Canadian Government Loans: Which One Is Right for Your Business?



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Canadian Government Loans

The Canadian government has hundreds of government business loans, programs, and resources to ensure Canadian businesses compete globally. Although many Canadian businesses opt for traditional funding, there are lots of advantage to be had when you leverage government funding for your business, which includes:

  • The purchase of equipment.
  • Product certification to meet global standards.
  • Attendance of international trade shows.
  • Product research and market analysis
  • Hiring employees for business expansion

There are four types of Canadian government funding for businesses. They are:

  1. Business expansion.
  2. Hiring & Training.
  3. Research & Development
  4. Capital & Tech Adoption.

    Business Expansion

You can get access to Canadian government grants for small businesses across Canada. Apart from grants, there are other government funding you can choose for your business, such as:

Ag Action Manitoba

Ag Action Manitoba is an initiative of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a government funding program that cuts across the federal, provincial, and territorial governments in Canada. The program is geared towards businesses in Manitoba, particularly the agricultural sector.

  • Amount

No fixed amount.

  • Timeline

Five years.

  • Eligibility

Some streams are exclusive to producers in the agricultural sector, while others are tailored toward agricultural groups.

  • Project Focus
  1. Market development
  2. Equipment and capital assets.
  3. Training and consulting.
  4. Food and sustainability.
  5. Industry development.
  6. Organizational development.

For more information, see here.


AgriAssurance is a financial program funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, using a 5-year plan to boost the agricultural sector in Canada. It is tailored to help businesses execute projects which enable them to meet international market benchmarks while expanding export opportunities.

  • Amount

C$25,000-C$50,000 in nonrepayable cash.

  • Eligibility

All Canadian businesses, indigenous organizations, and cooperatives in the agricultural food and products industry. Canadians who apply must directly participate in the growing, harvesting, processing, and transforming their produce into finished goods.

  • Timeline

Funding is available until March 31, 2023, or until funds have been fully disbursed.

  • Project Focus

The fund is designed for projects that help Small and Medium Enterprises receive third-party certification to meet export objectives.

Eastern Ontario Development Fund

The EODF is a government business loan and grant created for SMEs in Eastern Ontario. The funding is flexible, catering to a variety of projects, including the expansion of existing operations, the purchase of capital equipment, and the targeting of new marketing opportunities.

  • Amount

The loan is based on performance. Maximum funding of C$5 million. Conditional grants up to C$500,000 in communities with a population of less than 100k.

  • Timeline

Application Period 1.

2nd of December 2019 to 20th of January 2020.

Application Period 2.

5th of March 2020 to 20th of July 2020.

Application Period 3.

5th of June 2020 to 20th of July 2020

Application Period 4.

3rd of September 2020 to 19th of October 2020

  • Eligibility

You must establish your business at least 3 years before application with a minimum of 10 employees working full-time. Full implementation of projects within 3-4 years. Financial statements for the past three years.

CAP Ontario Processors

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership has a funding program for food processors and producers. Although some programs cut across all businesses in Canada, some of them – like this one, provide much-needed support to specialized industries. The food processing industries in Ontario benefit from this program as it eliminates a portion of the costs for a variety of competitive and productivity projects.

  • Eligibility
  1. You must be a manufacturer in Ontario.
  2. Products must be within the food and beverage industry or agricultural commodities production.
  3. Premises must have a valid and up-to-date ID number.
  4. Businesses must have a valid business number from the CRA.
  • Ineligible Applicants

The following persons/businesses do not qualify for government business loans and grants.

  1. Manufacturers of cigarettes and tobacco products.
  2. Restaurants, hotels, catering, and other food services.
  3. Businesses in the aquaculture industry.
  4. Food retail services and packaging manufacturers.
  • Amount

Businesses in Ontario can receive from C$20,000 to C$250,000 in government business grants, and depending on the focus of their projects.

CAP Ontario Producers

Just like CAP Ontario Processors, the Ontario government initiative for producers is to enable businesses in the production of agricultural products. Ontario businesses in this sector may use the funding for the following:

  1. Business planning.
  2. Product research and development.
  3. Equipment upgrades
  4. Improvement of safety standards.
  • Eligibility

Applicants are required to:

  1. File income tax in Ontario.
  2. Have a valid PID number.
  3. Have a valid FBRN.

The Premises Identification Number (PID) and the Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN) are compulsory except otherwise exempted.

Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program

The Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP) gives low-interest funds to SMEs in Manitoba, thus helping them to make larger capital investments.

  • Amount

C$500,000 to C$5,000,000 in repayable loans at an RBC prime rate of 2%

  • Timeline

Projects must be executed within 5 to 7 years.

  • Eligibility

Businesses must be established within Manitoba. Applicants must provide at least 20% of the project expenditure.

  • Project Focus

The execution of projects that will impact the Manitoba economy.

  1. Hiring and Training

Human resources remain a vital component of a business. There are many opportunities to improve the quality of your workforce by using government business loans. You can use government funding for projects like:

  • Hiring and training employees.
  • Improve staff operational efficiency.
  • Train staff in the use of new technologies.

Canada Job Grant

The Canada Job Grant (CJG) is a program started by the Canadian government in 2014 to lessen the burden of providing training for new and old staff, equipping them with third-party skills. The government disburses up to C$194 million each year to help improve the training of employees, so they have the skills to carry out new tasks, thus becoming more employable in the Canadian labor market.

The training programs must be carried out by a reputable, certified training organization and must focus on the improvement of business functions not limited to:

  1. Customer service.
  2. Project management.
  3. Financial planning
  4. Strategic planning
  5. Lean Manufacturing Standards
  6. Food safety.
  7. Software and Tech.
  8. Sales and Marketing.
  9. General Management
  • Amount

The government can provide up to C$10,000 in funding per trainee.

  • Eligibility

The Canada Job Grant has different eligibility criteria depending on your province. To find out more about your eligibility, see here.

TECTERRA Hire Program

The TECTERRA Hire Program isn’t a government business loan but a grant that enables small businesses to hire highly skilled and technical employees in the geomatics field. The employee may be a vital resource in the innovation and development of technology in the geomatics sector.

  • Amount

The program supports up to 50% of the employee’s salary with a ceiling limit of C$50,000. New hires relocating to Alberta will receive extra funding, up to C$10,000, to cover moving expenses.

  • Timeline

Applications are still ongoing. However, the new employee must stay throughout the one-year funding term, and the company must have the intention of employing such an employee permanently.

  • Eligibility

Geomatic companies established in Alberta. Applicants must have post-graduate degrees in the geomatics field and must be eligible to seek employment in Canada.

IRAP Youth Employment Program

IRAP YEP is a program that helps small businesses to hire young Canadians with post-secondary degrees. The graduate can be employed in different areas, from business development to customer service and technical departments.

  • Amount

A ceiling limit of $30,000 per candidate for a term of six months up to a year.

  • Timeline

26-52 weeks. Candidates must be kept off the payroll until approval by the IRAP representative.

  • Eligibility

All Canadian businesses are incorporated and in good financial health. Employers hire graduates before submitting their applications. Graduates must be between the ages of 15-30 years.

  1. Research and Development

R&D activities advance innovation, allowing Canadian businesses to compete favorably with international companies. Although most companies with a huge R&D budget are Big Business, the Canadian government now offers government business loans and grants to small businesses that seek to disrupt products and services in market control.

Alberta Innovates Accelerating Innovations into Care

This is a program that enables health technologies to be commercialized with the support of public health providers in partnership with Alberta SMEs.

  • Amount

A maximum of C$150,000 in project expenses.

  • Timeline

Applications are still ongoing.

  • Eligibility

SMEs established in Alberta with less than 500 staff and turnover lower than C$50 million yearly gross.

Accessible Technology Program

This is not a government business loan but a grant by the Canadian government to support technology innovation for people with disabilities. So far, the program has invested over C$80 million in funding under the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED), creating unique solutions that can bring about a more diverse and inclusive labor force.

  • Amount

A maximum of C$4,000,000 annually per project.

  • Timeline

Projects must be fully executed by the end of March 2022. Each applicant must get approval before funding.

  • Eligibility

All incorporated entities in Canada, including research institutions, NFPs, and for-profit Enterprises. Each applicant must provide 24 months of audited financial statements.

  • Project Focus

Technology innovation and commercialization to improve the quality and scope of access for persons with disabilities tapping into the digital economy.


Agriinovate is a financial program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) that provides a 5-year blueprint to improve Canada’s agri-food and agricultural sector. The program focuses on creating new technologies that can be commercialized to improve the quality of agri-based products, processes, and services.

  • Amount

Up to C$10 million in project funding.

  • Eligibility

All businesses established in the agricultural and agri-food industry.

  • Timeline

Applications still ongoing until the end of March 2023 or until funding has been fully disbursed. Repayment plan up to 10 years after project completion.

  • Project Focus

Innovation and commercialization of technologies to improve the agricultural and agri-food industry.

Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program

A collaboration between the two provinces, Alberta Innovates (AI) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence(OCE), are in charge of this program. The aim is to find unique solutions to industry challenges affecting both provinces. Funds are used to kick-start and speed up the innovation of technology that can help improve business services while enhancing competitiveness in the market.

  • Amount

From C$200,000 to C$500,000 in government business grants for each collaboration.

  • Timeline

All interested SMEs must put in their application via an Expression of Interest. Approval takes approximately six to nine months after submission of the application.

  • Eligibility

Businesses in Alberta and Ontario with ready-to-commercialize technology that can be implemented within two years.

  1. Capital and Tech Adoption

Unlike business expansion funding, capital and tech adoption is a type of government funding that focuses on spending directly responsible for improving business performance. Funds are disbursed at the federal and provincial levels to reduce the cost of innovating technologies, allowing for the commercialization of such tech faster than would have been possible with internal cashflows.

FedDev BSP Program

The FedDev Ontario Business Scale-up and Productivity Program helps grow businesses in Southern Ontario by offering government business loans without interest that are repayable once the project is complete. The program aims to ameliorate project costs as businesses adapt or adopt new tech, then repay the loans once it generates additional revenue.

  • Amount

Up to C$10 million in business expansion loans.

  • Eligibility
  1. Businesses must be financially stable and profitable for two years consecutively and must be located in Southern Ontario.
  2. A minimum of five full-time staff.
  3. Must be an indigenous business or incorporated by the province or federation.
  4. Must have the financial resources to execute projects in full, with a minimum contribution of 35% and an undertaking to pay off government contribution in full.
  5. Must have an effective blueprint for the initiation and completion of the project, including organization and human resources to complete it.
  6. Must show the project meets industrial or market demands which support the innovation of the new technology or business expansion.

Canada Small Business Financing Program

The CSBFP is an initiative of the Canadian government to support small businesses across Canada, giving them small business loans on par or even better than the terms provided by traditional lenders.

  • Amount

A maximum of C$1 million in government business loans for expansion projects, including purchasing capital equipment, building assets, critical software, and leasehold improvements.

  • Project

Business expansion projects that will stimulate or become a catalyst for growth in the Canadian business sector.

  • Timeline

Applications are ongoing. Applicants must apply to a traditional lender or credit union.

  • Eligibility

All Canadian businesses with a gross turnover of less than $10 million are eligible to apply. Final approval may depend on the applicant’s business plan and credit score.

Climate Action Incentive Fund CAIF

The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) is one of the newest government financial programs disbursing over C$200 million in its inception year (2019-2020). The federal carbon pollution pricing system generates funds for CAIF. The essence of CAIF is to provide critical funding for SMEs with projects that aim to reduce the carbon footprint, and energy consumption and save costs.

  • Amount

C$20,000 – C$200,000 in government funding per project and applicant.

  • Timeline

Applications are still ongoing. All projects must be fully completed by the end of March 2021.

  • Eligibility

All incorporated companies with less than 500 employees operating across the following provinces and territories:

  1. Saskatchewan
  2. Manitoba
  3. Ontario
  4. New Brunswick

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration Program (EVID)

The EVID program helps to quicken the actualization of clean energy technology and its commercialization. It addresses challenges in the continuous development of electric vehicles and the advancement of their charging infrastructure.

  • Amount

C$250,000 – C$3,000,000 in project funding.

  • Timeline

All projects must start by April 1st, 2020.

  • Eligibility

All private legal entities in Canada, including companies, academic institutions, and industrial associations.

  • Project Focus

Actionable projects that create solutions or further the advancement of Electric Vehicles technology.

Green Municipal Fund

The Green Municipal Fund (GMF) is a funding program bankrolled by the Canadian government to address environmental issues. It supports all levels of the project, including:

  1. Project planning.
  2. Research and feasibility studies.
  3. Pilot projects.
  4. Capital projects.
  • Amount

A maximum payable loan of C$5 million, 15% of which is a grant. Top projects may receive up to C$10 million in funding.

  • Timeline

Applications are still ongoing.

  • Eligibility

Municipal government organizations and collaborators. These include private sector businesses, NGOs, and NFPs.

  • Project Focus
  1. Energy efficiency.
  2. Fuel efficiency.
  3. Water quality.
  4. Water conservation.
  5. Waste management.
  6. Energy recovery.
  7. Waste diversion.

Rural Economic Development Fund

The Rural Economic Development Fund (RED) is a Canadian government funding program that stimulates rural economic development. For now, the program focuses on non-profits and municipal governments.

  • Amount

Up to C$250,000 in funding for eligible projects.

  • Eligibility

Non-profits and Municipalities in rural Southern Ontario.

Saskatchewan SLIM

The Saskatchewan Lean Manufacturing Program provides funding for a broad range of investments, including the adoption of best practices in the agri-business sector, as well as the adoption and adoption of new technologies that improve production and efficiency.

  • Amount

Grant funding up to C$500,000. Eligible expenditures must meet a minimum of C$200,000.

  • Timeline

Applications still ongoing until 2022.

  • Eligibility

Businesses must be in Saskatchewan and within the agri-food/agri-business industry operating for at least two years.

  • Project Focus

The adaption of new technologies and the adoption of best practices to improve the agri-food/agri-business industry.

Strategic Innovation Fund

The Strategic Innovation Fund is a program courtesy of the Canadian government that provides government business loans and grants to help boost productivity and technology development. It also encourages the transfer of technology and the commercialization of products that are market disruptors.


The program is open to all businesses and incorporated companies in Canada. However, it is a highly competitive program. Applicants must show their projects have high growth potential while meeting market demands.


The Canadian government provides many categories of funding for businesses across the length and breadth of Canada. The list is inexhaustive. Please see here to learn more about the funding you need for your business.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.