As 2023 nears the end finish and fall turns to winter, Canadians are spending more time indoors and preparing for a new year of change and adaptation. During these times, the Government of Canada is also adapting to changing circumstances with the announcement of numerous new funding programs and initiatives available for business growth, innovation, and overall development.
In this post, you will discover our top choices for government grant programs and government loan programs. Additionally, we would also like to bring your attention to tax incentive programs. Take a moment to learn more about these programs in our free SR&ED vs. IRAP resource.
As the Canadian government works toward zero-emissions and sustainable growth, the continued success 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 tackle the labour market shortage, there are a wide array of government funding programs available this fall.
Top Government Grant Programs for Fall 2023
Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)
The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is designed to support small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to make digital adoptions in their businesses to remain competitive in the digital age. There are two funding streams of the CDAP program: the Grow Your Business Online stream and the Boost Your Business Technology stream.
- Amount: Funding for the CDAP program varies according to stream. For the Grow Your Business Online stream, applicants may receive up to a maximum of $2,400 in non-repayable grant contributions; or for the Boost Your Business Technology stream, applicants may receive up to 90% of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $15,000 per SME in non-repayable grant contributions.
- Eligibility: Eligible applicants vary depending on stream. Please assess eligibility by visiting the program page linked above.
- Timeline: Both program streams are currently open.
Canada Job Grant (CJG)
The Canada Job Grant (CJG) is a Canadian government funding program designed to reduce the costs of providing third-party skills training to new and existing employees. Launched in 2014, the Canada Job Grant allocates upwards of $194M annually to support upskilling new and existing employees so that they can learn new skills and become more valuable to their organization.
- Amount: Grants of 50-100% of training costs up to $15,000 per eligible hire depending on provincial stream. Please refer to the linked program page above for more details.
- Eligibility: Please note that the Canada Job Grant (CJG) offers stream for each province and territory, except for Québec, and each individual stream has varying funding amounts and eligibility criteria.
- Timeline: MostCJG provincial streams are open on a continuous intake.
The CanExport SMEs funding program provides Canadian government grants to Canadian businesses developing new export opportunities and markets, particularly high-growth priority markets and sectors, by covering a portion of eligible sales and marketing activities.
- Amount: Up to 50% funding to a maximum $50,000 grant per project; and applicants may request between $10,000 to $50,000 in grant funding per project.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for the CanExport program, Canadian businesses must:
- Maintain 1 to <500 full-time employees;
- Earn annual revenues ranging from $100,000 to $100,000,000;
- Be federally incorporated federally or classified as a limited liability partnership (LLP);
- Create eligible project expenses of $20,000 or more; and
- Be financially stable and able to pay all project expenses not covered by the program.
- Timeline: This program is currently on administrative pause but may become available as early as late fall 2023. We recommend subscribing to our newsletter for notification of future CanExport updates and intake periods.
Green Freight Program (GFP): Stream 1 – Assess and Retrofit
The Green Freight Program – Stream 1 provides funding up to $250,000 per eligible applicant towards Third-Party Fleet Energy Assessments and Truck/Trailer Equipment Retrofits. This GFP stream aims to increase the knowledge and capacity of the on-road freight transportation sector to adopt energy efficiency measures tailored to operational needs by providing financial support.
- Amount: Eligible applicants can receive up to 50% to a max of $250,000 in grant funding towards their project.
- Eligibility: Must have one or more heavy-duty vehicles for business used in their fleet that is licensed and insured to operate in Canada.
- Timeline: Applications are accepted on a continuous basis until March 31, 2027.
Top Government Loan Programs for Fall 2023
Business Scale-up and Productivity Program (BSP) Southern Ontario
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.
- Southern Ontario businesses;
- Incorporated and profitable for three or more years; and
- Must have five or more employees
Pre-revenue companies and those with fewer than five employees may be eligible with proof of scale-up potential.
Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) Programs
The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) officially announced intakes for the second round of their key research and development programs. These automotive grants encourage Canadian companies to generate new and innovative technologies and systems to advance the automotive industry and place Canada as a leader among global competitors.
- Amount: A maximum of $1,000,000 in funding over a maximum 24-month period through this stream. The applicant and/or the private sector are required to match each other’s funds by a minimum of 2:1.
- Eligibility: Applicants are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 500 full-time employees worldwide. Applicants must have operations in Ontario and carry out the project in Ontario.
Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a federal government funding program directed at Canada’s technology and industrial sectors. SIF provides financial grants and loans of up to 50% of a project’s costs with the intent of promoting investment in the types of activities which drive continuous 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.
Southwestern/Eastern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF/EODF)
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) are business expansion funding programs that support investment in innovative facilities and equipment. The programs attract SMEs with large-scale projects that provide a substantial impact on business productivity and create new employment openings within a company. Through these programs, successful applicants will receive grants or a combination of grants and repayable loans to 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 FTEs if located 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.
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, a Ryan Company team to learn which funding program could fit your business, and make sure to subscribe to our Weekly Funding Newsletter to be notified about the latest government funding news and updates.