NRC IRAP Funding Helps Businesses Provide PPE and Sanitizer Against COVID-19

COVID-19-related funding through National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP)

The global demand for personal protective gear and sanitary equipment is reaching an all-time high as healthcare professionals around the world arm themselves to take on the novel coronavirus.

Now, the Canadian federal government has taken matters into their own hands by tasking the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) with granting R&D funding to small and medium-sized businesses to provide innovative solutions to Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada needs.

“If we run out of personal protective equipment, we cannot treat people with COVID-19, full stop.”
Dr. Michael Warner, ICU Physician at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital

In order to ensure Canadian hospitals and front-line workers are equipped to handle COVID-19 cases, expediting companies’ research and development processes in meeting these needs has never been so crucial.

Medium-Term Needs NRC IRAP Funding Will Address

NRC IRAP is looking for businesses that can provide innovative solutions in fulfilling any of the following needs:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Sanitization
  • Diagnostic and testing
  • Therapeutics
  • Disease tracking technology

Companies Doing Their Part to Help Fight COVID-19

Here are a few examples of companies that have already made temporary changes to their business model to help do their part in fighting the novel coronavirus. The companies listed below have made these changes ahead of the NRC IRAP program announcement.

Distilleries Turned Sanitizer Manufacturers

Three local distilleries in Toronto, Walkerville, and Perth have all started manufacturing sanitizer to meet the growing demand in the healthcare industry. The Spirit of York distillery has been selling its hand sanitizer to the community with the proceeds going towards the Feed Ontario organization, raising over $22,000. The Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. distillery in Walkerville has added sanitizer to its product list, donating it to the TTC and where it’s needed most. Top Shelf Distillers in Perth is selling 236ml bottles of sanitizing handwash to the public, created using WHO guidelines for handwash.

Fashion Designers Create Face Masks, Gowns, and More

The fashion apparel industry is also making efforts to do what they can in helping supply personal protective equipment. Toronto fashion designer Hilary MacMillan and her two seamstresses have been working tirelessly from their homes to create non-medical grade masks to be given to staff at their local pharmacy. Even large retailers such as H&M and Gap are working towards outputting rapid production of masks, gowns, and more.

Hamilton Web Developers Create COVID-19 Monitoring Software

A Hamilton software development company, Webility Solutions Inc., has been partnering with the Hamilton Academy of Medicine to help flatten the curve by creating a survey website called the COVID-19 Community Watch app, which collects data on the COVID-19 outbreak in the Hamilton area.

Apply for COVID-19 NRC IRAP Funding

The complexity of applying for COVID-19-related funding through NRC IRAP will depend heavily on how innovate your business’ solution is in providing the required items.

Reach out to a member of the Mentor Works team for more info on applying for coronavirus-related funding through NRC IRAP, or check out our COVID-19 support page to view additional government funding programs.

Find COVID-19 Funding Support Programs from the Canadian Provincial and Federal Governments


  1. Hello, I am looking for a grant to start a small home business making reusable fabric covers for N95 masks. The target market are frontline workers, such as public transit drivers, teachers, cashiers, uber and taxi drivers etc those who are at high risk but whose company does not provide respirators. Current scientific research is leaning toward greater acceptance that airborne transmission is a significant route of transmitted, especially in closed spaces or high traffic areas. The loose fitting medical masks and cloth masks do not protect due to gaps and the poor aerosol filtration of cloth masks. N95 are expensive to purchase out of pocket making single use respirators out of reach of many frontline workers. Employers often provide non-medical or cloth masks to employees. The most promising model is currently being tested by an OCTranspo driver and a teacher with positive reviews. The cloth cover is attractive, comfortable, reusable and may be used with or without the N95. It includes a filter pocket for use without an N95 and a nose wire for a good fit without the N95.

    If you have ideas of where I could secure funding to purchase materials and hire sewers, your advice would be very appreciated.

    Christine Vlaming

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