As 2022 gets underway and winter is in full swing, Canadians are out enjoying the snow, spending time indoors, and preparing for another year of change and adaptation to new circumstances. During these times, the government must also begin to adapt to changing circumstances with new funding programs and initiatives available for businesses.
In this blog post, you will discover our top choices for government grant programs and government loan programs. However, we would also like to remind you about tax incentive programs. Take a moment to learn more about these programs in our free SR&ED vs. IRAP resource.
As the Government of Canada works tirelessly to support the economic instability resulting from the pandemic, the continuous success and growth of our country’s small business operations is more important than ever. From hiring and training grants, to low-interest loans for tech adoption and innovation, to funding support to help businesses combat the omicron variant of COVID-19, there are a wide array of government funding programs available this winter.
Top Government Grant Programs for Winter 2022
The Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program – Research and Innovation Stream provides funds for research, development, and adoption of clean technologies. These improvements happen through innovations in precision agriculture and agri-based bioproducts. To be eligible, technologies should reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable and clean growth.
- Amount: Applicants may receive up to 50-75% of expenses to a maximum of $2M per project or $5M per applicant if they have multiple projects.
- Eligibility: Eligible Applicants may be provincial/territorial governments in Canada, for-profit agri-businesses, and not-for-profit agri-organizations.
The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program is a Canadian government grant dedicated towards helping employers provide youth employees with supervised, career-related, work experience. It’s important that work experience gained through CSJ should further develop the skills and knowledge of the youth employees, as well as prepare them for transition into employment.
- Amount: May receive up to 50% of employee minimum hourly rate. Some non-profits may get up to 100% of minimum wage, as well as Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs). Contributions are capped at $300K per employer/province or territory as a maximum. The most amount of time per employee may be 40 hours per week.
- Eligibility: For-profit businesses, non-profits, and public sector employers may be eligible if they have 50 or fewer employees. Work placements for youth employees must be full-time (30+ hours/week) and must span for a period of 6-16 weeks.
The Canadian Food Innovation Network’s (CFIN) program supports Canadian food and beverage businesses that are working towards innovation for the food industry. The Booster stream supports research and development in tech readiness level projects ranging from one-seven. CFIN’s goal is to make Canada a leader on the global stage.
- Amount: Successful applicants may receive up to 50% of eligible costs for food projects that range from $20K-$200K. Any costs incurred prior to a project’s approval may not be eligible. Also, projects that have been approved will be subject to a 5% fee (by CFIN) according to total costs.
- Eligibility: Applicants may be eligible if they have been incorporated for more than one year, have fewer than 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and below $50M in annual taxed revenues. Lastly, successful applicants must be CFIN members upon approval.
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.
- 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.
Top Government Loan Programs for Winter 2020
The BSP Program 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.
- Amount: Repayable contribution (no-interest loan) of up to 35% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $10M. 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.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is a government initiative operating over a five-year span that contributes support across Canada. CAP provides opportunities for agri-food industry funding. CAP is a system used to disburse repayable grant funding to SMEs, non-profits, and other major industry stakeholders.
- Amount: The CAP Program provides several streams of federal and provincial funding opportunities ranging from grants and loans for a maximum of up to $10M.
- Eligibility: Specific criteria varies for each stream. Base eligibility includes: Southern Ontario businesses, incorporated and profitable for three or more years. Must have five or more employees.
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a government funding initiative at the federal level that helps two of Canada’s top sectors: technology and industrial. SIF offers financial grants and loans that can amount to 50% of an eligible project’s total costs. The goal is to continue promoting venture into activities which continuously stimulate Canada’s productivity and economic advantages.
- Amount: Minimum funding contribution of $10M 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.
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) are funding programs that help with business expansion by investing in facilities and equipment to help with innovation. Programs are aimed towards SMEs and large-scale projects which may offer substantial impact on productivity in an organization, as well as create employment opportunities. With SWODF and EODF, applicants may receive grants or a combination of grants and repayable support contributions that may offset project costs.
- Amount: Up to 15% of project expenses to a maximum of $500K -$5M.
- Eligibility: Applicants must have been established for at least three years, have 10 or more full-time employees (five FTE in rural communities), commit to creating at least five new jobs, and be located in southwestern/eastern Ontario.
Additional Hiring Grants
To help offset costs associated with new hires, there are also various hiring grants available across Canada. Funding is typically quantified by the type of candidate hired and how long the contract will be; less funding is available to hire interns while more funding is available to support recent graduates.
- Amount: Depends on candidate type. Interns/Co-op students may help a business leverage an incentive of $5K to $7K per incremental new hire. Recent graduates may help a business leverage an incentive of $12K to $15K per new hire.
- Eligibility: Canadian for-profits and non-profits with the capacity to provide meaningful work experiences in an industry field. Candidates should be in (or recently graduated from) a business or educational program.
Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Credit
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) is Canada’s federal government tax credit which incentivizes business-led research and development projects and provides over $3 billion in tax incentives annually.
Receive up to 69% of labour and overhead costs, 36% of contractor costs, or 45% of material costs. Eligible activities must include research, applied research, or experimental development for developing new products, processes, or making incremental improvements.
Learn More About Grants and Loans for Your Business
The Canadian government grant and loan programs listed above are intended for small to medium-sized businesses that have been incorporated for at least three years, generate at least $500K in annual revenue, and have 15 or more employees. If you do not meet these qualifications, please visit our source for Canadian Startup Business Resources.
Looking to get started on accessing government funding opportunities? Connect with the Mentor Works team to learn which funding program could fit for your business, and make sure to subscribe to our Weekly Funding Newsletter to stay notified of the latest government funding news and updates.