Substituted evaluation (start-up business class)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Some of these instructions are not applicable for applications received on or before March 31, 2018. Specific criteria on which the officer cannot refuse the application have been indicated with a footnote.

On a case-by-case basis, if an officer believes that the requirements set out in subsection 98.01(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations are not sufficient indicators of whether or not the applicant will become economically established in Canada, an officer may substitute the requirements with their evaluation.

However, a substitute evaluation must not be conducted for an applicant who did not have a commitment from a designated entity when their application was received.

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Substituted evaluation

If an officer does not consider substituted evaluation appropriate, they should clearly indicate this in the file notes and in the formal refusal letter, along with a brief summary of the reasons for refusing to consider substituted evaluation.

Whether substituted evaluation authority is exercised will depend on the merits of each individual case. Officers should use the terms used in the legislation, such as “substituted evaluation” or “ability to become economically established in Canada.”

If an officer decides to use negative substituted evaluation when the applicant meets all the requirements of the class, the officer must do all of the following:

  • communicate their concerns in writing and provide sufficient opportunity for the applicant to respond to those concerns through correspondence/documentation
  • thoroughly assess the applicant’s response
  • obtain written concurrence from a designated officer
  • provide reasons for the use of negative substituted evaluation in the formal refusal letter and input these into Global Case Management System (GCMS) notes

If an officer decides to use positive substituted evaluation when the applicant does not meet one or more of the requirements of the class, the officer must do both of the following:

  • obtain written concurrence from a second designated officer
  • note the decision in GCMS, providing reasons for the use of positive substituted evaluation

The de-designation of an entity

In order to be considered a member of the start-up business class, an applicant must have obtained a commitment from a designated entity.

If the designated entity becomes de-designated before the application is received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

  • The officer may not substitute their evaluation as the applicant would not have had a valid commitment at the time of application.

If the designated entity becomes de-designated after the application was received by IRCC and the application included a valid commitment:

  • The officer may substitute their evaluation.Footnote 1 

Note: The officer may use positive substituted evaluation if the applicant had a valid commitment at the time of application, despite the commitment being no longer valid due to the de-designation of the entity.

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