Every year, Ontario develops industry leaders in Canada and the world thanks to government support. Ontario’s growth is a result of many industry efforts that build a single, thriving province.
Ontario’s agriculture sector is a great example, showing impressive growth in industries such as meat processing, food and beverage, and more.
“Ontario agri-food businesses feed millions of people around the world. With more than 3,000 active food and beverage processors, 97,000 workers, and $39 billion in revenues, Ontario is one of the sector’s most active and competitive jurisdictions in North America.”
Ontario’s manufacturing sector has also shown consistent growth via government support by increasing the province’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) and creating jobs for local communities.
“Ontario’s manufacturing industry generates $270 billion in annual sales and accounts for 18% of the province’s GDP, employing over 12% of Ontario’s total workforce.”
Another great example of Ontario’s success is the massive growth of the software development and computer service industries, which help streamline business processes and increase overall efficiencies.
“Businesses in the computer systems design and related services industry reported total operating revenue of $64.1 billion, up 12.4% from 2018. The largest share of operating revenue came from Ontario (50.7%), followed by Quebec (24.6%).”
-Statistics Canada, Software Industry Report
Much of the success in Ontario is thanks to talented workers, strong communities, and resilience. However, Ontario’s success is also largely driven by a variety of Ontario government funding support for research and development, business expansion, capital and technology adoption, and hiring and training. Although there are many forms of government support, this article will be discussing the top grants, loans, and tax credits for Ontario in 2022.
Canadian Agricultural Partnership Ontario
This initiative is a part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) which is available to businesses across Canada. However, some CAP programs only provide support to specific provinces, such as Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Ontario.
CAP Ontario is split into three streams for (1) Food Processors, (2) Food Producers, and a rebranded (3) Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative stream for Organizations & Collaborations to help overcome agri-industry challenges.
These streams may provide the following funding amounts for successful applicants:
- Processors: May receive up to 25–50% eligible expenses to a max $20,000–$250,000 in grants per project;
- Producers: May receive up to 30–50% eligible expenses to a max $100,000 in grant funding per project; and
- Organizations: May receive up to 50–75% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $1 million.
The three CAP Ontario streams may provide funding for applicants that meet the following funding requirements:
- Processors: Applicants must be Ontario-based agri-manufacturers transforming agricultural commodities, food, beverage, or agri-based bio-products;
- Producers: Applicants must be Ontario-based food producers; and
- Organizations: Applicants must be Ontario-based agricultural collaborators.
The following activities may prove eligible for applicants of the following three CAP Ontario streams:
- Processors: Must make significant productivity improvements to their operations such as waste management processing;
- Producers: Business planning, equipment improvements, safety and traceability, and farm improvements.; and
- Organizations: Economic development, environmental stewardship, labour supply, and protection and assurance.
Deadline to Apply
All streams of CAP Ontario operate under an intake period structure. Each stream has sub streams with unique intake periods announced throughout the year. To learn more about these programs and their deadlines, check out the CAP Ontario program page.
Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF)
The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) are business expansion funding programs that help organizations invest in new facilities and equipment. Economic development organizations, municipalities, and consortia are also supported with infrastructure or implementing strategies to advance regional priorities. EODF and SWODF operate in different regions but are both organized into the same two streams: the Business Stream and the Community Economic Development Stream.
- Business Stream: Receive up to 15% of project expenses to a maximum of $500,000–$5 million depending on whether businesses are applying for a grant or a loan.
- Community Economic Development Stream: Receive up to 50% of eligible project costs for a maximum of $1.5 million in grant funding.
- Business Stream: Must be a businesses located in Eastern or Southwestern Ontario, operating for over three years, and commit to five or more new jobs, and five or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).
- Community Economic Development Stream: Must be located in Eastern or Southwestern Ontario municipalities, consortia, or economic development organizations.
- Business Stream: Has more than $500,000 investments in new operations in Eastern or Southwestern Ontario or improved productivity, innovation, and export potential that create jobs.
- Community Economic Development: Has more than $100,000 investments to support private sector investment, growth, and job creation.
Deadline to Apply
Both the Business and Community Economic Development Streams have upcoming application intake deadlines of March 23, 2022, and July 26, 2022, for both Eastern and Southwestern Ontario Development Funds (EODF and SWODF).
Ontario Manufacturing Training Program (OMTP)
The Ontario Manufacturing Training Program (OMTP) supports new technology, new processes or procedures, as well as a company change to increase innovation or retooling leading to new lines of production. Training should be linked to innovations in domestic supply chain enhancements or competitiveness. This includes expanding into new or enhanced domestic markets.
Applicants may access up to 25–50% of costs to a maximum $100,000 per application.
Ontario manufacturers with 10–1,000 employees are eligible to apply.
Training that supports highly skilled personnel in any area that leads to innovation or productivity.
Deadline to Apply
This program is currently closed, and next intake will be announced as 2022 approaches.
Canada–Ontario Job Grant (COJG)
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG), an Ontario government funding program, offers training grants for employers. Companies may receive non-repayable funding from the government towards third-party training programs, which may include training for in-demand skillsets within the industry. This training is required to improve the employability and value employees may offer. This program includes new hires in these training sessions which may allow for employers to maximize their funding potential.
Successful applicants may receive up to 50-83% of for employee training costs for up to $15,000 per trainee.
Businesses and organizations located in Ontario that meet these requirements are eligible to apply:
- For-profit business;
- Non-profit organization;
- Employer consortium; or
- First Nations band council.
Most training programs may qualify for COJG funding. However, businesses may choose to focus on one of the three specific training categories:
- Career or Development Training: Enhancing employee skills, knowledge, and career advancement;
- Maintenance and Refresher Skills Training: Updating employee skills and knowledge, and/or refining the abilities of specialists within an organization; and
- Essential Skills Training: Providing the skills needed for an employee to achieve their work, continue learning, and possess skills for life. These should be transferable skills employees can use in different industries and succeed in the workplace beyond.
Application packages are accepted year-round, so employers should apply for funding in accordance with their expected training start date.
CanExport for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
The CanExport SMEs program supports Canadian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are seeking new export opportunities and markets. This program focuses on particularly high-growth priority markets and sectors. CanExport SME covers a portion of eligible sales and marketing activities to help streamline the process for SMEs.
Successful applicants may access up to 50% of their costs to a maximum of $50,000 per application.
Applicants must be incorporated in Canada and be a for-profit business with less than 500 full-time payroll employees. They must also generate between $100,000-$100 million in Canadian annual revenue.
Eligible activities for the CanExport program typically fall under the broad category of international market expansion. However, with COVID-19 precautions, there may be some changes for activities related to in-person travel. To learn more about CanExport SME eligibility related to travel, contact a government funding professional. Common eligible activities are:
- Virtual trade events;
- Website SEO;
- Adaptation of marketing tools, IP/product certification, and market research; and
- Activities requiring physical presence, such as in-person trade shows, networking functions, meetings, or conferences (ineligible if travel restrictions are in place).
Applicants must be approved before incurring eligible expenses. It takes up to 60 business days to receive a verdict on submitted applications.
Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF)
The Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) is a federal program that supports Canadian economies for consistent growth and jobs creation amidst COVID-19 setbacks. The JGF includes up to $70 million for small businesses established after January 2020.
Successful applicants may access up to 50-90% of costs for economic growth projects.
SME businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and Indigenous organizations are eligible to apply for this program.
To be eligible for this program, the activity must strengthen Canada’s recovery and growth, provide digital tech adoption, foster an inclusive recovery, and/or support the transition to a green economy.
Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until the funding is allocated. All projects must be completed prior to March 31, 2024.
Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) program for Canada’s industrial and technology sectors offers financial contributions to promote investment in sustained productivity and economic benefits. Financial support offered by SIF is allocated on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the funding application review committee.
Applicants who submit a project budget of at least $20 million may access up to 50% of eligible costs.
Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.
Activities that support industrial R&D, commercialization, and technology demonstration.
Applications are accepted on a continuous intake for streams 1, 2, and 3. There is a call-for-proposals stage for streams 4 and 5.
There are currently five streams for the SIF program. To learn more about the in-depth criteria for each, please refer to the Strategic Innovation Fund program page.
NRC – Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
The NRC – Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is designed to accelerate research and development projects of Canadian innovators. Businesses who are developing and implementing process improvements are the primary targets to receive research funding contributions through IRAP. Additionally, large-scale technology adoption projects that lead to new capabilities may be considered.
Successful applicants may access up to 60–80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor expenses.
Applicants must be incorporated and financially stable businesses with under 500 full-time payroll employees to be eligible to apply.
Activities include innovative technical research and development projects with a level of technical uncertainty.
This program has an open intake. The two-stage application process starts with a meeting with an Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA).
Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED)
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit is the largest single source of Canadian federal government support that incentivises business-led research and development projects. The SR&ED program provides more than $3 billion in tax incentives to over 20,000 claimants annually.
A tax credit may be allotted for up to 69% of labour and overhead costs, 36% of contractor costs, and 45% of material costs. Please note that there is a provincial variant of this program as well that federal SR&ED applicants should explore.
Applicants should be conducting basic research, applied research, or experimental development in Canada. They must also be developing new products or processes or making incremental improvements.
Eligible expenditures may be labour, contractors, materials, and overhead costs that directly relate to and commensurate with the needs of the activity required to attempt to resolve the technological uncertainty, obstacle, or challenge.
The reporting deadline for this program is 18 months from the end of the tax year in which the qualifying expenses were incurred.
To learn more about the SR&ED program, visit our comprehensive Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program page.
How Can Mentor Works Help with Government Funding?
These programs contribute towards the incredible success that Ontario sees year after year. These grant, loan, and tax incentive contributions that the Ontario provincial and federal governments provide to Ontario are directly related with the huge growth seen in a variety of industries and their export activities.
“In 2020, Canada’s Ontario exported $187B, making it the 1st largest exporter out of the 13 exporters in Canada.”
-The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC)
However, these are not the only government funding programs available in Ontario. To see a full and comprehensive list, visit our government funding directory for a comprehensive list of the top programs provincially and federally. To stay up to date on all relevant programs, visit our government funding news page or subscribe to our government funding newsletter.
Mentor Works streamlines the government funding process through optimized processes and resources. Businesses are paired with an experienced team of professional grant writers who complete each stage of the funding process.