Increased Funding for Innovation in Ontario

Published October 13th, 2016

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s recent Speech from the Throne on September 12, 2016, and subsequent mandate letters to Ontario’s Cabinet Ministers, reaffirms the provincial government’s commitment to investing in innovation and commercialization of new technologies. This commitment includes investing $400 million (all amounts in Canadian dollars) over the next five years through the province’s Business Growth Initiative to encourage research and development (R&D), help grow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and reduce regulatory burden.

With this renewed support in mind, it is a great opportunity to take a look at some of the federal and provincial programs currently available in Ontario to help SMEs develop and capitalize on their intellectual property. The following list is a summary of some of the funding and incentive programs available in Ontario.

Industrial Research Assistant Program (IRAP)

Administered by the National Research Council (NRC), the IRAP provides technical and financial support to qualified SMEs in Canada to help them undertake technological innovation. To be considered for funding, the basic eligibility criteria are that the firm: i) must be a SME in Canada, incorporated and profit-oriented; ii) must have 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; and iii) must have the objective to grow and generate profits through development and commercialization of innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services, or processes in Canada.

More information about IRAP can be found at:

Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program

Administered by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), the federal SR&ED program provides tax incentives for Canadian businesses conducting research and development in Canada. According to InvestInOntario, when combined with various provincial R&D programs, this program can reduce the after-tax cost of every $100 in R&D spending to between $37 and $61.

More information about the SR&ED Tax Incentive Program can be found at:

Collaboration Voucher Program

Administered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Collaboration Voucher Program provides companies with access to Ontario’s universities, colleges, and research hospitals. Eligible Ontario companies receive a voucher, which can be redeemed for credit at research institutes. A variety of types of vouchers exist ranging from ones for companies as small as two full-time employees, to help them develop, implement, and commercialize technical innovations, to vouchers for large industry associations and consortia, to address sector-wide R&D challenges.

More information about the Collaboration Voucher Program can be found at:


Premier Wynne’s announcement is a welcome development in the Ontario government’s ongoing support of business. A wide range of government programs and services exist to encourage Ontario businesses to invest in innovation and commercialization of new technologies, including sector-specific and region-specific programs. A more comprehensive list of these options can be found here.


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