Archive for the ‘funding programs’ Category

Workforce Development Funding for Biotech Companies

As issues with climate change and rapidly depleting resources are becoming more urgent, there is a pressing need to form strategies to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). In Canada, a bio-economy is being adapted as a key strategy to support SDGs. Bio-economy is defined as economic activities associated with the invention, development, production and use of products and processes that are based primarily on biological resources. This emerging paradigm spans several industries including medical technology, agri-biotech, renewable energy, and biomaterials.

Rapid developments in biotechnology require a skilled talent pool to meet industry demands. However, the shortage of skilled professionals in the biotech space and unwillingness to employ recent graduates stunt industry growth. As 80% of the Canadian bio-economy consists of small to medium-sized enterprises, limited resources are often cited as a barrier to hiring new talent.

Wage-subsidy programs, like the Student Work Placement program and the Science Horizons Youth Internship program offered by BioTalent Canada, can help knock down barriers related to initial hiring costs by providing financial support to employers. BioTalent Canada also facilitates connections between full-time students/recent graduates and employers seeking fresh candidates that may potentially meet future recruitment needs through student work placement and internship programs.

Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)

Wage subsidies provided by this program cover the cost of a co-op student’s salary by 50% (maximum of $5,000); or 70% (maximum of $7,000) for first-year students and under-represented groups. Since September 2017, the program has placed over 900 students with over 275 employers providing the students with industry skills and employers with opportunities to increase their workforce.

To qualify for the program, employers must:

  • Show a clear focus on bio-economy, in either the nature of co-op position or the employer.
  • Provide a full-time co-op placement position with a minimum of 16-week placement.

The participant/student must be:

  • Enrolled as a full-time student at a post-secondary education institution and studying in fields related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), business and/or any other program
  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or persons to whom refugee protection has been conferred and legally entitled to work in Canada

Applications are currently being accepted for 2019-2020 co-op placements.

Science Horizons Youth Internship Program

This program offers wage subsidies (maximum of $15,000) to bio-economy employers for hiring recent STEM graduates into a STEM position with an environmental focus. As of March 2019, the program has placed 106 graduates with 67 employers across 37 cities nationwide. Growing participation in this program would equip participants with tools to pursue career paths specific to solving environmental/sustainability issues and increase the number of skilled professionals in the environmental sector.

To qualify for the program, employers must:

  • Provide a position with a clear environmental component.
  • Provide an internship position with full-time hours and a duration between 6-12 months (minimum of 6 months)
  • Shoulder 50% of the internship cost.

The participants must be:

  • Aged 30 or under at the beginning of the internship and graduated in the last 3 years from a post-secondary institution from a STEM program.
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada, and legally entitled to work in Canada

The program is currently accepting applications until March 30th, 2020.

Bio – Economy Subsectors Eligible for Funding From Bio-Talent Canada


  • Medical cannabis
  • Medical Devices
  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Natural-compound bioactives
  • Bio-molecules
  • eHealth/Artificial Intelligence


  • Biodiesel
  • Ethanol
  • Methane
  • Bio-oil
  • Sustainable development


  • Biocatalyst
  • Biosolvents
  • Bioplastics
  • Biocoatings
  • Bioadhesives


  • Agri-fibre composites
  • Animal Genetics
  • Plant Genetics
  • Livestock Vaccines
  • Animal Nutritional Supplements
  • Functional Foods

To learn more about how your company can leverage non-dilutive funding to develop your workforce, grow your business, support R&D activities, and accelerate commercialization contact us today for a free consultation.

Authored by Rebecca Galicha, Technical Writer at NorthBridge Consultants.

New Federal Climate Change Action Incentive Fund Open for Applications

SMEs operating in sectors such as building, transportation, industry, waste, and agriculture, within Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, or New Brunswick may be eligible to receive a rebate to cover up to 25% of eligible project costs for a maximum of $250,000 through The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIFSME Project Stream to support retrofit projects that reduce energy usage, costs/ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

On April 1, 2019, the federal fuel charge came into effect in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support clean growth, and incentivize the reduction of energy use through conservation and efficiency measures. According to the Department of Finance, the fuel charge rates are based on global warming potential/ emission factors used by Environment and Climate Change Canada, and reflect a carbon pollution price of $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2019, rising by $10 per tonne annually to $50 per tonne in 2022.

The Government of Canada has committed to return most of the direct proceeds from the fuel charge to individuals and families in those provinces through Climate Action Incentive payments. The remainder of proceeds will be distributed to SMEs, organizations in the MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, colleges, schools, and hospitals), and NFPs (not-for-profit organizations) through programming such as CAIF.


Eligible applicants are incorporated small- or medium-sized enterprises (with less than 500 employees), operating in at least one of these provinces: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick, and requesting between $20,000 and $250,000.

Eligible proposed project must be implemented after the approval-in-principle notification sent by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and no later than March 31, 2021. The proposed project must also help your enterprise reduce energy use, costs, and/or GHG emissions associated with its operations, lead to long term cost savings, and will not cause increased GHG emissions from its operations.

Eligible CAIF SME Project Stream categories include (but are not limited to) the following activities:

  • Agricultural retrofits
  • Building retrofits
  • Electricity, energy or fuel production
  • Industrial process improvements
  • Transportation retrofits
  • Waste


The application intake period for the CAIF SME Project Stream will open for 90 days starting on July 17, 2019, or until funding is exhausted.  

If you would like more information on the CAIF SME project Stream or other government funding sources that can help your company innovate and grow, contact us today for a free consultation.

New Grant for Hiring STEM and Business Students

If you plan to hire a student or recent graduate for a work term, the new Student Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Program can can help support up to 50-70% of wages, for a maximum $5-7K depending on the candidate you hire.

The WIL program aims to support partnerships between employers  and post-secondary education (PSE) institutions to create more work-integrated learning placements in in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and business occupations for Canadian students.

Under the Student Work-Integrated Learning Program, Canadian employers in eligible sectors that offer quality work-integrated learning placements to PSE students and recent graduates (within 12 months before starting the WIL contract period) will be eligible to receive wage subsidies:

  • Up to 50% of wages or up to $5,000, to provide a student or recent graduate with meaningful WIL opportunities that develop foundational and entrepreneurial/business skills;
  • Up to 70% of wages or up to $7,000, to provide a student or recent graduate with meaningful WIL opportunities that develop foundational and entrepreneurship/business skills for the following under-represented groups: a) women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); b) Indigenous students; c) recent immigrants (arrived in Canada during the last 5 years); d) persons with disabilities; and e) first-year students.

Eligible emerging sectors include:

  • Advanced manufacturing;
  • Intelligent retail;
  • Fintech; or
  • Any identified high growth sector such as entertainment and gaming, connected transportation, biotehcnology, cyber security,  e-Health, clean tech, etc.

Interested small- and medium-sized enterprises, are encouraged to contact the program directly or fill out the application form to receive more information or to participate in the program, or partner with local eligible PSE institutions to provide work-integrated learning placements for students or recent graduates.

$1.26B Canada Strategic Innovation Fund Launched

Manufacturers and technology firms who invest in innovation can now apply for repayable and non-repayable funding of up to 50% of eligible project costs under the recently launched Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). 

If your company is investing in R&D or expansion, the SIF can help support the costs of direct labour, subcontractors and consultants, as well as overhead, direct materials and equipment, land and building and other direct costs.

Launched on July 5th 2017 with the objective of spurring Canadian innovation, the SIF provides funding under four streams:

  • Stream 1 (R&D)- Encourage R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and commercialization
  • Stream 2 (Expansion)- Facilitate the growth and expansion of firms in Canada
  • Stream 3 (Global Investment)- Attract and retain large scale investments to Canada
  • Stream 4 (Collaboration)- Advance R&D through collaboration between universities, non-profit organizations and the private sector.

With a $1.26B budget allocated for five years, the SIF provides a good alternative to IRAP funding. It consolidates and simplifies the previous Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, Technology Demonstration Program, Automotive Innovation Fund and Automotive Supplier Innovation Program.

Contact us to today for a free, no obligation consultation to find out how the SIF can help you maximize your R&D and business growth initiatives.

Changes to the Export Market Access Program

Last week, the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) enacted a series of changes to the Export Market Access (EMA) program, which provides funding for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ontario looking to develop export sales in foreign markets. Companies that have taken advantage of this program in the past or are looking to do so in the future should review these changes to see which, if any, impact their business.

  • Previously, the EMA grant allowed applicants to apply for 2 trade shows per application, with a maximum possible claim of $30,000 (up to 50%) of eligible costs. While the maximum possible claim remains $30,000, applicants may now apply for 3 trade shows per application.
  • Applicants no longer have to wait until their first application is finalized to begin another, but can submit a second application while the first is ongoing.
  • Lifetime eligible expenses have been increased to $150,000 per applicant from $100,000.
  • Airfare costs can now be expensed prior to project approval.
  • The OCC will now cover up to $5,000 for short-term (less than one year) in-market office rental.
  • In addition to all previous eligibility requirements, applicants must have capacity to meet foreign market demand and have market-ready products to be sold in export markets.
  • There is a renewed focus on applicants having $2,000,000 commercial liability insurance and being able to submit financial statements (Notice to Reader, Review Engagement, or Full Audited) for the previous two fiscal years.
  • Previous payments were made 50% on acceptance and 50% on full reconciliation. This has been changed to 40% up front and 60% after reconciliation.

NorthBridge Consultants has experience with the EMA process and will provide the necessary guidance for your application. If you have any questions regarding these changes or any other aspect of the EMA program, contact our team of business analysts and technical writers today.

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