OTTAWA (AP) _ Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, starting a five-day visit to Canada, was greeted by protesters demonstrating against his communist regime's human rights record.

As Ceausescu's motorcade swept onto the grounds of Ontario province Gov. Gen. Jeanne Sauve's residence Sunday, about 70 Romanian-Canadians chanted slogans calling the Romanian leader a criminal and waved placards comparing him with Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Sunday was the first day of Ceausescu's visit to discuss trade and political issues.

Hungarian-Canadians have been circulating letters of protest against the treatment of the Hungarian minority in Romania, and leaders of Sunday's demonstration said they planned candlelight vigils and other actions to protest Ceausescu's visit.

Dan Calinesau of the Romanian National Council said the protesters represented 13 Romanian religious and cultural organizations.

Security was tight as Ceausescu arrived at Canadian Forces Base Uplands earlier, where he was greeted by Sauve and full military honors.

Sauve said Canadians were ''particularly honored'' to receive Ceausescu and recognize his role in attempts to ease international tensions between the East and West. Ceausescu said Romania seeks closer trade ties with Canada and wants to promote the success of superpower nuclear arms control talks in Geneva between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Many Romanians who have fled their country and people from neighboring countries such as Hungary maintain that Ceausescu's government has put as many as one million Romanians in prison camps. Romania's population is 20 million.

They also claim Ceausescu has packed the Romanian government with his family members.

His wife Elena, who is first deputy prime minister, and Foreign Minister Stefan Andrei are accompanying Ceausescu.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appears eager to seek more business with Romania - particularly for possible sales of nuclear reactors to boost Canada's sagging nuclear industry.