Research and development (R&D) funding programs

There are many different funding programs and tax incentives intended to boost research and development (R&D) in Ontario. Featured here are some of the more prominent funding programs for R&D in the province, as well as some federally available programs.
On this page, you will find the following sections:

I. Funding Programs for R&D in Ontario and Canada

II. Tax Incentives for R&D in Ontario and Canada

Visit the following Startup Library pages for more information on funding sources:

I. Funding Programs for R&D in Ontario and Canada

Listed in this section are funding programs for R&D available in Ontario as well as Federal R&D funding programs.


Incentive Programs for Business: This listing from Invest Ontario details incentive programs offered by the Ontario government for a variety of sectors, including clean energy, clean technology, life sciences and medical technologies. Many of these funds and incentives can be claimed for research and development.

Northern Innovation Program (NOHFC) – Applied Research & Technology Development Projects: The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) supports new technologies emerging from the private and public sector that will benefit the communities of Northern Ontario. With a focus on a diverse range of sectors and products, this fund is variable from project to project, providing up to 50% of eligible costs (to a maximum of $250,000) as a conditional contribution. NOHFC also offers the Industrial Research Chairs fund, for universities, colleges and research institutions partnered with private sector organizations; it funds 50% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $1 million, as a conditional contribution.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Voucher for Industry Association R&D Challenge: The Voucher for Industry Association R&D connects industry associations, groups or companies with Ontario’s publicly funded academic research institutions to tackle R&D challenges that have been identified by industry sectors as having global market potential.

Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation: Below is a list of active funds available for R&D through the Ministry of Research and Innovation:

Federal Funding Programs

Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence: These programs from the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada, funds large-scale collaborative research networks to address specific problems in a given sector.

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI): CFI was founded by the federal government in 1997 to support the R&D industry in Canada and to form a network of universities, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to connect with the private sector. CFI specifically funds infrastructure such as capital equipment and buildings. A list of funding opportunities is available on their website, along with a history of CFI-funded projects, organized by province.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR): The CIHR is a funding agency for Canadian health research. Visit their website for a list of funding opportunities.

Going Global Innovation (GGI): This is a program from the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canadian Trade Commissioner Service that aims to encourage international R&D partnerships. GGI provides startups with $5,000 to $75,000 to fund in-person discussion, meetings and related activities with global R&D partners.

Industrial R&D Fellowships: These fellowships, offered by NSERC, provide financial support to recent doctoral graduates entering research and development in the private sector. Host companies contribute a minimum of $15,000 per year towards the salary of the graduate, with the fellowship offering $30,000 per year for a period of two years.

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP): This initiative by the National Research Council Canada aims to develop technology to accelerate the commercialization of Canadian products and technology. IRAP provides financial assistance to companies at varying stages of development, including R&D.

Industry Canada – Industrial Technologies Office: Industry Canada provides this listing of available R&D funding throughout Canada, including major funding programs in Ontario.

Mitacs Funding Opportunities: Mitacs offers a variety of funding programs that encourage Canadian companies to collaborate with and hire postdoctoral fellows and graduate students for research projects in their field of study. Opportunities include the following:

    • Mitacs Elevate – This annual award consists of a research grant for a recent PhD graduate. Companies and graduates collaborate on research projects; Mitacs funds roughly half the salary for a one-year contract.
    • Mitacs-Accelerate– This program is a four-month internship for a research position. The project receives $15,000 in direct funding, with the industry partner and Mitacs each providing $7,500.

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II. Tax Incentives for R&D in Ontario and Canada

Listed in this section are tax credits available to businesses that perform scientific research and experimental development in Ontario, as well as information on the Federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program.

Ontario Tax Credits

Ontario Business Research Institute Tax Credit (OBRITC): The OBRITC is a 20% refundable tax credit for companies based in Ontario under contract with an eligible research institute and performing scientific research and development in Ontario. Eligible research institutes include Ontario universities, Ontario colleges, Hospital research institutes, OCEs and Networks of Centres of Excellence.

Ontario Innovation Tax Credit (OITC): The OITC is 10% refundable tax credit for companies, which have a permanent establishment in Ontario, perform scientific research and experimental development and are eligible to claim the investment tax credit under section 127 of the federal Income Tax Act. The maximum annual credit is $300,000.

Federal Tax Credits

Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program: The SR&ED program provides support in the form of tax credits and/or refunds to corporations, partnerships or individuals who conduct scientific research or experimental development in Canada. The site also provides specific provincial R&D eligibility requirements.

Introduction to R&D Tax Credits in Canada (Scitax, 2013) (PDF): Scitax is a tax consultancy firm based in Toronto, ON, that specializes in SR&ED tax credits. This report introduces the tax incentive landscape for R&D in Canada, and points to potential reform that may change eligibility requirements and distribution of tax credits.

R&D tax update archive (Deloitte): This is an online archive of monthly newsletters published by Deloitte, covering opportunities, issues and developments affecting federal and provincial SR&ED tax incentives.

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