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!

A list of the best Ontario business grants and loans funded by the Ontario Center of Excellence

  1. If you are an Ontario business thinking about applying for funding or looking for funding for a small business, look no further! There are Ontario business grants and loans for you!
  2. The Canadian government and provincial government under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford have funding opportunities and government funding programs for you.
  3. Business owners can apply for the following Canadian government grants, research and development funding and tax credits.

Ontario Business Grants

The Ontario Centre of Excellence Market Readiness Program is an Ontario business grant that aims to support academic spin-off companies, Ontario Centres of Excellence accelerators, graduates, and SmartStart Seed Fund awardees. The program provides Ontario business grants to further early-stage commercialization and support scalable business growth. It offsets a portion of project expenses related to customer creation and company-building activities

Who qualifies for Ontario business grants and what can you expect to receive?

  • Business owners can expect to receive between $125,000 up to $250,000 in Ontario grants
  • Business projects that include Customer Creation: after tech validation, funding to develop a scalable sales process or Company Building Program: sustainable business model development activities are eligible to apply
  • All Ontario SMEs incorporated within the last 5 years with < $500,000 in Customer Creation projects and < $1 million in Company Building Projects are welcome to apply

Ontario Centre of ExcellenceVoucher Program

The Ontario Centre of Excellence also has multiple voucher programs for businesses based on: 

Voucher for E-Business and Technology Adoption

  • This voucher program supports businesses that collaborate with colleges to provide support in the development of online tools to support the businesses’ market expansion and export opportunities
  • Academic institutions receive funding to allocate to help companies
  • Projects can be but are not limited to website development, online sales process, digital and social media, and customer relationship management

Voucher for Innovation and Productivity

This program provides financial support to for-profit companies collaborating with an academic partner to develop new products, services. This program is geared towards supporting the development of new export markets

Who qualifies and what can you expect to receive?

  • Business owners can receive up to 50% of project costs to a maximum of $20,000 up to $75,000
  • Eligible projects include research to develop new innovative products, processes, and services
  • It also includes projects geared towards expanding export markets

Voucher for Commercialization

This voucher provides financial support to companies attempting to commercialize innovations from Ontario Colleges and Universities as a start-up or through licensing

Who qualifies and what can you expect to receive?

  • Businesses can receive up to $50,000 up to 75% of project costs and up to 25% is provided to the applicant in cash and in-kind contributions
  • In order to be eligible applicants must be pre-recurring revenue or government investment of $250,000 or less
  • Eligible projects are business/market assessments, prototype design and develop, proof of concept demo, early customer engagement and business plan development
  • Projects can also be technology/innovation assessment, market assessment and strategy, prototype design and development, proof of concept demonstration, business, and another planned development

Ontario Business Grants and Loans for training:

Canada Ontario Job Grant (COJG)

The Canada Ontario Job Grant is a hiring and training Ontario business grant program that offers a direct wage subsidy to financially support employers who wish to train their employees further. It is applicable to small, medium, and large businesses that want to deliver short-term training to new and existing employees.

Who qualifies and what can you expect to receive?

  • Individuals, private and not-for-profit employers are eligible for this grant
  • It is applicable to all employers wishing to train their employees even one or two individuals
  • For this Ontario business grant and loan, employers must also make cash contributions, employ individuals selected for training, be licensed to operate in Ontario, be training the individual for a job based on Ontario and have adequate insurance
  • Businesses can expect to receive up to $10,000 per individual as a part of Canada Ontario Job Grant
  • Smaller businesses might be offered additional flexibility as employers with less than 100 employees may be eligible for $15,000 per individual


EVAMAX is an expert when it comes to Ontario business grants and loan applications.

Please contact EVAMAX today for any further questions about Ontario grants.

Canada’s COVID-19 Measures

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed economic challenges for Canada. People have changed ways of living. These changes come after the government ordered social distancing measures. Employees work from home to allow social distancing. Essential services have remained open.

Many businesses have changed their structure to fit stay at home order. This pandemic has also cost businesses a loss and even closure. The government has put together funds and programs to support this need.

Extra Funding

The Canadian government released a new set of funds for businesses. This includes a $250 million funding increase in the IRAP program. The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is one of many programs. The National Research Council manages this fund. This release also includes $1 billion for regional authorities.

Eligible businesses can use these funds to innovate. This financial assistance is used for purchases and labor costs. Most businesses applaud the government for their response to the pandemic. Some have complained that these funds prove insufficient for their business.

It has been difficult for the government to tailor programs to fit the needs of all businesses. The additional funding is to close this gap for small and medium enterprises.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau added,

“That is why we are taking unprecedented measures today to protect Canadian jobs. We are working in close consultation with all impacted businesses across the country to take action where it is required, and are prepared to take further targeted action as needed”

The National Research Council’s IRAP provides research and development grants to industries. These projects fuel technology innovation in Canada. The IRAP program has an annual budget of $310 million. This budget is getting an 80% boost with the extra funding released.

The Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains told Globe and Mail he hopes the extra IRAP funds will help 1,000 companies protect 10,000 jobs. He also stated, “if we need to do more, we will do more”.

IRAP Program

What is the IRAP program?

– Canada’s leading technology innovation program
– Offers funding, advisory services and industry connections to best consult on an R&D project
– Funding covers up to 80% of labour costs and 75% of subcontractor expenses.

Who is eligible?

– You must be a Canadian SME, incorporated and profit-oriented
– Have 500 or less full-time employees
– Have the objective to grow via development and innovation of products and processes

How Can Your Business Benefit?

If you are working on a qualified project, your project expenses can be covered upfront through IRAP.

EVAMAX specializes in IRAP and other funding applications. Contact EVAMAX today to see if your projects qualify!


augmented realityAugmented reality is technology that blends digital information technology, ie: sound, video, graphics and direct sensory experiences in real world surroundings and objects.  

Its like the Pokemon Go App! connected with real world information and presents an interactive world of Pokemons appearing on your sidewalk.  

This interactive form of technology is playing an increasingly critical role in healthcare. As medical professionals are constantly working to meet rising demands in healthcare services and keep up with health advancements and outbreaks. Healthcare is utilizing augmented reality hardware to treat various medical conditions, particularly neuropsychological conditions. Applications and protypes are available or in the development stage to improve conditions of autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, phobias, addiction, stress and rehabilitation. 

The AR market was worth $4B in 2018 but the falling costs of AR hardware as well as its growing value in healthcare will significantly increase its worth in the following years.  GlobalData’s ‘Virtual/ Augmented Reality in Healthcare’ forecasts a compound annual growth rate at 13%, resulting in a market value of $76B by 2030. 

Here are five ways AR is transforming the face of healthcare to provide solutions to medical challenges:  

  1. Improving access: AR directly improves the concepts of medical consultations over distances . It also guaranteeing the quality of consultations. Even in the field of surgery, AR not only assists medical professional with diagnostics but surgical procedures. Take the app Proxime, it allows complete surgical procedures to be carried out over distance, by a specialist using AR tools to guide with a colleague in real time. This increases access to surgery as medical expertise can reach more patients.  
  2. Boosting TrainingMedical professional have more accessibility and opportunity to train more and faster. AR applications such as 3D visualizations, that bring anatomical learning to life and aid nurses in master techniques to check for vital signs. A great benefit of AR as a learning toll is its highly engaging and immersive nature.  
  3. Keeping up with tech: Innovative technologies with promising health benefits are being introduced to the healthcare provision everyday. The challenge lies within adopting a product or service from its development phase and implementing it in daily medical practice. The reasons for this delay involve costs related to purchase, time for awareness, integration to systems as well as training staff. AR can fasten this process by providing remote training and product demonstrations.  
  4. Aiding Practice: AR can help healthcare practitioners with Day to Day tasks for higher accuracy and efficiencyAccuVein, an AR application helps practitioners locate veins for cannulation. Future uses of AR may include electronic medical records being automatically displayed on a device as a doctor examines consults with patients. This can also highlight immediacy that AR can bring to medical attention. 
  5. Empowering Patients: With the use of AR in healthcare, patients can have a proactive role in their own care. The EyeDecide app, for example, is on the one hand another example of a 3D anatomical visualization tool, this time demonstrating the structure of the eyeball. The app offers visual simulations of different eye conditions. Users can match simulations to any distortion they are experiencing in their own vision and the app offers a list of suggested eye specialists in their area If your business is a part of the medical equipment manufacturing industry – investing in AR Research and Development and planning its integration into your products and services is advantageous. 

If you’re looking to incorporate AR into your product line and require financial sourcing, there are numerous funding opportunities available.  

  • Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), supportsmall and medium-sized enterprises with their technology innovation advances.  
  • Superclusters 
    • British Columbia: Digital Technology  
    • Quebec: Scale Artificial Intelligence   

Do you want to know all the Innovation Grants and Incentives that your company is eligible for? Contact EVAMAX today for a no-obligation consultation.