else wanted.

Immigrants generally have higher levels of education when arriving in Canada, but they are highly underrepresented regarding formal employment and pay. One strong example is foreign-trained medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, who often face complicated systemic barriers to being able to practice here.

Many newcomers are turning to entrepreneurship and self-employment to deal with the employment and income gap. For many, this is out of necessity due to a significant shortage of suitable labor opportunities within the market.

Canada has taken steps within the last few years to make self-employment accessibility more straightforward for those who want to move to Canada as self-employed individuals or possibly start businesses while settling inCanada as newcomers.

The Self-employed Persons Program allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as self-employed persons. There are some requirements to the program that may not make it suitable for all, but for the individuals that do qualify, here are the requirements:

While this is a great option, the selection criteria might not work in everyone’s favor; this means that many will be left out and won’t be able to participate—creating another loophole for newcomers who already have enough barriers toleap through. This criterion includes: 

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Age
  • Language abilities
  • Adaptability

You must also show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you get to Canada, which is mandatory. has a self-employment pathway for Newcomers. It is an innovative three-phase program currently being delivered online. The program will allow newcomers to learn about starting a new business in Canada and provide access to resources for them.

The program will take you through the legalities of starting a new business, forming a structure, and registering. It also teaches newcomers about taxation and accessing small business financing.

The program also assists you in assessing your business concept, market opportunity, and where to obtain a local mentorship program.

To be eligible for this program, you must meet one of the requirements:

  • Permanent residency or a pending application for permanent residence with a letter from the IRCC informing them their application for landing has been approved
  • Convention refugees
  • Live-in caregivers
  • CLB Level 5 minimum

Canada is a country of many opportunities and great wealth, and everyone has an excellent chance to succeed and live the Canadian dream.

These are just some of the many options for newcomers interested in self-employment!

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