Program Supports Innovation and Economic Growth in Southern Ontario
The Business Scale-Up and Productivity Stream (BSPS) offers interest-free loans of up to 35% to a maximum of $10 million for businesses to adopt/adapt innovative technologies, processes and/or services, as well as for investments that lead to business growth. Eligible activities include but are not limited to:
- Developing foreign markets and securing new customers;
- Producing/commercializing innovative products, processes and services;
- Purchasing and integrating leading-edge technologies;
- Employee training and skills development;
- Introducing industries and creating jobs in Southern Ontario communities;
- Facility expansion and modernization.
Funding is available to Southern Ontario companies that have 5-1000 employees and have been in operation for at least 2 years. Eligible expenditures include equipment purchases and installation, facility retrofits, consulting fees, marketing and promotion, as well as project-related employee wages and other expenses. Funding will not be provided for building/land purchases, debt refinancing, or for projects that aim to increase sales to individual consumers. Repayment will begin within one year of project completion; terms/periods will be determined on a case-by-case basis. To be considered for a loan, applicants must request at least $500,000 from BSPS (ie, invest approximately $1.5 million or more) for projects ending no later than December 31, 2023.
Program Supports Economic Growth and Job Creation in Eastern Ontario
The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) offers up to $5 million in grants and interest-free loans for investments that lead to job creation, economic growth, innovation and collaboration. Eligible expenditures include equipment, labour, consulting services, facility retrofits and expansions, as well as employee training and other project-related costs incurred over a two to four-year period.
Businesses must have/plan to have a location in one of the following Eastern Ontario counties: Frontenac, Halliburton, Hastings, Kawartha Lakes, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Lennox, Addington, Muskoka, Northumberland, Ottawa, Peterborough, Prescott, Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew, Stormont, Dundas or Glengarry. Companies are required to have at least 3 years of financial statements, as well as conduct business in manufacturing, processing, information and communication technologies, life sciences, tourism, or the cultural industries.
Investments under $10 million are eligible for grants of 15% up to $1.5 million. Investments over $10 million that lead to the creation of at least 50 jobs are eligible for grants of up to $1.5 million, plus interest free loans of up to $3.5 million for a maximum of 4 years.
Applicants located in Eastern Ontario municipalities with populations exceeding 20,000 or 100 persons per square kilometer, must have at least 10 employees, invest a minimum of $500,000, and commit to creating 10+ jobs. Companies located in smaller communities that have 5-10 employees are required to invest a minimum of $200,000, and increase their workforce by 50%.
Costs associated with business acquisitions, debt financing, ongoing operational costs, as well as vehicle and land purchases are not eligible for funding.
Program Decides Licensed Cannabis Producers are Eligible for Training Grant
The Canada Ontario Job Grant will contribute up to 100% of out-of-pocket costs towards employee training to a maximum of $15,000/trainee. Funding is available for training existing and new employees in:
- Career or Development Instruction: upgrade the knowledge, skills, and ability of employees to help them assume greater responsibility in higher positions e.g. technical skills development, enrollment in a university or college course.
- Maintenance and Refresher Skills: update and sustain the specialized subject-matter knowledge of trainees the beneficiaries. Maintenance or refresher training usually deals with new information and new methods, as well as review of older materials e.g. equipment, quality assurance, HACCP, GSFI training.
- Essential Skills: skills needed for work, learning and life e.g. ESL, reading, writing, ESL numeracy.
Eligible training costs include instruction/tuition fees, instructional materials and tools expenditures as well as certification and examination expenses. Training must be delivered by a for-profit training company, a public university, college or school, or a government recognized unionized or private training institution. Expenses such as instruction provided by applicant employees or owners, as well as trainee wages and other internal costs are not eligible for funding. There is no limit on the amount of funding requested, or the frequency and number of applications which can be made. However, funding will only be awarded for instruction given by one trainer over a period of one year or less.
Challenging but not Impossible to get Support for R&D
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program credits/refunds 20% to over 45% of the following expenses:
- Internal wages
- Canadian third party contractors such as engineering, technical consulting, and laboratories
- Testing equipment, ingredients, materials and prototypes
- Costs attributed to performing experimental production
- Project related overhead
Eligible SR&ED projects include developing, modifying or improving products, production processes, equipment and packaging, as well as reducing effluent/air emissions, energy usage and waste. For food processors, the program supports R&D projects such as:
- Increasing moisture content or preventing product breakage
- Testing binders to hold food products together
- Experimentation and testing of methods for elimination of bacterial contamination in food product manufacturing
- Replacing one ingredient with another while maintaining product flavour, fat content or texture
Activities must involve finding solutions to identified technological challenges. Purchasing or implementing an “off the shelf” solution (i.e. buying and programming computer software) is not eligible for support. However, working with an engineering company or internal staff to identify, develop and test possible technical methods/solutions are eligible activities. SR&ED claims must be filed within 18 months of your fiscal year end. Late filed claims can take up to twelve months to be processed.
Program Supports Training on New Equipment
The Achieving Innovation & Manufacturing Excellence Initiative Global Initiative (AIME) will contribute 50% up to $100,000 for training that leads to increased international competitiveness. The program pays for trainers, content and curriculum, trainee wages, travel, facility rentals, and materials/supplies. Training must support innovation through the adaptation/adoption of new processes, procedures and technologies, or through specialized employee skill development. Supported training initiatives include, but are not limited to:
- Operation of advanced hardware and software
- Introduction/enhancement of new safety procedures or production processes
- Operation of new equipment, materials and technologies
Eligible companies have between 10 and 1,500 employees, operate a manufacturing facility in Southern Ontario, and have been in business for at least 3 years. Companies who have previously received AIME support can apply for 25% funding up to $100,000 as long as they have not received AIME funding within the last 2 years.
Funding Offered to Hire New Employees
The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Career Focus program will contribute 50% up to $14,000 towards employing a graduate of a Canadian university, college, CEGEP or provincially certified program*. To receive funding, employees must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or have refugee status, and be between 15 and 30 years old. Support will be provided for full-time positions (30 hours or more/week) that last from four months to one year and provide meaningful job experience towards increasing the graduate’s chance of securing long-term employment or self-employment in the agriculture sector. New employees may begin their work-placements after April 1, 2019. The deadline to apply for funding is November 30, 2018.
*Please note that Indigenous participants are not required to have graduated from a post-secondary program to be eligible for funding.