July 17th, 2015
# 1: Growing Forward 2 Apply for equipment, plant renovations, food safety certification, sales and marketing, energy and waste reduction, etc.
The Growing Forward 2 program offers government grants of up to 50% to a maximum of $350,000 towards activities that augment innovation, productivity, and competitiveness in Ontario’s agriculture/agri-food sector. Business and organizations eligible for this government funding program include food processors, producers, agricultural-based pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, bio-products, ornamentals (flowers, shrubs), pet food makers as well as other entities that manufacture or transform agricultural commodities and products. Requests for funding must be related to environment and climate change adaptation, animal and plant health, assurance systems, market development, labour productivity enhancements or business and leadership development. Specifically, grants are awarded for:
- new technologies, hardware and software (e.g. ERP systems) purchases, implementation and employee training.
- production equipment purchases, implementation and employee training.
- plant retrofits for equipment and technology installation, to reduce energy consumption and/or attain quality assurance and safety standards,
- engineering and consulting costs related to product, market and business development, supply chain management, employee education and skill development
Expenses incurred prior to receiving funding approval are not eligible for this grant. Growing Forward 2 promises a 45 business day response time, however, based on past program performance we recommend you do not request funding for activities occurring within 3 months of applying. Business applicants should be based or establishing operations in Ontario, be able to demonstrate potential income of at least $30,000 within three years of applying, plus cannot use awarded funding to undermine other Canadian companies. A maximum of two applications may be submitted per intake. Applicants are limited to having 3 applications underway during any given time. Food producers should attend a free OSCIA (Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association) workshop related to the focus area of their application project prior to applying. Next intake period for applications is August 10th to 27th 2015.
#2: SMART Apply for equipment
The Smart Advanced Technologies for Global Growth (ATGG) program will contribute 35% up to $100,000 towards the adoption or adapting of advanced technologies. An eligible applicant must be an Ontario manufacturer (including food processors) that has been in business for 2 years and has between 15 and 1000 employees. As well, applicants need to be “exporting or planning on exporting or selling in a value chain leading to export”. Projects must improve the facility’s operational efficiency by either increasing productivity, investing in green energy and technology, commercializing products, or developing new domestic or global markets. Eligible project costs include:
- Capital purchases and installation costsincluding equipment, software and IT purchases but excluding land, building or vehicle acquisitions.
- Consulting fees which directly relate to project implementation but exclude training.
Projects that began before April 1, 2014 or have incurred greater than 50% of eligible costs before application submission will not be considered for funding. Funding is limited; therefore it is advised to apply as soon as possible.
#3: AIME FPP Apply for vendor and employee training costs associated with buying equipment, food safety certification, etc.
The AIME FPP program will award up to 50% to $50,000 to Ontario food processors and producers for training that leads to advancements and innovation in the food-manufacturing sector. Types of support training include the:
- adaptation of new technology, processes or procedures that will drive competitive advantage
- development of new engineering skills
- operation of new software, hardware, technology or manufacturing methods/technologies
Third party instructor costs are supported by the fund. Eligible companies are required to have been in business in Ontario for at least three years and be able to demonstrate solid financial footing. Applicants must be employing at least 10 employees to a maximum of 1000 employees. Preference will be given to companies that sell domestically and have not previously received funding.
#4: Canada Ontario Job Grant Apply for equipment and software training cost as well management, food safety certification, sales and language instruction
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant will provide funding for training costs of 2/3rds up to $10,000/trainee. The grant is available to small, medium and large businesses that have developed a training plan for new and existing employees that will provide them with valuable skills pertaining to specific jobs. Programs must deliver training through a college of applied arts and technology, public university, union-based training centre, product vendor, or a private trainer that operates in compliance with the Private Career Colleges Act. Training must not exceed one year.
#5: Export Market Access Apply for tradeshow fees and other export market expenses
The Ontario Export Market Access program offers 50% funding up to $30,000 towards export development activities in foreign markets that generate less than 5% of applicant revenues. Funding is available under the following categories:
- Market Research: Funding for consulting fees and applicant travel towards carrying out market intelligence or research on market size, segmentation, growth, trends, buying attitudes, regulatory requirements, product requirements, distribution channels, and competitor activity strategy and performance, etc. as well as towards developing an international marketing/market entry plan.
- Market Tools: Funding for out of pocket costs in developing, producing, or procuring export marketing materials such as: display panels, pavilions, information booths (not to be used for retail activities) and translation of existing materials.
- Direct Contacts: Funding to participate in trade shows/events and technical seminars, as well as in government or association sanctioned incoming and outgoing trade missions. Eligible costs include: booth rental and related exhibition expenditures; on-site and local translation services; pre-show and show mail-out, inclusion and advertising; foreign travel for up to two company or potential client representatives; out of pocket expenses for prearranging and on-site meetings; foreign product testing for market certification; and follow-up activities. For missions, requests are limited to two in a twelve month period and preference will be given to first-time applicants.
- Foreign Bidding: Funding for tendering Ontario goods and services such as engineering, construction, architecture and management consulting against foreign competitors. Support is available to carry out pre-feasibility studies and proposal preparation for solicited-only bids. Eligible expenses include but not limited to the purchase of bid/tender documents; cost of obtaining bid or performance bonds; testing of goods and services for foreign market certification, company and “in market” consultant travel expenses.
Applicants must have: five to five hundred employees and minimum annual sales of $500,000, or be a partnerships/consortium of small to medium sized new or emerging exporters. Preference will be given to companies who have developed an international marketing/market entry plan, which demonstrates that the promoted product or service are accepted into the target market.
#6: Career Focus Apply for hiring post-secondary educated personnel under 30
The Career Focus Program will contribute 50% up to $20,000 towards employing a graduate of a Canadian university, college, CEGEP or a provincially certified program. Graduates need to be between 15 and 30 years old, out of school, and new employees. Eligible participants must have Canadian citizenship, permanent residence or refugee status, and not be in receipt of Employment Insurance benefits. Funding will be provided for:
- Business and skills development
- manufacturing and production
- sales, marketing and product commercialization
- quality control/assurance,
- Applications of information technologies
Also, graduates must be legally entitled to work according to provincial legislation. Offered work positions should be project-focused, last 30 hours a week for 3 months or until March 31st 2016, and provide meaningful job experience towards significantly increasing the graduate’s chance of securing long-term employment or self-employment.
#7: Employment Ontario Apply to hire or keep personnel
There are several programs offered by Employment Ontario to help employers find and train employees. There are also various associations related to Employment Ontario that provide eligible new employees with workplaces looking to hire. One program that can be applied for online or through an employment organization is the Ontario Summer Jobs Service, which offers a $2/hour contribution for hiring summer students. The Summer Jobs Service program runs every year from April through to September. Programs such as the Work Sharing Program help companies experiencing temporary downturns in business productivity. The program provides up to 3 days a week of EI benefits to employees who agree to a reduced workweek while their Canadian employer implements a recovery strategy towards revitalizing business activity. Eligible employers are private, not-for-profit, or publicly owned companies that have been in operations for two years. It is necessary that applicants have seen at least a 10% decrease in business activity over the last 6 months prior to applying for funding and are able to show that the need for reduced employee hours is temporary and unavoidable. Applications need to be submitted at least 30 days prior to the planned reduction in employee hours.
#8: Industrial Research Assistance Program Apply to get up to 80% for product, or process research
The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) contributes up to 80% to a maximum of $500,000 towards internal and external business R&D costs. To qualify, businesses in southern or urban Canada must have 500 employees or less. No workforce size restriction applies to companies in remote communities. Eligible costs include employee salaries, materials and laboratory expenses, and consulting fees. Support is available for projects of up to three years in duration.
#9: Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credits Apply to get a tax credit for research related costs
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program credits or refunds 15% to over 45% of the following expenses:
- internal wages
- Canadian third party contractors such as engineering, technical consulting, and laboratories
- test equipment, ingredients, materials and prototypes
- excess production costs while performing experimental production
- project related overhead
Eligible SR&ED expenses include developing, modifying, or improving products, production processes, equipment and packaging as well as reducing effluent and air emissions, energy usage and waste. Fundable activities must involve finding solutions to identified technological challenges. Purchasing or implementing an “off the shelf” solution (i.e. buying and customizing a computer software program) 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. Late filed claims can take up to twelve months to be processed.
#10: Ontario Power Authority
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) as well as Union and Enbridge gas distributors offer funding programs to support the cost of third party energy audits as well as the purchase and installation of energy efficient technologies, products and processes. The amount of funding provided is calculated on the expected energy savings and can be as much as $250,000 per facility per utility (i.e. electricity or natural gas). Incentives are also available for green energy generation and other business activities to reduce the province’s overall energy demand.