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As a Canadian business owner am I leaving money on the table?

May 17, 2023

The old adage, “leaving money on the table” applies to a lot of Canadian businesses – and they may not even be aware. In a recent survey of a large group of small-to-medium-sized Canadian-owned businesses, 32% of business owners were unaware that there are potential government grants available for their organizations. 42% knew that these grants existed but didn’t know how to apply for them.

These grants are essentially free money provided by the Canadian government to qualifying businesses. They don't have to be repaid and can be used for various purposes, such as funding research and development or hiring and training employees. Not only do government grants alleviate some of the financial burden associated with running a business, but they can also help companies remain competitive by investing in innovation and growth.

Particularly in recent years, there has been heightened federal government investment in grants pertaining to green initiatives, technology, and innovation. All told, as of May 2023, there are 321 grants available by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, of which 122 are available to Alberta and British Columbia based companies. In the interest of taking that money off the table and soundly depositing it into one’s coffers, we’ve rounded up a mere handful of the grants well-worth exploring.


Technology-Focused Canadian Grants

These grants are particularly important as technology plays a significant role in business operations today. The grants help support businesses that are looking to incorporate technology into their processes, improve their infrastructure, train employees on new software and hardware solutions, and expand their digital presence. Not only do these grants help businesses gain a competitive advantage, but they also help promote a more technologically advanced business environment.

·        Canada Digital Adoption Program: this grant provides up to $2,400 for e-commerce support and $15,000 for new technology implementation

·        The Industrial Research Assistance Program: this program, from the National Research Council of Canada, provides advice, connections, and funding to encourage Canadian businesses to increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market

·        The Strategic Innovation Fund: created in 2017, this funding is available to all sectors and applies to business and innovation growth projects as well as collaborations and networks projects.


Employee and Business Growth-Focused Canadian Grants

With a wide range of programs available, these grants provide invaluable financial support for everything from hiring and training new employees to investing in cutting-edge technology and equipment.

·        The Canada-Alberta Job Grant: eligible organizations can get up to $15,000 to cover training costs for hiring unemployed individuals or up to $10,000 to cover 67% of the training costs for existing staff members

·        Canada Summer Jobs: organizations with less than 50 full-time employees can access wage subsidies in order to provide quality summer work experiences for young people aged 15 – 30

·        CanExport: up to $50,000 in grant funding designed to help small-to-medium-sized business expand globally and break into international markets


Sustainability-Focused Canadian Grants

These grants give Canadian companies access to funding that can be used to develop more environmentally-friendly practices and products, promote energy efficiency, and minimize their carbon footprint. Moreover, sustainability-focused grants enable companies to enhance their reputation and build relationships with environmentally conscious customers, investors, and stakeholders.

·        Sustainable Development Technology Canada: will fund up to 40% of eligible projects ranging from feasibility studies to data collection services to diagnostic and testing tools and much more

·        Proof of Concept Program: in support of projects that help to establish the feasibility of innovative natural products or technologies that benefit people, animals, and the planet

·        Agricultural Climate Solutions: under the Natural Climate Solutions program, funding is allocated to develop and implement farming practices to tackle climate change


Is your organization interested in further exploring eligible grant opportunities? That's where your accountant comes in. They can provide guidance and insight on grant opportunities that may be available to your business. They can also assist with preparing financial statements and other required forms to ensure your application is accurate and complete.


The Integrated Advisory Network consists of progressive CPA firms, along with best-in-class professional advisors, service, and product specialists, who work together to deliver an elevated and holistic client experience. One that optimizes both their personal and professional lives with an integrated financial strategy designed to help clients reach their goals.