Canadian Government Funding for Manufacturers

Canadian manufacturers can access a broad spectrum of government grants and loans to offset strategic growth project costs. In fact, Canadian government funding for manufacturers tends to be more widely available than for any other industry segment, making industrial companies well-aligned to access financial incentives. While manufacturers in some provinces have additional programs available, all Canadian manufacturers have the potential to succeed with government funding. Keep in mind that the following government funding programs may be undergoing temporary changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or may not be currently accepting applications.

Manufacturing grants and loans can support technology adoption, facility and export expansion, research and development, and hiring and training projects.

Developing and executing a strategic government funding plan starts by identifying manufacturing grants and loans that could support your business’ upcoming projects. This is the first area where most companies benefit from partnering with Mentor Works; you can tap into our pool of resources to identify funding programs worth applying to. Our team of Government Funding Planners™ can also support this matchmaking process; just contact us to start a conversation about accessing funding for your upcoming growth projects.

Government Funding for Manufacturers: Build a Plan

Canadian manufacturers are a primary target for some of the most valuable government funding programs available. While it’s possible to access funding programs on a project-by-project basis, we recommend incorporating grants and loans as part of your overall growth strategy. To do this, we recommend that all manufacturers take time to construct a government funding plan.

Government funding plans are a proactive means to offset a portion of all strategic project costs with manufacturing grants and loans.

The first step is to identify all company investments over the coming 12-24 months. With this roadmap in mind, it becomes easier to align government funding programs, either independently or by using a Canadian Government Funding Planner. Mentor Works routinely supports Canadian manufacturers with government funding planning, application, and reporting. To learn more about some of these success stories, check out our Client Spotlight blogs.

Please Note: Agri-food manufacturers will find more applicable funding programs from the Top 4 Funding Programs for Ontario’s Agri-Food Industry.

Top Canadian Manufacturing Grants and Loans

Provided through the Government of Canada, these manufacturing funding programs are available to manufacturers across the country. Discover how they can help your business grow and become more innovative:

CanExport

CanExport provides support for export marketing and international expansion activities. This program is currently undergoing temporary changes due to COVID-19. The program helps exporters improve their sales and brand exposure in international markets through trade shows and marketing activities, packaging modifications, and market research. Read More

  • Amount: Up to 75% of project costs to a maximum $75,000 in non-repayable funding per project. Up to two applications can be submitted per government fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  • Eligibility:
    • Be a for-profit;
    • Earn annual revenues ranging from $100,000 to $100,000,000;
    • Maintain 1 to 500 full-time employees;
    • Be incorporated federally or classified as a limited liability partnership (LLP);
    • Create eligible project expenses of $20,000 or more; and
    • Be financially stable and able to pay all project expenses not covered by the program. Businesses in the agricultural or agri-food sector are NOW eligible for CanExport grants.

Canada Job Grant (CJG)

The Canada Job Grant is a Canadian government funding program designed to reduce the costs of providing third-party skills training to new and existing employees. It’s available across Canada, with each province and territory responsible for co-branding and developing a system that’s suited towards its workforce and business makeup. Read More

  • Amount: Non-repayable grant contributions of 50-100% of training costs (i.e. course, exams, textbooks, software resources, etc.) to a maximum $5,000 to $15,000 per trainee.
  • Eligibility: Canadian SME with $2M liability insurance. Trainees must be a permanent Canadian citizen or granted refugee status.

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

ISC provides government grants and procurement contracts to stimulate technology research, development, and commercialization. The program helps startups and small/medium-sized businesses (SMEs) overcome technology development hurdles so that they can produce globally-demanded products and services, while also improving government operations. Read More

  • Amount: Phase 1: Grants up to $150k; Phase 2: Grants up to $1M; Phase 3: Government procurement contracts with no fixed maximum.
  • Eligibility: For-profit, privately held Canadian businesses with fewer than 499 FTE employees.

Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)

IDEaS is a federal government procurement program. Administered through the Department of National Defence (DND), it seeks pre-commercial military and defence technologies that have the potential to address current challenges faced by Canada’s Armed Forces. Read More

  • Amount: Dependent on the challenge being responded to (i.e. the CFP/RFP) – Maximum $20M per project.
  • Eligibility: All organization types are eligible to apply. Applicants must demonstrate at least 50% Canadian content for goods and services.

NGen Manufacturing Supercluster Funding

The NGen Manufacturing Program supports collaborative technology development and application projects that help Canadian manufacturing companies compete globally. Read More

  • Amount: Offsets up to 44.4% of eligible project expenses. Project costs should be between $1M and $20M, providing non-repayable funding of approximately $444,000 to $8,880,000.
  • Eligibility: Open to all industries and sectors. Must have a minimum of three private-sector project partners; lead partner and participants must be NGen members.

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

The Industrial Research Assistance Program offers funding for technical or research-oriented projects to solve an internal innovation challenge. Funding supports software implementation, productivity improvements, and production design or marketing projects. Not suited for training projects. Read More

  • Amount: Up to $10M non-repayable grant with 80% of direct labour and 50% of sub-contractor expenses.
  • Eligibility: 1-500 people on payroll, 2 years incorporated with internal technical R&D expertise.

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

SIF offers Canadian industrial and technology-based businesses financial support to fuel company expansion and R&D of products, processes, and services. Read More

  • Amount: Minimum funding contribution of $10 million per project. Type of financial support awarded is at the discretion of the program; this can consist of a combination of repayable financial support and/or financial reimbursements up to 50% of project costs.
  • Eligibility: Incorporated Canadian businesses with high growth potential and the ability to drive innovation.

Hiring Grants

Hiring grants are widely available across Canada to help onboard new young manufacturing employees. Funding is generally aligned to the type of candidate hired and how long they work for your company; less funding is available to hire interns while more funding is available to support recent graduates. Read More

  • Amount: Depends on candidate type. Interns/Co-op students may help a business leverage incentives of $5,000 to $7,000 per incremental new hire. Recent graduates may help a business leverage incentives of $12,000 to $15,000 per new hire.
  • Eligibility: Canadian for-profits and non-profits with the capacity to provide meaningful work experiences in a particular field. Candidates should be in (or recently graduated from) a business or STEM education program.

Top Manufacturing Grants Ontario

In addition to the Canadian manufacturing grants and loans listed above, Ontario-based manufacturers may also qualify for provincially funded or targeted incentives. These include:

CME Technology Assessment Program (TAP)

The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Technology Assessment Program (CME TAP) supports manufacturers in southern Ontario looking to improve their systems, processes, and equipment by having a third-party technology assessment find bottlenecks and areas for improvement in your business. Read More

  • Amount: Up to 100% of assessment costs up to a $25,000 grant.
  • Eligibility: Manufacturers with 16-499 full-time employees within southern Ontario, financially stable, incorporated for 2+ years, and not receiving contributions towards the activities from other government funding.

Business Scale-up and Productivity Program (BSP) Southern Ontario

BSP accelerates company growth and helps businesses adopt/adapt innovative technologies that support productivity. Funding supports early adoption or adaptation of innovative technologies and processes, commercializing/producing new products or processes, expanding management capacity, and researching/developing export markets. Read More

  • Amount: Repayable contribution (no-interest loan) of up to 35% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $10 million. Minimum ask of $500k.
  • Eligibility: Southern Ontario businesses, incorporated and profitable for three or more years. Must have five or more employees. Pre-revenue companies and those with fewer than five employees require proof of scale-up potential.

Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF)

EODF provides financial support to Canadian SMEs expanding operations and creating jobs in eastern Ontario. Funding is suited to accommodate projects that will involve investing in new capital equipment, improving existing operations and processes, and pursuing new market opportunities. Read More

  • Amount: Up to 15% of eligible expenses to a maximum $1.5 million in non-repayable grant funding for projects with budgets up to $10 million. Projects with budgets that exceed this amount may be eligible to receive a combination of grants and loans of up to $5 million.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be incorporated for at least three years, have 10 or more full-time employees, and operate in eastern Ontario. Projects must create at least 10 new full-time positions.

FedDev Ontario Training Program (FOTP)

FOTP supports the development of new engineering skills, training on new software, hardware, or other tools that support innovation within a manufacturing facility. The program recently pivoted to address COVID-19 impacts. Read More

  • Amount: Up to $100k grant or 25-50% of trainer costs (3rd party or in-house) and 25-50% of trainees’ internal labour costs.
  • Eligibility: Southern Ontario financially stable manufacturers with 10-1000 employees and incorporated for ≥3 years. Must be engaged in the interprovincial or international market or retooling production as a result of COVID-19 to respond to emerging needs.

Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (OAMP)

OAMP helps automotive businesses improve productivity through technology adoption projects. It builds off the success of the former Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program (ASCIP) and focuses on integrating innovative equipment that reduces costs and expands manufacturing capabilities. Read More

  • Amount: Up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum $100,000 in Ontario government grants (cost-sharing contributions).
  • Eligibility: Ontario automotive businesses with fewer than 500 employees. At least 50% of revenue must come from the automotive supply sector.

Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

SWODF offers funding to support projects that involve investing in new capital equipment, developing skills, enhancing productivity, and developing new infrastructure. Read More

  • Amount: Up to 15% of eligible expenses to a maximum $1.5 million in non-repayable grant funding for projects with budgets up to $10 million. Projects with budgets that exceed this amount may be eligible to receive a combination of grants and loans of up to $5 million.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be established for at least three years, have 10 or more full-time employees, and operate in southwestern Ontario. Projects must be completed within a two- to- four-year timeline and create at least 10-15 new full-time positions depending upon project size and company size.

Top Manufacturing Grants Western Canada

In addition to the Canadian manufacturing grants and loans listed above, manufacturers based in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba may also qualify for provincially-funded or targeted incentives. These include:

Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP)

MIOP provides low-interest repayable funding contributions to attract investment from small and medium-sized businesses. Funds provide a critical pathway to securing large-scale investments from businesses who are established or looking to begin operations in Manitoba. Read More

  • Amount: Repayable funding contributions ranging from $500,000 to $5,000,000. Five- to- seven-year repayment period at RBC prime + 2%.
  • Eligibility: Established or commercially viable businesses in Manitoba. Must provide minimum 20% project costs.

Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Fund (WRAPP)

WRAPP offers Manitoba government grants to help businesses, municipalities, non-profits, and educational institutions move towards more sustainable waste management/pollution prevention practices. Read More

  • Amount: Grants typically up to $25,000 per project; innovative projects may receive up to $50,000.
  • Eligibility: For-profit and non-profits, local governments and First Nations, academic institutions.

Western Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) Program

BSP helps businesses with high growth potential adopt/adapt innovative technologies that support productivity, grow operations, and increase exports to global markets. Read More

  • Amount: Repayable contribution (no-interest loan) of up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $5 million per project and $10 million per applicant.
  • Eligibility: Must maintain profitable operations in western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba) for at least two years and be incorporated at the time of application.

Top Manufacturing Grants Atlantic Canada

In addition to the Canadian manufacturing grants and loans listed above, maritime-based manufacturers may also qualify for provincially-funded or targeted incentives. These include:

Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF)

AIF is a Canadian government funding program dedicated to supporting innovative technology research projects. The program enables both private-sector research and collaborations with academia and research institutions. Projects should focus on commercially-viable technology development or adaptation. Read More

  • Amount: Business-led projects may receive up to 75% of expenses; non-profit applicants may receive up to 80% of expenses. Maximum funding per project is capped at $3 million.
  • Eligibility: Businesses, research institutions, and academic institutions operating in Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island).

How to Navigate the Government Funding Process

The programs listed throughout this article are just some of the many grants and loans available to Canadian manufacturers. Identification of government funding programs is just one stage of the funding process, however. With this information, your business must align applicable projects and strategic spends, then craft and submit a detailed application that reviews your opportunity.

You’re not alone in the process. Mentor Works can help you optimize the entire funding application process; download our free slide deck to learn more about your options, or visit our COVID-19 support page to learn about recent updates to these programs.

Navigating the Canadian Government Funding Process

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Written by

Matthew has a background in digital marketing, working with small business owners on their branding, digital marketing strategy, and the execution of their campaigns. As a Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works, Matthew continues to help business owners by creating educational content on what Government funding opportunities are available to Canadian businesses. Follow Matthew Mongeon on Twitter or add him on LinkedIn for government funding updates.

Comments 6

15 June 2018 Reply

How can I get to talk to someone. My needs don’t fit exactly the criteria.

21 June 2018 Reply

Hi Peter, thanks for your comment. I’ll ask a colleague to reach out and discuss your funding options. Please expect their message in the next 1-2 business days.

12 December 2019 Reply

We are a growing manufacturing company based in British Columbia, we manufacture a variety of shade products for the residential and commercial markets. Due to growth we are required to purchase new and larger equipment in order to remain competitive against the United States companies. Are there any grants to assist with the purchase of new large pieces of equipment

16 December 2019 Reply

Hello Mike,

There may be funding programs to assist with this coming out around the corner. This is something I would recommend us connecting on to take a more in depth on what you are doing, and the timelines involved. Please fill out a contact form on our website here and we can have a team member connect with you on this. I am excited to see what we can do together.

23 December 2019 Reply

Can I get a grant for steel roof manufacturing in Ontario? I need less than 500 000 $. I can create 5-10 jobs in first year and 100 in the next 2-3 years…Where to search? Thank you!
Best regards,
Anton

7 January 2020 Reply

Hello Anton,

If you are an established business with a couple of years of financials behind you we invite you to connect with us for a discussion to uncover exactly what programs would be at your disposal. You can start this process by filling out a contact form on our website here.

Mentor Works specializes in working on programs designed for established businesses to access. If you are looking to start a company up, I would advise connecting with one of the resources outlined on our Canadian Business Startup website page, which can be found here.

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