Navigating the World of IP Funding: A Guide to Canadian Government Incentive Programs
Updated: Nov 6
In the quest to improve Canada’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index, businesses can turn to multiple sources to fund their innovation and/or intellectual property (IP) initiatives upon satisfaction of eligibility requirements. This document aims to provide an overview of available incentive programs supporting IP costs as of March 2023. This list of incentive programs is not exhaustive. It is also important to note that programs are regularly updated, cancelled, or renewed.
Examples of programs directly supporting IP expenses or providing benefits related to IP
A. Federal programs:
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) – the ElevateIP Program, through which the Government of Canada has made a $90 million investment over four years, helps business accelerators and incubators (BAIs) across Canada provide startups with access to professional intellectual property supports, as well as Explore IP.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – administers a suite of programs supporting collaborations with academia, IP protection, and IP Sharing; and
National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and IP-Assist provide financial support to qualified SMEs in Canada to advance technological innovation projects, do patent research, and protect their IP.
B. Quebec programs
Revenu Quebec – DICI (Deduction for the Commercialization of Innovations in Quebec) reduces the effective tax rate on the eligible portion of a qualifying corporation’s taxable income attributable to IP assets;
Invest Quebec – Innovation Program – Component 1: Support for Innovation Projects (in French only) aims to support companies at different stages of an innovation project, foster partnerships, protect IP assets, and promote better exploitation of research results and knowledge;
Invest Quebec – PSCE (Programme de soutien à la commercialisation et à l’exportation) provides funding towards trademark registration costs in Quebec and internationally. This program is currently closed but is expected to reopen in April 2023.
Quebec's (MEIE) - PSO programs
C. Ontario programs
IP-Ontario (IPON) may subsidize the cost of IP protection and commercialization services for eligible clients and provides access to a roster of service providers that IPON clients may choose to use.
D. Alberta programs
Alberta Innovates – the Voucher Program can help finance patent development for SMEs working in collaboration with a project partner; and the Micro Voucher Program offers funding (paid directly to a service provider) for activities including patent development for novel technological solutions.
E. Manitoba programs
Innovation Growth Program assists SMEs in developing and commercializing new innovative products and processes by providing cost-sharing assistance for activities such as IP registration.
F. Prince Edward Island programs
Innovation PEI – the Innovation Fund assists businesses to bring a new product, service, or process to market by providing financial support for activities such as IP strategy and protection.
Examples of programs supporting R&D and innovation (IP creation)
Canada Revenue Agency – SR&ED tax incentives provide up to a 35% tax credit on R&D costs (plus additional credits varying between provinces);
ISED – the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) invests in innovative projects, including those that include R&D activities leading to technology transfer and commercialization of new products, processes, and services; and Global Innovation Clusters support collaborative IP-generating projects across Canada’s most promising economic clusters to accelerate growth in highly innovative industries;
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) – Provides Seed, Start-Up, and Scale-Up funding to SMEs in support of new technology development, demonstration, and commercialization; and
Canadian businesses may also access the Business Benefits Finder, a tool created by the Government of Canada to help users identify funding opportunities and other supports offered by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments.
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