Photo of CN Tower During Golden Hour

Ontario Budget 2024: Business Grants, Subsidies, & Tax Credits

In Ontario, economic growth has faced significant challenges over the last year with gross domestic product (GDP) expected to slow to 0.3 per cent in 2024, down from the estimate of last year’s budget.  

Due to these economic challenges, Ontario’s government has devised a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate the province’s economy in the 2024 provincial budget. Central to this strategy is the development of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, with Ontario slated to host Canada’s first EV battery plants. The plan also prioritizes clean energy, emphasizing the role of nuclear power and critical minerals in powering future industries. Additionally, efforts to attract domestic and international manufacturing investments, coupled with support for innovation and small businesses, underscore the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and job creation. 

Through these measures, Ontario aims to rebuild its economy, ensuring long-term prosperity and resilience for generations to come. Our blog dissects the business funding outlook within the 2024 budget, offering insights tailored to investors, entrepreneurs, and industry enthusiasts. 

Visit our Federal and Provincial Budget 2024 page to find a business funding analysis on the budgets this year.  

Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness (AMIC)  

The Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness (AMIC) Stream, launched in January 2022 under the Regional Development Program, addresses international competition and supply chain disruptions challenges faced by manufacturers. With an initial allocation of $40 million, this stream provides funding support to advanced manufacturers across various sectors, including automotive, aerospace, chemical, life sciences, and steel, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Additionally, it offers access to complementary services and supports, including advisory services, to assist businesses in navigating other government programs. 

The Ontario government’s commitment to the Regional Development Program has yielded significant results. With over $130 million allocated to support more than 110 projects, the program has leveraged over $1.4 billion in new investments and facilitated the creation of over 2,600 jobs provincewide.  

To further cultivate an environment conducive to investment and growth in the manufacturing sector, the government is enhancing the AMIC Stream with additional funds. This initiative aims to meet the current demand for the program by extending financial support and tools to more firms, enabling them to enhance competitiveness and productivity while reinforcing critical supply chains. 

Learn How to Build a Government Funding Plan to apply for AMIC and other grant programs with us this year! 

Ontario Strengthens Plans to Become an EV Leader 

Ontario’s automotive sector, including vehicle assembly and automotive parts production, directly employs nearly 100,000 workers and supports hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs across the auto supply chain. This includes over 700 parts firms and more than 500 tool, die, and mold makers. 

  • Government Action for Sector Revitalization: Meaningful steps have been taken to rebuild Ontario’s automotive sector and revitalize manufacturing in the province. Investments are being made across the emerging electric vehicle (EV) supply chain to establish Ontario as a North American hub for future car production, aiming to create more high-paying jobs. 
  • Attracting Transformative Investments: Over the past three years, Ontario has secured over $28 billion in transformative automotive and EV battery-related investments from global automakers, parts suppliers, and EV battery and materials manufacturers. These investments are expected to generate over 12,000 new jobs. 

Many well-known automotive corporations such as Volkswagen, General Motors, and Magna International, are already building out their EV projects in 2024 and creating jobs across Ontario.   

  • Supporting Industry Growth & Future Plans: By supporting these investments, the government aims to build Ontario’s end-to-end EV supply chain, positioning the province as a global player in the EV industry. Significant investments have been made in EV production, batteries, battery components, and EV parts.  

If your automotive business is looking to align itself with the government’s priorities and make parts upgrades, check out the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP). Eligible candidates can access up to $150K in funding.  

Attracting Investments Through Invest Ontario 

Invest Ontario, established in July 2020, aims to attract investments from around the world and assist businesses in expanding their operations within the province. Acting as a one-stop source for investors, the agency provides tailored investment solutions, facilitates access to government levels, and offers financial assistance through the Invest Ontario Fund. 

To date, Invest Ontario has secured $2.4 billion in investments which are expected to generate 2,600 new jobs, with more opportunities in development.  

  • Enhancing the Invest Ontario Fund: To further bolster investment attraction, the government is allocating an additional $100 million to the Invest Ontario Fund. This brings the fund’s total to $600 million. 
  • Supporting Strategic Sectors: The enhanced fund enables Invest Ontario to target more strategic investments, fostering job creation, innovation, and stronger supply chains in sectors where Ontario holds a global competitive advantage. These sectors include advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and technology. 

Read our blog on Invest Ontario (IOF) Supporting Ontario’s Economic Growth to find out more about the funding agency and how to qualify for a $400M loan.  

Leveraging Northern Ontario’s Natural Resources 

Developing Critical Infrastructure for the Ring of Fire 

Through Ontario’s Critical Minerals Strategy, the government collaborates with Indigenous communities to harness the economic potential of critical minerals in Northern Ontario, including the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire region boasts significant deposits of critical minerals like chromite, cobalt, nickel, copper, and platinum, crucial for innovative technologies in burgeoning sectors such as batteries, electronics, and electric vehicles. 

Ontario earmarked $1 billion to bolster critical legacy infrastructure, including all-season roads and broadband connectivity in the Ring of Fire region. The absence of all-season roads currently limits community access to vital services like education and healthcare. 

  • Community Development Agreement: Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation signed an agreement with Ontario to develop infrastructure projects, enhancing community well-being and readiness for future economic opportunities. 
  • Environmental Assessments (EAs): Ontario will be supporting EAs for key infrastructure projects led by Indigenous communities, expediting project timelines and fostering collaboration. 
  • Calling for Federal Support: Ontario is urging the Government of Canada to match funding commitments and expedite approval processes for infrastructure projects in the Ring of Fire, emphasizing the economic benefits for Indigenous and Northern communities. 

Enhancing the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund 

Launched in November 2022, the $5 million Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF) supports research and innovation projects in Ontario’s critical minerals sector. These projects aim to boost exploration, mining, production, and processing of critical minerals, focusing on challenges in the battery supply chain, deep exploration, mineral processing, and mineral recovery. 

  • Investment Boost: Ontario is investing an additional $15 million to enhance the CMIF, supporting research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies related to critical minerals. This investment aims to foster private-public collaboration and job creation in municipalities, Indigenous communities, and regional economies. 

The Canadian Critical Minerals Sector is Growing Rapidly in 2024 – read our blog to learn more about trends within this industry and adapt sustainability measures.  

Advancing Sustainability in Ontario’s Forest Industry 

Ontario’s forest sector holds immense potential for economic growth through the utilization of wood products, including forest biomass and low-grade trees. To harness this potential and promote sustainable practices, the government introduced the Forest Biomass Program in May 2023. With an initial investment of $19.6 million, this program aims to explore new and emerging uses of underutilized wood and mill by-products, ranging from medicine to bioplastics and biofuels. 

Recognizing the importance of this initiative, Ontario is committing additional investments to extend the program over the next three years, allocating $20 million annually. This increased funding will bolster efforts to harvest more wood from Crown forests for both traditional and innovative products, fostering job creation and regional economic development.  

The Forest Biomass Program comprises four distinct streams, each designed to address specific aspects of biomass utilization and economic development: 

  • Indigenous Bioeconomy Partnerships Stream: Supporting Indigenous businesses and communities in participating more actively in the forest sector through the utilization of forest biomass. 
  • Exploring Biomass Pathways Stream: Facilitating feasibility studies, engineering, and design projects to enhance the viability of biomass utilization for both profit and non-profit organizations. 
  • Innovative Bioproduct Manufacturing Stream: Focusing on projects that facilitate the commercialization of new and innovative uses of forest biomass, fostering technological advancement and diversification. 
  • Modernization Stream: Supporting major modernization investments in foundational forestry facilities and the establishment of new complementary businesses aimed at consuming significant quantities of underutilized wood and biomass. 

Advancing Ontario’s Nuclear Sector for Clean Energy Solutions 

Ontario’s robust nuclear industry stands as a global beacon of safety, reliability, and clean energy innovation. Leveraging this expertise, the government is spearheading the development of next-generation nuclear power technologies, including grid-scale small modular reactors (SMRs). This strategic initiative not only enhances Ontario’s competitiveness in attracting international investments but also opens avenues for export development, positioning the province as a leader in clean energy solutions. 

Ontario’s commitment to expanding nuclear energy is propelling the province to the forefront of new nuclear technologies, fostering export opportunities that drive economic growth. Moreover, significant agreements valued at approximately $1 billion have already been inked by Ontario’s nuclear supply chain providers, signaling a market for nuclear products and services worldwide. 

Supporting Clean Energy Storage Projects: 

  • Ontario is bolstering its clean electricity grid through new energy storage projects, representing the largest battery procurement in Canada’s history. 
  • These projects aim to enhance grid efficiency by storing electricity during off-peak hours and redistributing it during periods of higher demand. 

Boosting the Electricity Grid with Clean Hydrogen: 

  • Investments in 15 new projects, facilitated by the $15 million Hydrogen Innovation Fund, are paving the way for integrating hydrogen into Ontario’s electricity grid. 
  • This initiative fosters reliable, affordable, and clean electricity generation from hydrogen, contributing to the province’s energy diversification efforts and supporting long-term growth. 

Continuing Support for the Northern Economy: 

  • The Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP) provides vital rebates for eligible mining, forestry, and steel operations in Northern Ontario, ensuring competitiveness and job creation in the region. 
  • With an additional $86 million in funding over three years, NEAP will sustain its support for large industrial operators, fostering economic resilience and prosperity in Northern communities. 

Explore our Cleantech Funding Directory now to discover opportunities for financing your innovative projects and initiatives in the clean technology sector. 

Supporting Innovation and Economic Growth Through Research and Technology 

Innovation is paramount to Ontario’s sustained economic growth, driving progress and resilience across all sectors. 

Strengthening Research and Development with Advanced Research Computing (ARC) 

  • Ontario’s investment of an additional $18 million over the next three years will support the operation and maintenance of advanced research computing (ARC) facilities. 
  • This funding ensures ARC systems meet the computational demands for research in critical fields like artificial intelligence (AI), fostering technological advancements and commercialization. 
  • Moreover, a $47.4 million investment in infrastructure refresh will modernize ARC systems at the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo, bolstering Ontario’s research capabilities.

Expanding Regional Innovation Centers to Barrie 

  • Ontario is furthering its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation by allocating an additional $1 million annually, starting in 2024–25, to Regional Innovation Centers (RICs). 
  • This funding will establish a new RIC in Barrie, amplifying regional innovation and economic growth efforts. 

RICs, existing as non-profit organizations across the province, provide crucial resources and networks for entrepreneurs, facilitating business growth and job creation. Find the nearest Ontario RIC to you here.  

Keeping Costs Low for Ontario Businesses  

Ontario’s government has implemented significant measures to reduce costs for businesses, aiding their competitiveness and resilience amidst economic uncertainties. With small businesses comprising over 97% of all businesses in the province, their vitality is crucial for driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities. In 2024, the government is projected to facilitate approximately $8 billion in cost savings and support for Ontario businesses, with $3.7 billion earmarked for small businesses. 

Key actions include:  

  • Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit: Encourage local manufacturers to invest and expand by reducing costs for eligible investments in manufacturing or processing facilities.  
  • Temporarily Cutting Gas and Fuel Taxes: Proposed extension of reductions until December 31, 2024. 
  • Supporting Reductions in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Premium Rates: Reduced payroll costs for businesses without impacting benefits. 
  • Increasing the Employer Health Tax (EHT) Exemption: Raised from $490,000 to $1 million, reducing taxes for eligible private-sector employers based on their total Ontario payroll. 
  • Cancelling the Cap-and-Trade Carbon Tax: Remove cost impacts on gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas. 
  • Lowering High Business Education Tax (BET) Rates: Offers annual savings of $450 million for over 200,000 employers. 
  • Reducing the Small Business Corporate Income Tax Rate: Decreased to 3.2% with expanded access to the preferential rate, supporting small businesses in competing and thriving by lowering their costs. 
  • Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit: Aids businesses expanding in regions with employment growth lags. 
  • Accelerating Capital Investment Write Offs: Businesses allowed to speed up write offs of capital investments for income tax purposes. 

Helping Small Businesses Grow 

Small enterprises and entrepreneurs play a crucial role in Ontario’s economic growth strategy. Recognizing the distinctive challenges encountered by small businesses, the government acknowledges that a standardized approach to business assistance may not yield optimal results. Actions that support this move include the following:  

Support Services at Ontario’s Small Business Enterprise Centers (SBECs): 

  • SBECs offer a wide array of support services tailored to entrepreneurs’ needs. 
  • Services encompass financial aid, consultancy sessions, resource accessibility, business plan evaluations, workshops, and legal guidance. 

Enhancement of the Starter Company Plus Program: 

  • The government allocates an extra $6.8 million to bolster the Starter Company Plus program. 
  • This initiative enhances grants and training opportunities for entrepreneurs meeting eligibility criteria. 

Expansion of the Summer Company Program: 

  • Through SBECs, the Summer Company program furnishes business training and grants of up to $3,000. 
  • It targets students aged 15 to 29, encouraging them to establish summer businesses. 
  • Additional funding will enable support for 250 more students over a two-year period. 

Support for Francophone Entrepreneurs via FGA: 

  • The funding will aid the Fédération des gens d’affaires francophones de l’Ontario (FGA) in delivering tailored assistance to Francophone entrepreneurs. 
  • Services include advisory support and workshops conducted in French, catering to the specific needs of this demographic. 

To learn how your business can cover costs and access funding, download our popular Canadian Business Funding Guide. Determine your eligibility and apply with us! 

Canadian Small Business Grants and Loans

 

Introducing the Ontario Transit Investment Fund 

In this budget, the government introduced the Ontario Transit Investment Fund, allocating $5 million annually. Its primary aim is to support local and intercommunity transportation projects, with a focus on unserved and underserved regions, notably rural areas. 

The Ontario Transit Investment Fund expands eligibility criteria to include municipalities, Indigenous communities, and non-profit organizations. It adopts an ongoing application-based intake system, broadening opportunities for funding access beyond the previous Community Transportation Grant Program. 

Building a Robust Workforce  

As Ontario proceeds with its economic rebuilding plan, the government stayed steadfast in its commitment to investing in workers and essential public services, all while refraining from increasing taxes or fees. Key initiatives include:  

Investing in Skills Training: 

Supporting Indigenous Workers in Northern Ontario: 

  • A $7.3 million investment through the Skills Development Fund will aid the Indigenous workers across Northern Ontario, funding eight training projects to prepare 1,700 workers for jobs in forestry, construction, and healthcare. 

Expanding Skilled Trades Training Centers: 

  • Ontario is allocating $224 million through the Skills Development Fund Capital Stream to enhance access to training centers, aiding unions, Indigenous centers, and industry associations in building, or upgrading facilities with modern equipment. 
  • These centers have been designed to cater to emerging job needs in sectors like construction and healthcare. 

Training Apprentices: 

  • The government is dedicating over $1 billion to the Skilled Trades Strategy, with an additional $16.5 million annually over three years to support various programs. 
  • Emphasis was placed on attracting youth to the trades, simplifying the system, and encouraging employer participation in apprenticeships. 

Supporting Youth Careers in Skilled Trades: 

  • Ontario is investing over $62.9 million in foundational programs to engage over 18,000 young people in skilled trades careers. 
  • Funding includes expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and launching around 100 pre-apprenticeship training projects statewide. 

Develop an effective hiring process ensures businesses can find, hire, and retain key employees that will help the business grow and become more competitive. Download our free guide on How to Fund Hiring & Training to learn how to cover labor costs.

Apply for Ontario Business Funding Programs 

Ontario’s commitment to innovation and economic growth is evident in the 2024 budget. The government’s focus on supporting EVs, clean energy, and small businesses presents exciting prospects for business owners this year. As Canada’s leading grant application writing firm, Mentor Works, a Ryan company is helping local businesses receive grant, loan, and tax credit incentives by applying for funding programs like O-AMP, AMIC, and more.  

Speak with a member of our Canadian government funding team to find out what funding programs your Ontario business may be eligible to receive through provincial and federal funding programs. 

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *