Ontario’s economy is shifting to the global stage. This puts its rural areas in a challenging position. Local municipalities must now create an environment where many businesses could flourish. This is important as a diverse and robust economy helps them compete against urban areas in Canada and beyond.

And yet, the situation raises some questions. Is the infrastructure in rural Ontario strong enough for the changing times? Do they have the workforce and skills to sustain a more advanced economy?

Rural Ontario has specific needs that could vary from one community to another. For instance, one place may need better roads. Another could use an internet connection with high speed. Others may have an aging labor force and would benefit more from the addition of younger workers.

It would seem that there is no blanket solution to a challenge this diverse. Still, Ontario’s Rural Economic Development or RED program comes close. The RED program offers a flexible approach to economic development in rural Ontario.

What is the Rural Economic Development Program?

The RED program is a cost-sharing grant. It is designed to promote growth and development in Canada’s rural communities. It is tailor-made to meet the distinctive needs of Canadians living in remote areas.

This rural economic program can be accessed in two ways. One is the Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream. The other is the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream.

Stream 1 – EDCS

The presence of various economic sectors is vital for rural Ontario to be competitive. It is a sign that the communities are healthy enough for businesses to thrive. This, in turn, will attract more investors and skilled workers, turning into a productive economic cycle. This is the ideal scenario that the RED program is aiming for.

  • Entrepreneurship or Business Succession

Projects that support business start-ups and succession are eligible for the program. This includes coaching, mentorship, tours, introduction to retiring business owners, and similar activities.

  • Growing and Retaining the Business

Support is given to local and regional business owners to promote economic growth. This will create jobs and encourage workers and their families to stay within the communities.

  • Upkeep of Downtown Areas

Projects involved in creating and implementing development plans for traditional town centers in rural communities are entitled to financial support through the RED program.

  • Bringing in and Keeping Young Workers and Immigrants

The Rural Economic Development program supports employee-pooling, improvement of work conditions, and destination marketing. These and similar activities are designed to attract and retain people to rural communities.

  • Using Technology and Innovation to the Fullest

Digital capability and IT are essential for businesses to thrive in an advanced economy. The RED offers financial support for digital training and connectivity improvement. These are projects that help companies use technology to the fullest

Stream 2 – SEIS

This economic development program stream supports projects that promote economic development and investment in Ontario’s rural communities.

  • Saving Cultural, Heritage, and Tourist Spots

Projects involved in repairing historic buildings, tourist spots, and other attractions are eligible. These projects generate interest from investors.

  • The Repair of Community Streets and Landscapes

This RED stream supports minor capital projects that improve rural Ontario’s common areas. This includes repairing road signs, improving landscapes, and putting up Wi-Fi in public places.

  • The Repair of Vacant and Seldom-Used Buildings

Abandoned and rarely used buildings can hurt a community’s ability to attract investments. The RED program’s SEI stream is committed to supporting redevelopment projects. This includes efforts to revive vacant or seldom-used facilities.

Municipalities and groups with projects that qualify for the RED program will get funds. This fund can be used for project management. This includes fees for legal, engineering, accounting, and other professional services. The program also offers funds that can be used as minor capital. Buying of project-related software, training, and additional project-related costs are also eligible.

RED Program Funding Details

Applicants who wish to apply for the Rural Economic Development Fund must identify a preferred program stream. The EDC stream offers a provincial fund to cover 50% of eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $150,000. The SEI stream can cover 30% of qualified expenses up to a maximum of $250,000.

The computation of the cost-share funding would depend on the total amount of eligible costs as written in the application. Qualified applicants must sign a contribution agreement with the Government of Ontario. They must also accept joint responsibility for funded projects.

Projects that are already getting other provincial funds are not eligible for the RED program. However, additional grant funding from the federal government is allowed. The combined government funding must be not more than 90% of the total eligible costs.

Projects lasting several years are allowed. Their costs must be claimed each year and the total computed. The project must also demonstrate its positive impact on the community’s economy within the first year of implementation.

All projects approved under the Rural Economic Development program must be completed. The timing is indicated in the contribution agreement.

Who Are Eligible for the Grant?

Municipalities, nonprofits, local organizations, and local services boards with projects aligned to the RED program’s goals are eligible to apply for funding.

Interested parties must apply at the ontario.ca/REDprogram. They must also ask the authority to enter a contribution agreement. They must comply with the contribution agreement after the project is approved and join in any audits that may come after.

The RED program prefers projects with several applicants. They will identify a lead applicant, but the other applicants would still be responsible for the project. The lead applicant and co-applicants must all enter into the contribution agreement.

The Ontario Government is always looking for new ways to improve its rural communities’ quality of life.

If you want to learn about the RED program and other Ontario Government grant opportunities, call us now at EVAMAX.


Have you been sitting on a brilliant business idea but do not have the resources to follow through? Gaining access to the right self-employment benefit program can send you on your way to being self-employed sooner than you think.

In any case, employment security is not at its strongest with the ongoing global pandemic. Starting on your own with the right business plan could be a more viable option at this point. There are several self-employment grants Ontario residents like you could take advantage of. Although some of them can be very specific, it is best to know what opportunities are available by familiarizing yourself with some of them.

The Starter Company Program

Through this program, you can get up to $5,000 worth of financial assistance, which you can use to start a new business, buy an existing company, or expand your current business in Canada. It can also help expand your knowledge about the business you are in by giving you access to one-on-one advice, assigning a mentor to guide you, or holding workshops and seminars on a wide range of topics.

The Starter Company Plus is open to budding entrepreneurs who are 18 to 29 years old, hold Canadian citizenship, permanent residents of Ontario, and currently not attending full-time school. If you qualify, you will be asked to contribute 25% of the total grant.

The Business Acceleration Program

This Ontario self-employment program is designed to stimulate growth, development, and innovation in Ontario’s local industries. It draws funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Under this grant is the Youth Business Acceleration Program, which is open to young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 29. It offers to arm young individuals with the tools and skills needed to start and successfully run a business in the technology sector.

On top of financial support worth $5,000 to $20,000, qualified individuals will be given access to a business support network and a wealth of valuable market intelligence, putting them in the best position to succeed.

The Northern Business Opportunity Program – Small Business Startup Projects

This program aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs start a new business in northern Ontario, focusing on emerging sectors prioritized by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Qualified businesses will receive a grant amounting to 50% of all eligible costs with a limit of $200,000 in conditional contributions. This fund can be used to improve leaseholds, integrate old or new equipment, obtain third-party training programs, or for marketing activities.

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund

Entrepreneurs in eastern Ontario who want to expand or bring in more businesses to their communities can apply for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Qualified businesses will be given funds amounting to 15% of all eligible costs. Companies in rural Ontario with less than 500 employees are allowed up to $500,000 in grant funds, while foreign direct investments have a limit of $1.5 million.

The program also offers loans to cover 15% of eligible costs to a maximum of $5 million. If the qualified business meets its investment and employment targets, up to 30% of the business loan (not exceeding $500,000) may be forgiven.

The Ontario Works Self Employment Benefit Program

Ontario Works is the ideal self-employment program Ontario entrepreneurs should apply for. Through this program, qualified individuals will receive assistance in creating a sound business plan. They will also be given access to useful resources such as business contacts and 60 weeks of ongoing support, everything that an up-and-coming entrepreneur needs to start and grow a business.

The Employment Insurance Program – Special Benefits

The EI special benefits are accessible to self-employed people who own a business or control more than 40% of a corporation’s voting shares. It offers financial support amounting to 55% of your total earnings up to a maximum of $573 per week.
This stream of the EI program is intended for qualified individuals who are away on maternity leave, caring for a newborn, could not attend to business activities due to medical reasons, or caring for a critically injured or ill person.

Employed people should apply for the regular benefits as the EI special benefits are targeted at the self-employed.

Microlending for Women in Ontario Program

This program is committed to supporting women with low income who want to start a business instead. The support initially comes in the form of financial literacy training, business mentoring, and skills development. Once they are deemed business-ready, they qualify for small business loans, which can be used for a start-up.

The SmartStart Seed Fund

This program is designed to support startup businesses in Ontario’s technology and innovation sectors, including those with links to a university or college in the area. Eligible businesses will be given up to $30,000 in funding for early-stage development, provided that they find at least one other source willing to give them the same amount. Qualified businesses with no matching fund are still entitled to $5,000 in financial assistance, which can be used on skills training and support activities such as peer networks, mentoring, and other business learning opportunities.

Business Incubators Across Canada

Canada has several organizations and programs that target companies still in their infancy. With a comprehensive support system, these business incubators help ensure that start-ups survive the common pitfalls that contribute to a business’s failure.
Support from business incubators may include start-up funding, introduction to an investor, technical resources, mentorship, or anything that may help a young entrepreneur get established. On top of all the peripheral benefits, incubators can help reduce the cost of starting a small business and operating it successfully by 40% to 50%.

Find the Best Option for You

Ontario has many programs and grants that can help small and medium businesses, and some of them are geared specifically for entrepreneurs and young start-ups. If you have plans of becoming self-employed, one of these grants could be your ticket to success.

However, each self-employment benefit program can be very specific. You would need all the information you can get to boost your chances of qualifying. This is where we can help.

To learn more about your options and how to best qualify, contact us now at EVAMAX.

If your business carries research development and innovation projects, you could be missing out on innovation grants. These projects could include innovation efforts with research institutions, colleges or universities, to help develop processes or products as improved products.

The Canadian federal government, in partnership with provincial governments, offers a range of innovation grants for businesses.

Through the Innovation Fund Canada and the Innovation Center, many projects are financially supported.

Here are our top 2 picks for innovation grants Canada:

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)as an Innovation Grant

The IRAP program is Canadian government-funded and is designed to help accelerate the research and development projects within Canada. Businesses aiming for improved products are the target recipients’ for this grant. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) administers and managed this program. As a federal program that provides funding to support innovation, businesses from all provinces are eligible to apply for this grant.

What does it cover?

  • The IRAP program has a funding contribution of up to 60%-80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor expenses
  • This means you could receive up to 80% of wages paid for your projects as a grant!

How can you apply?

  • To apply, you business will be assessed to determine eligibility based on the following criteria:
    • It is an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada
    • It has 500 or fewer full-time employees
    • It plans to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative products and services
  • If your business qualifies, you will need to submit a project proposal
  • For any additional questions read here and please contact EVAMAX

Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit

  • The SR&ED Tax Credit program aims to fund research and development projects for business following their completion
  • Tax incentives are awarded to businesses that perform R&D in either refundable or non-refundable ways

What does it cover?

  • The SR&ED program covers project expenditures including wages and salaries paid out for SR&ED work, material expenses and contractor and subcontractor expenses
  • Businesses can expect to receive up to 68% of qualified expenditures back in SR&ED credits in combined federal and provincial credits
  • Processing time for tax credits typically ranges between 4-6 months and the claim must be filed within 18 months of the company’s fiscal year-end

How can you Apply?

  • Companies can apply for the SR&ED credit by completing the T661 form as a part of their T2 Corporate Tax filing
  • EVAMAX specializes in SR&ED filings and have expert advice. Contact EVAMAX today for any additional questions regarding your SR&ED application

Tips on how to make the most out of your innovation grant applications:

Prepare your documents for innovation grants!

  • Most innovation funding grant applications require supporting documentation as a part of the application or project proposals
  • The key to making these effortless is to keep a good record of official project documentation as well as drafts
  • This can be achieved by maintaining an organized record-keeping practice
  • Invoices for expenses incurred during the project should also be preserved
    • They can help you recover costs after the completion of a project and also estimate future expenses

Maintain a good time log!

  • Most grant and tax credit programs cover wages and salaries expenses incurred for the duration of the innovation project
  • The easiest way for your business to claim the correct amount is by maintaining an active time log
  • This log should track and keep a record of all R&D and innovation related work and hours put in by each employee
  • You can then use these records for your grant applications and have the logs as evidence to support your claims


Follow up on your application!

  • The best way to ensure that you receive your innovation grants is to actively follow up on your applications
  • Although all programs have various timelines, be sure to remember the check points of your application
  • If you don’t hear back as expected, follow up and ensure that all required documentation is received

Good Luck!

The Canadian Government in partnership with the National Research Council has curated the Industrial Research Assistance Program. The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program provides innovation assistance to small and medium sized businesses.

The NRC grants help build a business’ innovation capacity and take ideas their ideas to market. This program helps through financial assistanceas well as advisory services and connections to expertise in Canada.

This effort has been helping Canadian businesses grow for over 70 years.

The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Programaims to stimulate wealth creation for Canada through fostering innovation.

What is NRC IRAP?

The NRC funding program is known as Canada’s best funding programs. The NRC IRAP program offers non-repayable financial assistance that covers over 80% of salaries and 50% of contractor costs.

The IRAP program is divided into four major programs:

  1. Small Technology Innovation Projects or Accelerated Review Process
  • This program provides grants up to $50k and helps businesses fund research and development and commercialization technology projects.
  1. Mid-sized Technology Innovation Projects
  • This subprogram of the NRC IRAP provides larger grants amounting up to $10 million that are also focused on research and development, the development of new innovative products and creating original software.
  1. Youth Employment Strategy Programs
  • This subprogram offers grants of up to $30,000 between the ages of 15-30 for a 12-month work placement.
  • Businesses can apply for up to two candidates, but candidates must not be an employee at the time of application.


  1. Innovation Assistance Program
  • The most recently announced subprogram of IRAP is the Innovation Assistance Program or the IAP.
  • Businesses that were unable to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program can now apply for a wage subsidy for up to 12 weeks through the IRAP IAP Program
  • This program is not affiliated with any IRAP funding programs and is simply intended to help companies keep people employed.
  • The amount of funding is heavily dependent on the number of skilled personnel on the payroll

Who is eligible for NRC Grants?

In order to be considered for IRAP funding, your business must:

  • Be a Canadian SME, incorporated and profit-oriented
  • Have 500 or less full-time employees
  • The business applying for IRAP must have the objective to grow and generate profits through the development and commercialization of innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services, or processes in Canada.

How can you apply for NRC Funding?

  • In order to apply for IRAP, you must first contact your local IRAP ITA.
  • You can call them at 1-877-994-4727
  • The ITAs will help you understand all 7 areas of your IRAP application:
  1. Technology Project Overview
  2. Management Team & Company Skillset
  3. Financial Capability
  4. Business and Market
  5. Economic Impact
  6. High-level project plan and timeline

Although there is no deadline for your IRAP application, it is best to contact your local ITA before April 1 as your project must be carried out in the same fiscal year from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.

Please contact EVAMAX regarding any further questions about IRAP.


The COVID-19 pandemic has created tough conditions wherein the economy is suffering.

During this pandemic, some social institutions have risen to the times. They have faced the problem head-on. They have also looked to others for help.

Everybody has innovated to find solutions during this pandemic. Governments have had to innovate the right restrictions to protect others. Businesses have had to innovate their operations to fit these restrictions. Citizens have had to innovate to fit their lives to these restrictions.

This effort has brought together the government, civil society, and the private sector. The government is working with private businesses to find solutions to their problems.

Germany held its first government hosted a hackathon for the same reason. This event produced useful solutions while aiding collaboration. Hackathons have a history of providing the best solutions. They are dynamic and flexible allowing creativity. Participants gather in a common space and form teams. They then work to create a solution to the presented problem.

Currently, these hackathons are to create solutions to social challenges. People outside of the government create challenges. The City of Toronto, NASA, NSF, and UN, etc. have all used them in the past.

The German #WeVsVirus was special due to its need and scale. Typical hackathons give three months to prepare. This event came together in just four days. The social interest in the event surprised the organizers. Almost 43,000 people signed up and 26,581 participated. These numbers helped make this event the world’s largest hackathon to date.

Organizers crowdsourced problems and existing efforts. They were able to gather 1,990 problems from people and the government. After shortlisting, 42 categories separated the 809 problems. Participants had 48 hours to create their solutions. The solutions were then entered into the platform. Additionally, they also had to create a two-minute video pitch.

This contest got over 1,494 proposals. Industry experts and officials selected 197 of the best ideas. The hackathon jury then selected the 20 best projects.

The German government also supported the effort. They did this by launching a program to develop and carry out the proposed ideas.

This hackathon helped in two ways. It helped the government find solutions. But it was also helpful for participants. Mental health has been an issue during this pandemic. It has forced people to social distance themselves from each other and isolates themselves. Out of 20,000 participants, most said they felt better after working with others on this. One said, “euphoria, positive energy and persistence with which people worked, developed ideas and created innovation”. This helped bring positive energy to a hard situation.

Some of these solutions have been rushed to use. The first happened on April 10. The federal employment agency added the winning idea to its website. The ideal was a tool to help businesses and employers apply for short-term labor grants. This lets employers reduce employees’ working hours while paying them for lost earnings. Although this tool was added to the old portal, the proposed development time was short. It took only two weeks from start to finish for the tool.

Dorothee Bär is the German State Minister for Digitization. She said, “The number of the depth of solutions is impressive. We should think about using the hackathon for other problems as well”.

In Canada, the government is working with the private sector in a similar way. The government of Canada has several labor grants in place for this pandemic. The following:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy
– Work Sharing Program

are all available to Canadian businesses for support. Businesses looking for credit can access the Canada Emergency Business Account.


Like Germany, Canada too has options for governments and businesses to collaborate. The province of Ontario has the Ontario Together effort. Ontario has some of the most innovative businesses and efforts in the nation. The government has set up a website with problems they need solutions to.

On this, a business can put forward their ideas for the issues. The province has also set up a fund to develop and put the solutions to use quickly. Ontario and the entire nation are fostering innovation through this. This promotes collaboration between the private and public sectors. Together, this can help fight the pandemic.

The Government of Canada provides other support to innovation and research as well. The most common grant is the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit Program. Canada Revenue Agency holds this program with the government. It awards tax credits to companies working on research and development projects. Businesses get a part of their expenditures back in tax credits and refunds. This can be up to 65% of project costs. This can include labor, materials, and contractors.

EVAMAX specializes in SR&ED and other grant applications. Contact EVAMAX today to see if your projects qualify for any grants.

sred four part testCanada Revenue Agency, in partnership with the Canadian Government, has been working meticulously to award companies participating in Scientific Research and Experimental Development for the promotion of national innovation in Canada. This practice dates back as early as 1944, when companies could deduct 100% of their scientific research expenditures from their taxable income. Since then, through several revaluations, Canada has optimized its SR&ED credit calculation and program to ensure businesses are getting the maximum possible return for their R&D efforts. 

The SR&ED credit program provides companies and businesses the freedom to conduct research while minimizing the company’s liabilities for the research. This credit is equivalent to a portion of the R&D tax credit qualified activities a business incurs related to the specific research project at hand. These qualified expenses are more inclusive than popular belief including the likes of employee and supervisor salaries for those involved in the project, a significant amount of supplies and materials used as well as any contracted or third-party expenditure incurred in the process. 

For example, the food industry could have several projects that involve basic research, applied research or experimental development. Any of these projects including scientific or technological advancement, uncertainty or content could be applicable to this program. Other efforts such as new product, packages or development processes, technical procedures as well as improvement could also qualify for such project. Hence, this credit is not limited to any specific industry or sector if it simply abides by the following four-part test. 

A business can conduct a simple four-part test to determine their qualified R&D activity. This eligibility is in fact heavily dependent on the research and project itself. 

This four-part test can help you determine if your project qualifies for the SR&ED program: 

  1. Elimination of Uncertainty: The project must be in attempt to eliminate uncertainty about the development or improvement a product or process and cannot be a change for aesthetics solely. 
  2. Process of Experimentation: Experimentation is critical as it must be demonstrated that the alternatives have been evaluated and tested for through either modeling, simulation or systematic trial and error or through other avenues. 
  3. Technological in Nature: The research qualified for this credit program must also lie within the hard sciences, including engineering, physics, chemistry, biology or computer sciences. In other words, no matter what the end use or purpose of this research, the process and method which is being researched must be scientifically backed. 
  4. Qualified Purpose: The end goal and purpose for this project must be to improve a specific product or process resulting in higher efficiency of performance, function, reliability and or quality. 

Some qualified activities may include: 

–       Developing prototypes of new equipment or experimenting with now improved equipment 

–       Patent applications 

–       Additive equipment to improve processes 

–       Streamlining of manufacturing processes 

–       Development of software or enhancements on existing technological aids 

–       Enhancements to processes to support green initiatives and make businesses more environmentally friendly 

–       HVAC concept and design 

–       Testing of new concepts and technology 

This program provides incentives for Canadian businesses to expand their capacity and production while also contributing to the Canadian economy at minimal direct expense. The SR&ED program alone also accounts for the single largest federal government support for industrial research and development encompassing over $3 million worth of expenditures claimed. 

EVAMAX specializes in consulting firms for their SR&ED projects, preparing their SR&ED applications and follow up process right through to the credit reimbursement. Contact EVAMAX today to find out how you can take your business to the next level through the SR&ED tax credit program. 

Program Overview

– Alberta Innovates believes in the benefits of developing and commercializing new technology and knowledge-based products to Alberta’s global competitiveness.

– The Alberta Innovates has two voucher programs (Voucher Program and Micro-voucher Program) to support technology development and help small to medium-sized businesses reduce time to market and improve their competitiveness.

– These programs help subsidize the costs of service providers for the development of technologies in the mid-to-late developmental stages.

– Funding of up to $100,000 can be received to cover the costs of the following activities:

Innovation grant

Company Eligibility

– Be a for-profit SME (fewer than 500 full time employees, less than $50M annual gross revenue).

– Demonstrate the relationship between the Applicant and the Service Provider does not create a conflict of interest.

– Have a physical presence in the province of Alberta.

– Be a legal entity:

  • Incorporated in Alberta, or
  • Incorporated federally AND extra provincially registered in Alberta, or
  • A general partnership, limited partnership or limited liability partnership AND registered in Alberta

– Be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries (i.e. InnoTech Alberta, C-Fer Technologies)

Service Provider Eligibility

– At arm’s length from the applicant

– Provides services/products at reasonable market rates

– Be legally permitted to enter, remain in, and perform services in Canada during the project term

– Be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries

Project Eligibility

Voucher Program

– Have clear, critical “go/no go” milestones

– Completed within the 2-year term

– Submit to other criteria that Alberta Innovates may develop periodically

Micro-Voucher Program

– Completed within the 12-month term

– Submit to other criteria that Alberta Innovates may develop periodically

Project activities include but are not limited to the following:

– New product research and development

– Leading-edge design, engineering and prototype development

– Advanced product testing and refinement

– Patent development

– Advanced market assessments

– Other technology development activities may be considered on a case by case basis

Eligible Expenses

– Labour costs for individuals identified to be performing the service for the provider

– Materials that can be specifically identified for use in the project

– Software critical to the project

– Capital assets critical to the project (on a case by case basis)

– Other costs pre-approved by Alberta Innovates


This program offers up to $10,000 for the Micro-Voucher program and up to $100,000 in funding for the Voucher program over the course of the project.

The Micro-Voucher Program funds one service provider while the Voucher Program funds up to three service providers, and Applicants are to contribute 25% of total eligible project costs.


These programs have a continuous intake period.

For assistance in preparing your submission and to position your application for approval contact EVAMAX Group to help you with the process.