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.

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. 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 50% of eligible expenses or $10,000-$50,000 in cost matching funds per application. Up to two applications can be submitted per government fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  • Eligibility: 1-250 people on payroll, $200k-50M in annual, taxed revenues, 1+ years incorporated or a limited liability partnership (LLP). Markets must be under-developed, including countries where less than $20,000 or 10% of international sales have been generated in the past 24 months.

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.

Protein Industries Canada Supercluster Funding

The Protein Industries Canada program supports collaborative product or process research, technology development, and export market development projects related to expanding Canada’s plant-based protein sector. Read More

  • Amount: Offsets up to 50% of eligible project expenses with no defined maximum contribution. Remaining project funds must be supported by at least two project partners.
  • Eligibility: Must have a minimum of two project partners; all must be PIC members.

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:

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. 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, incorporated for ≥3 years, and currently exporting or intending to export following the project.

Northern Business Opportunity Program – Business Expansion Projects

The NOHFC Business Expansion Projects stream supports businesses with existing operations in Northern Ontario to expand operations and create jobs. Read More

  • Amount: Combines conditional grant and repayable loan funding for up to 30-50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $400,000-$1,000,000.
  • Eligibility: Established businesses in Northern Ontario expanding operations through capital investment. Must be in an emerging economic sector prioritized by NOHFC.

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:

Alberta Export Support Fund

The Export Support Fund reduces the cost of attending trade shows in new export markets. The program offers grants to offset travel, select accommodation, event registration, and marketing material translation costs. Read More

  • Amount: Up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $20,000 grant. Can apply once per year.
  • Eligibility: For-profit, incorporated in Alberta for at least two years, with a minimum one employee, and sales ranging from $50,000 to $25 million.

Commercialization for Small Business Program (CSBP) Manitoba

CSBP provides grant funding to support the commercialization of innovative products and processes. Three streams of funding are available for product development, commercialization, and export market development. Read More

  • Amount: Grants up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum depending on the funding stream. (1) Product Development: $50,000 (2) Commercialization: $250,000 (3) Market Development: $30,000. Lifetime maximum $250,000.
  • Eligibility: For-profit businesses with at least 25% of workforce residing in Manitoba. Must also have <50 employees or <$15M gross revenue in the last calendar year.

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.

Navigating the Canadian Government Funding Process

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Written by

Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.

Comments 2

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.

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