Federal government support

Canadian government support to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The Government of Canada places significant value on the life sciences, and has been pursuing a number of initiatives to maintain and grow this thriving sector in the areas of financing for small firms, research, commercialization of research, measures to encourage investment attraction and intellectual property. Recent measures in Budget 2016 serve to spur innovation and strengthen the industry ecosystem across Canada, with a commitment to strengthen innovation networks and clusters, and will include:

  • Brain Canada
    Up to $20 million over three years, starting in 2016–17, for the Brain Canada Foundation’s Canada Brain Research Fund, which supports competitively awarded, collaborative, multidisciplinary brain health and brain disorder research projects. Federal funding for this initiative will be matched by resources raised from other non-government partners of the Brain Canada Foundation.
  • Canada Health Infoway
    Up to $50 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to Canada Health Infoway to support short-term digital health activities in e-prescribing and telehomecare.
  • Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
    Up to $39 million over three years, starting in 2016–17, to the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement to support its ongoing efforts to identify and introduce innovations in the health care system.
  • Centre for Drug Research and Development
    Up to $32 million over two years to CDRD, starting in 2017–18, to fuel the growth of the Centre’s promising pipeline and contribute to fully reaping the benefits of Canada’s significant investments in health research.
  • Genome Canada
    Up to $237 million in 2016–17 to support the pan-Canadian activities of Genome Canada to the end of 2019–20.
  • Stem Cell Network
    Up to $12 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to support the Stem Cell Network’s research, training and outreach activities.

The Government has also been pursuing efforts to improve Canada’s business environment, including through regulatory modernization at Health Canada and through a number of initiatives to improve the broader clinical trials environment. These combined efforts will strengthen Canada’s global competitiveness, as well as highlight partnership opportunities.

Programs and initiatives targeted at industry

  • Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program
    Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, the SR&ED Tax Incentive Programis the largest single source of federal government support designed to encourage research and development in Canada. The program includes cash refunds and/or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work done in Canada.
  • Business Development Bank of Canada
    BDC supports the creation and development of Canadian businesses through financing, subordinate financing, venture capital, consulting, and securitization, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program
    NRC-IRAP provides a range of technical and business-oriented advisory services, as well as financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in research and development of technological innovations.
  • Build in Canada Innovation Program
    Created to bolster innovation in Canada’s business sector, the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) helps companies bridge the pre-commercialization gap by procuring and testing late stage innovative goods and services within the federal government before taking them to market by:
    • Awarding contracts to entrepreneurs with pre-commercial innovations through an open, transparent, competitive and fair procurement process.
    • Testing and providing feedback to these entrepreneurs on the performance of their goods or services.
    • Providing innovators with the opportunity to enter the marketplace with a successful application of their new goods and services.
    • Providing information on how to do business with the Government of Canada.

Regional economic development agencies and organizations

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
    ACOA is dedicated to the economic development of ACOA is dedicated to the economic development of Atlantic Canada. It supports enterprise and community development, policy, advocacy and coordination. ACOA puts special emphasis on initiatives that encourage productivity, commercialization, competitiveness and skills development.
  • Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
    CED provides support to small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations in Quebec. Financial assistance involves repayable and non-repayable contributions through its various programs and initiatives.
  • Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
    FedDev Ontario supports the competitiveness, innovation, and diversification of southern Ontario's economy by directing investments to businesses, not-for-profit organizations and communities; engaging in collaborative partnerships with key economic stakeholders; and advocating for the region's interests at the national level.
  • FedNor
    FedNor is the Government of Canada's regional development organization for Northern Ontario works with various partners to promote economic development, diversification and job creation and encourages sustainable, self-reliant communities in Northern Ontario.
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada
    WD works to improve the long-term economic competitiveness of the West by supporting initiatives that enhance innovation, business development and community economic development. Its annual allocation for grants and contributions supports a wide range of programs and is delivered in partnership with other levels of government.

Federal granting councils

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
    CIHR is the Government of Canada's agency responsible for funding health research in Canada supports nearly 13,000 researchers and trainees in universities, teaching hospitals and other health organizations and research centres in Canada. CIHR offers various funding opportunities directed to academic health researchers and students to facilitate the translation of knowledge and technology and support research collaboration between academia and industry. These funding opportunities include the Proof of Principle (POP) Programs and the Industry-Partnered Collaborative Research Programs.
  • National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    NSERC supports basic university research through discovery grants, project research through partnerships among post-secondary institutions, governments and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people. Three NSERC programs, with applicability to the health research area, offer funding opportunities to facilitate the translation of knowledge and technology and support research collaboration between academia and industry. These funding opportunities include:
    • Collaborative Research and Development Grants
    • Department of National Defence/NSERC Research Partnership
    • Idea to Innovation.

Other federal support to large-scale research projects and research infrastructure

  • Genome Canada
    Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate by the Government of Canada to implement a national strategy for supporting large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects. Together with its six genome centres and other partners, Genome Canada invests in and manages large-scale research projects in areas such as agriculture, environment, fisheries, forestry, health and new technology development.
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
    CFI aims to establish the nation's capacity to undertake world-class research and technology development. CFI's investments in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions enhance Canada's position in today's knowledge economy. Financial assistance involves funding up to 40% of a project's infrastructure costs which are invested in partnership with eligible institutions and their funding partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
  • Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
    The NCEs Program fosters multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral partnerships between universities, industry, government and non-governmental organizations to conduct leading edge research in strategic areas and accelerate the commercialization of innovations. Three network programs have been established under the NCE Secretariat: the original Networks of Centres of Excellence (six networks are biomedical-related); Centres of Excellence for the Commercialization of Research (fourteen networks are biomedical-related); and Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (two network is biomedical-related).
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