The Complete Guide for Ontario Business Grants from the Government of Canada
Did you know that the Government of Canada gives out billions of dollars in business grants every year?
This is not including the many tax credits, loan programs, in-kind support, and wage subsidies that are provided by the federal government.
We have put this list together that shows the organizations, ministries, and groups on the federal level that are willing to help you if you have a for-profit business in Ontario.
New Government of Canada Business Incentives for 2021
Producers who are experiencing a large decline in income from their farming business that was caused by increased costs, a loss in production, or market conditions can receive protection from this program when the net farming income drops below 70% of the recent average. The allowable expenses and income for all of the commodities that you produce are used in order to calculate your margins which will protect the income of your whole farm.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Provincial and Territorial Governments – AgriRecovery
The AgriRecovery provides targeted disaster-specific programming when help is needed beyond the already existing programs such as AgriInsurance, AgriStability, and AgriInvest. This is more of a framework than a program, it forms the basis by which provincial, federal, and territorial governments will work together to determine the impacts of disasters on agricultural producers and respond with initiatives when there is a need for help beyond what is already available from existing programs.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) – AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) – Administrative Capacity Building (ACB) Stream
The ARI is a five-year program that supports the development of new tools for risk management. The ACB stream of the program provides financing to be used to implement and test new financial tools that can be used by agricultural producers to manage defined business risk, including responding to livestock and crop diseases, protection from severe market price changes, protection against the loss of contracts in a new market, and more.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) – Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program
The costs associated with the mandatory isolation period can be offset by this program by providing a maximum non-repayable contribution amount for each temporary foreign worker. The mandatory 14 day isolation period refers to the quarantine period that is imposed on people arriving in Canada from abroad.
EDC-BDC International Purchase Order Financing Partnership
To support the growth of businesses, the EDC and BDC have collaborated to provide businesses with capital that is vital to maximizing international market opportunities. The funding can cover up to 90% of the number of purchase orders.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Mid-Market Financing Program
This program provides loans for medium-sized businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the recent decline in the price of oil and gas. This program is for any industry or sector and the business needs to have annual revenue between $100 million to $500 million.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Co-Lending Program
Canadian businesses can receive a loan from this program if they have been indirectly or directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for their operational cash flow needs. The funds are co-financed between the BDC and the primary financial institution of the applicant.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)
Businesses that have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can access guaranteed, low-interest loans through the HASCAP to cover the needs of operational cash flow. The funding will take the form of a loan and entrepreneurs can apply for each legal entity that they own.
Department of National Defence Innovation for Defense Excellence and Security (IDEaS)
The IDEaS program was made to address the current and future challenges that are being faced by the Canadian Armed Forces. It provides creative thinkers with the support and structure to encourage solutions that will assist in solving some of the toughest security and defence challenges in Canada.
Champions for Canadian Women in Trade – Export Development Canada (EDC)
Canadian women entrepreneurs can receive funding through this program in the form of equity capital through both direct investment and investment in Canadian venture capital funds. The support is intended to increase business development through export.
Direct Lending – Export Development Canada (EDC)
If your business needs help to expand in international markets, whether your business is small or large, this program will offer direct financing to your business or your foreign affiliate through a secured loan. The loan can be used to support your plans for expansion, including the financing for facilities, equipment, or the expansion or the establishment of a foreign affiliate.
Export Development Canada (EDC) – EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Guarantee
The BCAP Guarantee provides support to companies in Canada, no matter whether they sell within Canada or internationally to improve their cash flow to cover the costs for operating. These businesses can get the needed cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic by working with the EDC or their financial institution.
Structured and Project Finance – Export Development Canada (EDC)
The EDC provides funding through this program for companies with activities for exporting outside of Canada and large-scale global projects in the power, extractive, utilities, industrial, or infrastructure sectors. It is designed specifically for a limited recourse financing of capital, long-term intensive projects.
FedDev Ontario – Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
This program is a lifeline for business and organizations liquidity that has been impacted by the disruption to the economy associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in nearly every sector. The aim is to address the gaps in or supplement other federal measures for relief, as well as complement the programs that are already provided by the other levels of government.
FedNor – Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – Regional Economy Stream in Northern Ontario
Just like the program that we have previously discussed above, this program supports businesses and eligible not-for-profit organizations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic disruption that has been the result of it across the regions of Canada.
Regional Innovation Ecosystems stream – Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation (REGI) Program – FedNor
The aim of this program is to create, grow, and develop inclusive and strong regional ecosystems that will support business innovation and growth, as well as the entrepreneurial environment that is necessary in order to build more innovative regional economies and increase the competitiveness of small or medium-sized businesses.
The National Research Council of Canada – Challenge Programs
The NRC has partnered with public and private sector, academic, and other research organizations internationally and in Canada through the Challenge Program to advance high-risk, high-reward, and transformative research that addresses priorities in Canada. These research and development programs bring together facilities and researchers from across the 14 research centres from the NRC, with academic and industrial partners.
The National Research Council of Canada – Supercluster Support Programs
Programs have been developed by the NRC to support the superclusters and foster strong collaboration with innovators in both academia and industry. These collaborations with external research organizations will be supported through contribution and grant funding. Research organizations in particular small and medium-sized businesses and academic researchers.
The National Research Council of Canada – Ideation Fund
Forward thinkers who are working at the leading edge of technology and research can be recruited by the NRC to set a new standard for innovation. This fund enables NRC researchers to explore transformative research ideas along with external partners such as small and medium-sized businesses and academic institutions.
National Research Council – EUREKA Clusters
This program is an international network for market-driven industrial research and development that includes over 45 economies. Canadian innovators can have a new advantage through this program in accessing expertise, technology, and markets from around the world. EUREKA brings together small and medium-sized businesses, large businesses, universities, research centres, and other innovators from the EUREKA network with the goal of increasing competitiveness in world markets.
EUREKA Eurostars Programme – National Research Council
This is a support and funding programme that is specifically dedicated to the research and development performing small and medium-sized businesses. It stimulates these organizations to lead international collaborative research and innovation projects by making access to funding and support easier.
EUREKA Network Project – National Research Council
This flexible funding programme was designed for international research and development projects. This programme eases the collaboration between EUREKA countries that are offering entrepreneurs the freedom to design a project proposal and build their consortium. It accelerates access to public funding with limited criteria and minimal paperwork.
The National Research Council of Canada – EUREKA Globalstars
This programme encourages the exploration of new markets through international research and development with calls for projects with countries that are outside of the EUREKA network. Anyone that applies can receive the benefits from collaborating with other organizations that are working in a range of emerging and leading markets.
Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada – Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) – Onshore Program
This program features a repayable and partially repayable contribution with flexible five-year payback period options for projects that are aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as partially repayable contributions for projects that are aimed at eliminating emissions completely. The funds take the form of repayable contributions that are similar to an interest-free loan.
Indigenous Forestry Initiative – Natural Resources Canada
This initiative provides funding to support Indigenous-led economic development in the Canadian forestry sector. The funding aims to increase the participation of Indigenous forestry-related business, opportunities, governance, and careers.
Environmental Careers Organization of Canada – Youth Employment in Natural Resources Science & Technology Internship Program
Funding can be provided through this program for jobs that need environmental knowledge and skills in order to produce services or goods with benefits to the environment within the forestry, energy, minerals/metals, and earth sciences sectors.
College and Community Innovation Program – Engage Grants – NSERC
The Engage Grants are designed to give innovative companies operating from their base in Canada access to the expertise, knowledge, and capabilities available from the colleges in Canada. The grants are made to foster the development of new partnerships in research by supporting short-term research and development projects that are aimed to address a problem that is specific to the company.
College and Community Innovation Program – Engage Plus Grants – NSERC
Projects that have an ongoing or recently completed an Engage Grant project, or a project that is looking to seek longer-term support to continue, the Engage Plus Grants are meant to further their development for an additional six months. The project must include the same college and industrial partner.
College and Community Innovation Program – Entry-Level Innovation Enhancement Grants
This program stimulates applied research that brings together the necessary expertise from diverse fields such as social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences to address opportunities and challenges that are business-driven. The object of the grant is to increase innovation at the regional and/or community level by enabling colleges in Canada to increase their capacity to work with companies in their local community, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
College and Community Innovation Program – Build and Extend Innovation Enhancement Grants
Colleges can apply for a Build Innovation Enhancement Grant in the same applied research area as an awarded Entry-level Innovation Enhancement Grant that was previously received. The same colleges that have been awarded a Build grant, should have increased their applied research capacities and developed the necessary strong partnerships to sustain parts of their applied research activities through other grant opportunities such as the Extend Innovation Enhancement grant.
College and Community Innovation Program – Innovation Links Grants – NSERC
Working collaborations with the business sector and colleges and universities can receive support to realize successful commercialization. It is intended to support the participation of colleges and universities in the extension or improvement of existing company technology or commercial processes, products, and/or services.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – College and Community Innovation Program – College and Community Innovation Fund (CCSIF)
The grants from CCSIF support well-focused and defined community innovation projects that are undertaken by college researchers with their partners from the private, public, or non-profit sectors. Projects that range from one to three years can receive funding and direct project costs are shared by the funding agency and the partner(s).
Idea to Innovation Grants NSERC
The objective of this grant is to accelerate the pre-competitive development of promising tech that has been originating from the college and university sector and promote the transfer of this tech to a new or established company in Canada. The grant provides funding to university and college faculty members to support the research and development projects with recognized tech transfer potential.
NSERC Alliance Grant
These grants encourage researchers in universities to collaborate with partner organizations, which can be from the public, private, or non-profit sectors. They support research projects that are led by complementary, strong, collaborative teams that will generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canada.
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) – Supercluster – Projects
The program connects technology companies and manufacturers to accelerate the adoption, development, and scale-up of transformative capabilities in manufacturing in Canada. The aim of the Supercluster is to strengthen the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in Canada, drive more investment and innovation in advanced manufacturing tech in Canada, generate new commercial opportunities for companies in Canada within the global market, grow more large-scale world-leading enterprises in Canada, and develop an inclusive and modern workforce with the skills to excel in advanced manufacturing.
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) – Supercluster – Cluster Building Under Capacity Building Projects
Funding from this program is intended to facilitate broader collaboration and cooperation among small and medium-sized businesses and supporting organizations to accelerate the scale-up, implementation, and commercialization of advanced tech for manufacturing in Canada.
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) – Supercluster – Feasibility Studies Under Capacity Building Projects
Small and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to use this funding to de-risk their business planning, advanced manufacturing, and technology implementation strategies. Although commitment to follow-on work is not a prerequisite of funding, companies are encouraged to use the program to address gaps and risks in key knowledge and to enable them to secure additional funding from NGen for larger-scale tech implementation projects.
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) – Supercluster – Pilot Projects Under Capacity Building Projects
Pilot Projects funding has been designed to support the activities that are being undertaken by small and medium-sized businesses to prove out and de-risk technology implementation projects in advanced manufacturing. These projects must demonstrate a strategic potential – leading to the development of transformative capabilities for participating small and medium businesses, extensive engagement with these businesses, short-term commercial benefits, and the development of testbeds, tools, IP, training, and supporting services for project participants and other small and medium-sized businesses in the ecosystem.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) – Clean Tech Fund
Promising clean technology development and demonstration projects that are scale-ups or start-ups can receive funding from the SDTC. For example, when the tech itself is past the proof-of-concept but is before commercialization. The tech must demonstrate the potential for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption reduction, and/or the reduction of soil, water, or air contamination.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) – Seed Fund
This fund supports promising early-stage entrepreneurs in Canada with a grant for innovative technological projects that have benefits to the environment. The SDTC has partnered with a select group of approved accelerators in Canada and other entrepreneurial service organizations across the country to identify the entrepreneurs who will be the next leaders in tomorrow’s cleantech sector.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food provides incentives to for-profit businesses that are within the agriculture and food processing sectors such as:
Advanced Payments Program
The APP is a loan guarantee from the federal government that provides easy access to low-interest cash advances to agricultural producers. The amount is based on up to 50% of the anticipated value of the producer’s agricultural product.
This program provides targeted support to businesses to help implement third-party assurance certification projects that address requirements for international markets, this will then help expand export opportunities for agricultural and agri-food products in Canada.
Agricultural Clean Technology Program
Non-repayable funding can be provided for the research and development of cleantech in the agricultural and agri-food industries, including areas that are related to greenhouse gas emission reduction.
This program provides repayable contributions for projects that are aimed to accelerate the commercialization, demonstration, and/or adoption of innovative technologies, products, services, or processes that can increase the sustainability and competitiveness of the agri-sector.
This is a savings account that provides contributions from the federal government that will match your deposits to your AgriInvest account. The government matches up to 1% of your allowable net agri-food and agriculture sector sales.
AgriScience Projects Program
This component of the AgriScience program is aimed to support the specific shorter-term research activities by providing support and funding for science activities that are in the pre-commercial stage that benefit the agri-food and agriculture sector and Canadians. The goal is to help the industry to overcome challenges and address the financial barriers that are experienced by emerging and small sectors.
Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program
This loan guarantee program was designed to increase the availability of loans to agricultural co-operatives and farmers. Co-operatives can access loans to process, market, or distribute the products from farming, while farmers can use the loans to improve, establish, and develop their farms.
Dairy Direct Payment Program
Dairy producers can receive full and fair compensation as a result of market access commitments made under the recent international trade agreements.
Dairy Processing Investment Fund
This fund helps dairy processors with a non-repayable contribution to support capital investment in equipment and infrastructure, improving manufacturing processes and technologies, or the introduction of improved or new products, modernization and/or expansion of Canadian dairy processing establishments, construction, and the engagement of external consultants/expertise that is related to the certification, implementation, or validation of plant improvements.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
Multiple programs are provided by the BDC that are aimed to help businesses get the needed funding for their start-up costs, projects, and growth. Some of these programs for businesses include:
BDC Xpansion Loan
Projects for expanding your business, including new tech costs, market expansion, and hiring and training new employees can receive funding through this program.
BDC Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan
Indigenous entrepreneurs can receive help to finance their businesses to finance franchise fees, acquire fixed assets, start exporting, cover start-up costs, or replenish working capital.
Women in Technology Venture Fund
This is one of the largest venture capital funds in the world that is dedicated to investing in technology companies that are led by women and help build a robust ecosystem to support women in tech today and in the future.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
First Nations communities can receive a variety of no-interest loans, funding grants, and low-interest loans for maintaining, developing, and repairing affordable housing. These opportunities for funding have been made available to nonprofits, local authorities, and for-profit businesses.
Canadian Dairy Commission
The Canadian Dairy Commission, through its Matching Investment Fund, provides contributions that are non-repayable to companies that develop products and initiatives to stimulate the demand for dairy ingredients and products in Canada. Eligible companies include finished food product manufacturers, dairy processors, and food technology centres.
Canadian International Innovation Program
This funding program was designed to support and develop collaborative industrial research and development projects with a high potential for commercialization between Canadian businesses and partner countries. The CIIP is a seed fund that aims to stimulate networking activities that will further new partnerships.
Department of National Defence
The Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program is made for business owners of all sizes who are employing reservists that have been called up to duty. The program gives businesses an opportunity to receive lump-sum payments for the hiring and training of replacement workers, increasing overtime for existing employees, or a loss of revenue.
Export Development Canada
Export Guarantee Program
The EDC shares the risk with your bank by providing a guarantee on the money your business borrows through this program, this will increase access to working capital to grow in foreign markets. This financing can be used to purchase new equipment, expand sales investments, or move inventory closer to your foreign buyers.
Buyer Financing Program
This program helps businesses to gain a competitive edge by providing Buyer Financing to their customers internationally and taking on the risk of non-payment from them. The payment to you is usually triggered when the EDC receives a buyer-approved invoice and then holds responsibility for collecting payment from the buyer and administering the loan. This results in flexible finance tools which will allow foreign customers to be able to potentially make purchases that are larger than with an up-front cash payment alone.
FedDev invests in projects that drive innovation and growth in Southern Ontario by using federal funding. Some of the programs from FedDev includes:
Business Scale-Up and Productivity Program
The BSP stream helps accelerate the growth of businesses and helps with the adoption of innovative, new technologies that support the productivity, scale-up, and development of and entry into new markets to help businesses become competitive around the world.
Community Economic Development and Diversification Program
This stream aims to diversify, develop, and transform Southern Ontario’s rural economies by promoting small business development, strategic collaborations, and community innovation. The funding can be used to help with attracting new business and investing in employment opportunities.
Women Entrepreneurship Fund
Women-owned businesses can receive grants to help expand and pursue international market opportunities. Funding can also be used for any additional activities that will support the objectives of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.
FedNor operates a number of financial programs that are designed to assist businesses in Northern Ontario, these programs include:
Business Scale-Up and Productivity Stream
Much like the BSP program from FedDev, this program from FedNor helps businesses grow and assists with the adaptation and adoption of innovative, new technologies that will support the productivity, scale-up, development of and entry into new markets to help the businesses in Northern Ontario to compete in both global and domestic markets.
Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario Program
Through the Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program, repayable assistance can be given to Northern Ontario manufacturers in order to upgrade and improve their capital equipment that is being used in their manufacturing process, this includes information and communications tech, to improve their productivity and competitiveness.
Youth Internship Programs
FedNor will provide funding for small and medium-sized businesses that are participating in youth internship programs to cover a portion of employee benefits expenses, salaries, and professional skills development for up to 12 months.
Businesses are eligible to receive funding opportunities and equity investments through FinDev. Canadian businesses that have operations in developing countries and are providing sustainable economic and social benefits to those areas are eligible to participate in the funding opportunities. The options for funding include direct loans, structured financing, and investments.
This organization receives funding from the federal government to help accelerate highly innovative projects that solve problems related to the environment, economy, and social issues. The program is aimed at small and large businesses and individuals who are interested in innovation.
Invest in Canada
This program provides incentives that have been designed to help businesses of all sizes attract talent, invest in research and development, and make capital investments. The Strategic Innovation Fund encourages investment in Canadian businesses, including Ontario. The potential of a projects potential benefit to Canada will determine the eligibility to receive funding, projects including the commercialization of new products or new intellectual property, research and development to accelerate commercialization, facilitation of growth of business in Canada, large scale investments being brought to Canada, and collaborations between the private and public sector for advanced research.
National Research Council of Canada (Industrial Research Assistance Program)
Small and medium-sized businesses can receive technology-driven funding from the NRC IRAP.
You may be eligible for support if your small or medium-sized business in Canada is pursuing technology-driven innovation. This program provides funding for research and development projects during various stages of the innovation cycle. The aim is to make it easier for businesses to access the needed support to expand and grow.
Hire Young Graduates
Under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, this program aims to help younger Canadians develop skills, get career information, find good jobs, and stay employed. Your business may be eligible if you are a small or medium-sized business with less than 500 employees, for-profit and incorporated, and ready to enhance your capacity for innovation, and willing to partner with the NRC IRAP.
This international program connects small and medium-sized businesses with international interests with the advisory, funding, innovation, and export services that are needed to access new markets and global value chains.
Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada will provide financial assistance for industrial facilities for the eligible costs for their energy management projects. These projects must have the intent to demonstrate potential for energy management replication in other settings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or have the potential for energy savings.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Businesses can collaborate with a college researcher through this program for up to three years on research and development projects. Your business will have to pay a part of the grant in order to cover the costs of the funded researcher, and the remainder of the grant will come from this program from NSERC.
Space Technology Development Program
This program supports innovation for the growth of the space industry in Canada and reduces the technological unknowns. Contracts can be issued to businesses for technology development that supports the future needs of the Canadian Space Program, also non-repayable contributions are given to businesses to support the development of technologies that are innovative and have a strong potential for commercialization.
Trade Commissioner Service
If your business is looking to expand internationally, the Trade Commissioner service can provide you with a grant from their programs:
Small and medium-sized businesses can receive financial support to help develop export opportunities for their services or products in new markets from across the globe. Funds cover market research, business travel, or trade event participation.
National trade organizations and industry associations for expanded or new international business development activities that benefit an entire industry can receive financial support to cover a portion of the eligible costs for these activities such as market visits, trade shows, marketing tools, and promotional tools.
Innovators in Canada that are working to establish new research and development collaborations with foreign partners can receive financial support to validate, co-develop, or adapt their technologies for commercialization. Funding is provided as a cost-share and can help cover a portion of eligible expenses.
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