government grants for manufacturers

Coronavirus has resulted in many Canadian manufacturers making major shifts in their business models or even being forced to close temporarily. We’re looking forward to the time when manufacturers can prepare to reopen or shift back to their original business models.

To help Canadian manufacturing businesses hit the ground running when the time comes, Mentor Works has put together a list of various government grants and funding programs specific to manufacturers. To further explore if your business is eligible for any of these programs, please contact Mentor Works and a team member will be in touch.

Click the following links to jump to their respective pages:


Hiring & Training

Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG)

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) is an Ontario government funding program offering training grants to employers. Through the program, companies may receive non-repayable funding from the government to purchase third-party business training programs, including training for in-demand skillsets.

  • Amount: Grant up to 50% (>100 employees) or 83% (<100 employees) to offset up to $10,000 per trainee. Small businesses with new hires may receive up to 100% coverage to a maximum of $15,000 per trainee.
  • Eligibility: For-profit and not-for-profit sector employers, First Nations, and organizations acting on behalf of employers may apply. They must be licensed to operate in Ontario and be applying for training that is delivered in Ontario and is related to a job that is in Ontario.
  • Project Examples: Training topics are to relate to the trainee’s career or skill development. Eligible training programs include financial planning, leadership, project management, marketing, software and technology, and more.

Learn more about the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG).

FedDev Ontario Training Program (FOTP)

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) training program offsets a partial the cost of workforce training and upskilling that supports innovation in manufacturing operations to drive greater competitiveness and expansion into new markets.

  • Amount: Up to 50% of training costs to a maximum grant value of $100,000; previously funded applicants may receive up to 25% of training costs to a maximum grant value of $50,000.
  • Eligibility: Southern Ontario manufacturers with 10-1,000 employees who currently export (or will export as a result of training), have operated for at least three years, and can demonstrate solid financial footing.
  • Project Examples: Training in new technology, new advanced equipment, new software (including ERP), and new manufacturing workflows; training to develop highly skilled personnel in any area that leads to innovation.

Applications for FedDev Ontario funding for training are accepted online during designated intake periods throughout the year.

Capital Investment Programs

Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP)

The BSP program helps businesses adopt/adapt innovative technologies that support productivity, grow southern Ontario operations, and increase exports to global markets. This program is administered by FedDev Ontario.

  • Amount: Applicants may receive a repayable contribution (no-interest loan) of up to 35% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $500,000 to $10 million.
  • Eligibility: Must maintain profitable operations in southern Ontario for 2+ years, have ≥5 employees, and be an incorporated business or Indigenous organization.
  • Project Examples: Commercializing/producing new innovative products, processes, or services; acquiring, adopting, or adapting innovative technologies; and late-stage technology development to support new markets and/or industrial applications.

Learn more about the FedDev Ontario Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) Program.

Community Economic Development and Diversification (CEDD)

The CEDD program, also administered through FedDev Ontario, supports projects committed to improving productivity, capacity, and competitiveness of businesses, leading to increased employment and growth opportunities, as well as enhancing the resilience of communities.

  • Amount: Incorporated, for-profit businesses may receive a repayable contribution (no-interest loan) from $250,000 up to $5 million per project.
  • Eligibility: Legally incorporated businesses, including Indigenous-owned businesses, with operations in rural areas of eastern and western
  • Project Examples: Adoption of new equipment; market development, diversification, and expansion; and facility improvement or expansion to support greater economic diversification.

Learn more about the FedDev Ontario Community Economic Development & Diversification Program (CEDD).

CME Technology Assessment Program (CME TAP)

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) has announced a new program called the Technology Assessment Program. This program aims to innovate Canadian manufacturing and exporting businesses by bringing in a third-party expert to identify productivity issues, perform process analysis, and make equipment recommendations.

  • Amount: Covers 100% of eligible project costs, to a maximum of $25,000.
  • 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.
  • Project Examples: Analyzing what machines and equipment should be replaced, and providing recommendations on what equipment will improve performance.

Learn more about the CME Technology Assessment Program (TAP).

Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP)

O-AMP is an Ontario provincial government funding program that helps automotive businesses improve their operational efficiency and competitiveness through the adoption of lean manufacturing processes and Industry 4.0-related technologies, including hardware/software implementation and training.

  • Amount: Up to 50% of costs associated with eligible projects to a maximum of $100,000 in Ontario government grants (cost-sharing contributions).
  • Eligibility: Small-to-medium-sized Ontario automotive businesses (fewer than 500 employees). A minimum 50% of revenues must come from the automotive supply sector.
  • Project Examples: Utilizing advanced manufacturing hardware, software, and/or training to improve a company’s processes and competitiveness.

Learn more about the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP).

Market Expansion Funding

CanExport SMEs Program

The CanExport SMEs program provides financial support to eligible Canadian exporters for marketing and expansion activities in up to five target export markets. Eligible expenses include marketing activities, packaging modifications, market research, and other initiatives.

  • Amount: Up to 75% of eligible costs associated with export marketing projects to a maximum $75,000 grant per application.
  • Eligibility: 1-500 FTEs on payroll, $100,000-$100 million in annual revenue, 1+ years incorporated with taxes filed, and project expenses must be at least $20,000. The applicant’s sales must be under $100,000 (or less than 10% of total sales) in the target export market(s) over the previous 24 months.
  • Project Example: Promotional video creation, designed for a foreign market.

At the time of writing, the CanExport program is not funding travel related activities due to COVID-19.

Research and Development Programs

NGen Capital Projects

The NGen Capital Projects funds industry-led collaborations that strengthen the competitiveness of Canada’s manufacturing sector by driving more innovation and investment in advanced manufacturing.

  • Amount: Up to 44.4% of eligible project expenses for a maximum grant value of $8.88 million.
  • Eligibility: Projects require a minimum of three industry, academic, and/or research partners, at least one of which must be an SME. Project costs should be between $1 million -$20 million and projects must deliver significant commercial benefits and jobs.
  • Project Examples: Adapting to Industry 4.0; improving existing manufacturing or R&D processes; collaborative technology development resulting in commercialization and/or IP.

While some NGen programs accept applications on an ongoing basis, others have designated intake periods. Learn more about the NGen Manufacturing Program.

NGen Capacity Building Projects

The NGen Capacity Building Project supports Canadian SMEs by lowering the risk of their implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies that will improve competitiveness and grow customer sales. This stream funds three specific types of projects:

  • Feasibility Studies: Funds partnering organizations (including at least one SME) undertaking advanced manufacturing, business planning, and technology implementation strategies such as risk assessments, market studies, and/or economic analyses. Project costs should be $50,000-$200,000 of which NGen may reimburse up to 50%.
  • Cluster Development: Supports new or existing clusters (minimum five SMEs) that are taking on a transformative initiative in advanced manufacturing such as commercialization, IP development, and/or training. Maximum project value is $150,000 of which NGen may reimburse up to 50%.
  • Pilot Projects: Funds partnerships of at least two SMEs undertaking activities to prove out technology implementation projects such as manufacturing process development, risk mitigation planning, and business case development. Project costs should be $100,000-$500,000 of which NGen may reimburse up to 50%.

While some NGen programs accept applications on an ongoing basis, others have designated intake periods. Learn more about the NGen Capacity Building Stream.

National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP)

Designed to help accelerate the research and development projects of Canadian innovators, this project-based funding program can be leveraged to subsidize a portion of payroll costs.

  • Amount: Coverage ranging from 50-75% of payroll costs for projects.
  • Eligibility: Canadian-owned, incorporated private sector companies with <500 employees and in-house R&D capabilities (i.e. technical staff). Potential applicants must first present their project idea to an Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA).
  • Project Example: Developing a new version of a product or service that has an innovative feature such as reducing energy usage, increasing productivity, etc.

Learn more about NRC IRAP grants.

AV Research and Development (R&D) Partnership Fund

A pillar of the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), the AV Research and Development (R&D) Partnership Fund offers AV technology innovators (SMEs) Ontario government grants to develop, prototype, and validate pre-commercial autonomous vehicle technology. There are two streams of available funding: Stream 1 – Collaborative R&D Projects and Stream 2 – Technology Demonstration Projects.

  • Amount: Up to one-third of eligible project costs to a maximum of $100,000 for Collaborative R&D Projects and up to one-third of eligible project costs to a maximum of $1,000,000 for Technology Demonstration Projects.
  • Applicant Eligibility: Ontario-based SME technology developers with fewer than 500 full-time employees. Applicants must partner with at least one other organization, which may include another SME, national and multi-national enterprises, academia, municipalities, non-profits, or Indigenous Communities.
  • Project Examples: Development and demonstration of pre-market technologies (TRL 3-7) in the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (C/AV) sector. Some priority areas include mass light vehicles, heavy-duty vehicles, transportation infrastructure, and intelligent transportation systems.

Learn more about the AV Research and Development Partnership Fund.

Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVI)

The Government of Canada has set a goal for zero-emission vehicles to capture 10% of all light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales per year by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040. This program, administered by Natural Resources Canada, is designed to address driver concerns about finding stations to charge their vehicles.

  • Amount: Up to 50% of total project costs up to a maximum of $5,000,000 per project.
  • Eligibility: Eligible recipients include not-for-profit and for-profit organizations in Canada, as well as multi-unit residential buildings. The full list of eligibility requirements can be found on nrcan.gc.ca.
  • Project Example: Installing a minimum of 20 EV chargers in a multi-unit residential building.

The deadline to submit applications for ZEVI is June 11, 2020, with funding decisions being made by August 2020.

Learn more about the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVI).

To find out if your business is eligible for any of these programs or the other 75+ active Canadian government funding programs, contact a member of the Mentor Works team.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding

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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.

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