Government grants, loans, tax credits and support services for Ontario businesses

While Ontario offers some of the world’s most welcoming immigration programs, a highly-skilled workforce and strategic access to the North American market, we know that government programs and incentives can drive the decision-making process to relocate or expand new and existing operations. That’s why we offer programs and services that speak to the needs of your business, spanning research and development, site selection, talent attraction, future-skilling, business costs, exporting and industry-specific supports.

Below is a snapshot of the types of programs and incentives available to businesses operating in Ontario.

To find out what supports may be available to your company, please connect with us.

Attracting Business Investment through Invest Ontario

As part of the 2021 Budget, the government is committing $400 million over four years to create the Invest Ontario Fund, which will support Invest Ontario and encourage investments in the key sectors of advanced manufacturing, technology and life sciences.

R&D and Technology

Ontario is where bold ideas come to life, tackling some of the biggest challenges the world has ever seen. Whether in the science lab or the computer lab, we have supports in place to help advance innovations across all sectors through research and development projects and at the forefront of the global tech breakthroughs.

  • Customized Working Capital—A loan program for tech companies that want to raise working capital for growth through financing from $250,000 to $35 million.
  • Ontario Innovation Tax Credit (OITC)—An 8 per cent refundable tax credit on a maximum of $3 million in eligible expenditures. OITC can be paired with the federal tax credit on the same annual claim for SR&ED.
  • Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit (ORDTC)—A tax credit for Canadian corporations based in Ontario. These corporations can earn a 3.5% non-refundable credit on eligible R&D to offset corporate income taxes payable.
  • Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive (SR&ED)—A tax credit for companies to lower costs for key inputs, including wages/salaries.
  • Women in Technology Fund (WIT)—A fund that supports Canadian women-led technology companies, of any size, at every stage of growth.

Regional Programs

Ontario is home to a mosaic of communities, each with unique attributes and opportunities that help local businesses succeed. Depending on your company’s site requirements, locating in different regions across the province could unlock additional incentives.

  • Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF)—A funding program available to businesses based in Eastern Ontario that are expanding operations. Funding amount is up to 15% of eligible project costs.
  • Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)—A funding program available to businesses based in Southwestern Ontario that are expanding operations. Funding amount is up to 15% of eligible project costs.
  • Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)—An agency of the Ontario government with funding programs for businesses, businesses looking to relocate and communities looking to promote and stimulate economic development, all in Northern Ontario. Funding can be in the form of conditional contributions and loans, depending on the program criteria.
  • Southern Ontario Business Scale-Up and Productivity—A program that helps established Southern Ontario businesses scale-up and assists with adopting new, innovative technologies that support productivity.

Labour and Hiring

From advanced manufacturing to medical technology, financial services to forestry, Ontario companies have access to a robust pipeline of talent through the province’s 44 colleges and universities that produce workforce-ready graduates at all skill levels, including nearly 55,000 STEM graduates annually. To complement our steady supply of talent, Ontario layers on employment programs and tax credits to further assist businesses to access new talent and upskill or reskill their existing workforce—critical factors to compete successfully in the global marketplace.

  • Co-operative Education Tax Credit—Hire business-ready undergrad, master’s and PhD talent from Ontario universities and colleges with help from this 25-30% refundable tax credit (to a max of $3,000 per placement).
  • IRAP Youth Employment Program—Companies looking to develop new products are eligible to hire an intern to work on R&D innovation products.
  • Canada-Ontario Job Grant—Receive one-sixth of eligible training costs, to a max of $10,000 per person to train new or existing employees in Ontario.
  • Northern Ontario Internship Program—The program provides recent graduates interested in launching and building their careers in Northern Ontario access to internships.
  • Mitacs—An internship program for Ontario R&D projects covering 50% up to $15,000 and a postdoctoral fellowship program for companies looking to develop an in-house R&D team covering 50% of the $60,000 stipend per fellow per year.

Supporting Business Costs

Businesses operating in Ontario can tap into incentives and usage optimization programs for “cost of doing business” items such as utilities and capital investments.

  • Save-ON-Energy—A program to help industrial consumers manage and conserve their energy usage better.
  • Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI)—An initiative that supports large electricity consumers by charging global adjustments based on their contribution to the top five peak demand hours in a year, rather than on the total volume of electricity consumed.
  • Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program (NIER)—A program that assists Northern Ontario’s largest industrial electricity consumers to reduce energy costs and sustain jobs. This program provides electricity rebates to qualifying participants that commit to the development and implementation of a comprehensive Energy Management Plan and work to achieve energy efficiency and conservation targets.
  • Natural Gas—A program to help natural gas industrial consumers manage and conserve their energy usage better.
  • Capital Cost Allowance—Businesses in Ontario can free up more capital for investments in business growth, innovation and productivity by writing-off a larger share of their capital costs in the investment year.

Export Support

Robust supports are in place to help you succeed in your exporting goals—whether you’re a new exporter exploring possibilities or a seasoned exporter ready to expand global market reach.

  • Export Guarantee Program—A federal program that helps businesses acquire more financing to expand their sales into a new market. The guarantees cannot exceed $10 million.
  • Export missions, programs and events—In addition to 1:1 export advisory services and exporter preparation workshops, the Ontario government organizes and delivers virtual and in-person export business missions, incoming buyers missions, and market and sector-specific webinars for Ontario businesses looking to export outside Canada.
  • CanExport Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Program—A federal program that provides financial assistance to SMEs to develop new export opportunities. The program reimburses up to 75% of eligible expenses (between $15,000 and $75,000 in funding per project).

Industry Programs

Ontario offers a wide range of incentives and programs that are designed to support businesses operating within specific industries. Connect with us to learn more about what industry-specific supports are available to your business.

  • Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program (FSIIP)—An Ontario government program that provides funding for strategic investments in the forest sector that improve productivity and innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access, provide benefits to Ontario’s broader forest sector and strengthen regional economies.
  • Interactive Digital Media Fund (IDM)—This fund is aimed at strengthening and stimulating economic growth in the interactive digital media sector. Programs include: Concept Definition and Production; Global Market Development; Marketing Support; and Industry Development.
  • Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC)—A refundable tax credit based on eligible Ontario labour expenditures and eligible marketing and distribution expenses claimed by a qualifying corporation with respect to interactive digital media products.
  • Canadian Agricultural Partnership—A five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors. In Ontario, cost-share funding under the Partnership supports projects in economic development in the agri-food and agri-products sectors, environmental stewardship to enhance water quality and soil health and protection and assurance to reinforce the foundation for public trust in the sector through improved assurance systems in food safety and plant and animal health.
  • Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund—An application-based, cost-sharing program designed to provide non-capital funding to projects that encourage the development of innovative new tourism products, support tourism investment or build the capacity of Ontario’s tourism industry.

Last updated February 16, 2021