May 2016 Page Update: Please note that many of the following programs have changed or are no longer offered. Businesses are encouraged to use Mentor Works’ free Wage Subsidy Identifier form to be matched to the most appropriate hiring grants.

Government grants to hire employees

Small businesses in Canada have a wide variety of Canadian government grants for hiring new employees to increase and enhance their talent pool. We have chosen the top five readily accessible hiring grants for small business across all areas of focus, including; technical, engineering, marketing, and general programs.

The Most Popular Small Business Grants for Hiringrecent grads posing with fellow new hires

1. MITACS: Up to $15,000 Wage Subsidy

Candidate Focus: Science, Technical, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM)

This program is slightly different from MITACS Accelerate post-secondary partnership program; it allows companies to hire post-secondary students or graduates that specialize in science, technical, engineering, or math for a 6-month internship. There are three levels of funding:

  • Bachelor Degree Graduate: $10,000 grant over 6 months
  • Graduate Student: $7,500 grant over 6 months
  • Graduate or Post-Doctorate Degree: $15,000 grant over 6 months

Hiring companies can hire as many interns as they desire through MITACS, with a maximum total grant amount of $30,000.

2. Graduate Internships – iSTEM: Up to $15,000 Wage Subsidy

Candidate Focus: Science, Technical, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM)

iStem internships are available only to companies in Ontario.  The fund allows companies to hire STEM undergraduate students as well as graduates for a 6 month internship.   There are two different tiers of funding available through this program:

  • Graduate with bachelor’s degree: $10,000
  • Graduate with Master’s or PhD: $15,000

Companies can begin the application process for this Ontario small business grant by preparing a job description and contacting a Canadian government funding expert.

3. Information & Communications Technology: Up to $12,750 Wage Subsidy

Candidate Focus: Information & Communications Technology

This wage subsidy is a great option for companies looking to overhaul their online presence through a new website, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, as well as any software development or IT-related projects. This wage subsidy covers 50% of the successful candidate’s wage, up to $12,750 for a 4-8 month internship.

4. Ontario Exporter’s Fund: Up to $80,000 Wage Subsidy

Candidate Focus: An experienced export manager

The Ontario Exporter’s Fund (OEF) government funding for business provided through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been established to help small and medium-sized enterprises to gain access to international markets.    Funding will cover 50% of eligible costs associated with hiring an experienced Export Manager, up to $40,000 per year for 2 years, totalling a maximum of $80,000 in grant funding for hiring.  Contact a Canadian government Funding Expert for more information.

5. Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP): Up to $15,000 Wage Subsidy

Candidate Focus: Any new, unique role within your organization

12-month internships through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) cover 50% of their hourly wage, up to $15,000 for 1-2 interns’ salaries. The intern must have a post-secondary degree or diploma and be younger than 31 years old. The program is open to candidates of all study disciplines.

Discover Your Business’ Best Choices for Hiring Grants

To take the first step with these programs and other Canadian wage subsidies, businesses may use the following Wage Subsidy Identifier form to fill out high-level details about their company and candidate focus. By submitting the form, you’ll be matched to the most logical, valuable hiring grants available to your business.

Government grants to hire employees


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Written by

Ryan has a BA in economics, an MSc in management, and several published works including two books. As Marketing Analyst at Mentor Works, Ryan enjoys communicating with business owners & executives about government grants and funding available to help overcome obstacles to growth.

  • Graeme Kilshaw

    I am a Canadian business owner looking to get government grants and funding. I would love to tell MentorWorks about our Friendship Cube Educational Programs. Keep up the great work. It is always good to hear from you.