Ontario programs | COVID-19: Funding and financial relief programs for startups and small businesses

Canada Publication June 2020

A detailed table outlining the various programs available in Ontario are listed below. If you would like to discuss your eligibility for any of these programs, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

OCE Market Readiness

Description Eligibility Application details
  • OCE supports early-stage companies that are raising pre-seed and seed investments (total round sizes range from $500,000 to $2 million)
  • Early-stage technology companies that are close to commercialization. Ideally, the product has been built, and there is some early market traction. Investments for the round to be used for significant milestones for a runway up to 12 months
  • For the expedited COVID-19 call for investment, up to $100,000 investment is available under the MR125 stream using OCE's standard promissory note
  • Companies that have raised less than $1 million in third-party capital (excludes friends and family) are eligible for their first MR investment
  • Incorporated for no more than five years (Ontario or Canadian for-profit incorporation) and have principal operations in Ontario
  • Currently or previously affiliated with a university, college or research hospital campus linked accelerator or incubator, in Ontario
  • Companies with their team/IP origin at a university, college, or research hospital are also eligible, even if not campus affiliated.
  • OCE will consider alternate co-investing requirements for the COVID-19 Call for Submission, up to Thursday, May 28, 2020

Ontario Together Fund

Description Eligibility Application details
  • Ontario has allocated $50 million to the Ontario Together Fund to support innovatives that assist with producing supplies or equipment, or providing critical public services, during the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Ontario is particularly seeking 3D printed Nasopharyngeal swabs that are commercial ready and small businesses to digitize and leverage e-commerce opportunities 
  • You may be eligible for the Ontario Together Fund if your submission will help you retool or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for the health care sector or if you are developing solutions for other critical public services. Not all submissions will be considered for funding. 
  • To apply for funding through the Ontario Together Fund, click here 

FedDev Ontario

Description Eligibility Application details
  • FedDev Ontario is making investments that drive innovation and growth across southern Ontario
  • Early stage businesses seeking funding can apply under one of three streams: (1) Business scale-up and Productivity, (2) Regional Innovation Ecosystem, and (3) Community Economic Development and Diversification
  • No-interest, repayable contributions from $500,000 up to $10 million per project
  • Businesses that have potential to be high growth firms with rapid scale-up are invited to apply
  • To submit an application for funding through FedDev Ontario, click here

MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund

Description Eligibility Application details
  • MaRS invests in businesses at the seed stage with investments of $500K
  • MaRS focuses on IT, Health, or Cleantech businesses with a minimum addressable market size of $100M
  • Your business must be headquartered in Ontario 
  • Your business is an early stage technology-based business that is close close to commercialization. Ideally the product has been built, and there is some early market traction. No significant revenue, assets or institutional investment 
  • Submit your application for funding here 
  • You are invited to apply when your business satisfies the eligibility criteria



Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)’s Agri-Food Open for E-Business Program

Description Eligibility Application details
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is the primary government funding program for the agri-food industry, supporting businesses with projects such as business expansion, capital equipment, and R&D. It offers many streams of funding through federal and provincial programs
  • CAP has announced an open grant opportunity for Ontario agriculture and food value-chain partners: the Agri-Food Open for E-Business program aims to support projects designed to capture online e-business opportunities that will help create new, expanded or enhanced markets and open new retail channels
  • The federal and Ontario provincial governments are investing up to $2.5M to help businesses involved in the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-products sectors expand their online presence
  • Funding is available for up to 90% of eligible costs. The maximum funding is up to $80,000 
  • Projects eligible for Ontario agriculture grants via the CAP’s Agri-Food Open for E-Business program include: domain acquisition, training key personnel on processes, website design and graphic development, marketing (e.g. Search Engine Optimization, web ads, building social media presence), piloting sales practices and systems, distribution system/model development, development, enhancement, and expansion of an online marketing/sales platform (e.g. e-business capability, website, online ordering, overall online presence), initial or start-up licensing or subscription fees up to six months, Initial development and validation of new operational processes, including creating processes for logistics of delivery through new marketing channels, shipping, delivery, fulfillment, warehousing, and related transactions, and minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project (e.g. curb side pickup for online orders)
  • Applications for the Agri-Food Open for E-Business program will be received and evaluated on a continuous basis, until funding is depleted
  • Projects under Stream 1 must be implemented and completed by November 30, 2020, and projects under Stream 2 must be implemented and completed by September 30, 2022

SOSCIP COVID-19 Response

Description Eligibility Application details
  • The SOSCIP COVID-19 Response aims to provide rapid access to high-performance computing (HPC) resources on our advanced computing platforms. Through industry-academic partnerships, compute space for collaborators committed to responding to COVID-19 will be fast-tracked, and successful applicants will be rapidly launched onto the compute systems   
  • Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis after a review of your proposed COVID-19 solution, your computing needs, your organization, and your academic industry affiliations 
  • To apply, send an email to covid.response@soscip.org and include the following information: your COVID19 solution, your compute needs, your organization, and your industry partner 

Employer Health Tax Exemption

Description Eligibility Application details
  • Temporarily increasing the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1,000,000 
  • All Ontario businesses are eligible


  • N/A

Five-Month Relief Period for Provincial Taxes

Description Eligibility Application details
  • Allowing a five-month relief period for Ontario businesses who are unable to file or remit their provincial taxes on time due to the special circumstances caused by COVID-19 in Ontario 
  • The following provincial taxes are included in the relief period: Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax, Fuel Tax, Gas Tax, Beer, Wine & Spirits Tax, Mining Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, International Fuel Tax Agreement, Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts and Benefit Plans and Race Tracks Tax 
  • The relief period does NOT include business accounts with outstanding taxes, interest or penalties owing from previous filing periods
  • All Ontario businesses are eligible
  • N/A

Deferral of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Payments

Description Eligibility Application details
  • Employers will be allowed to defer payments to the WSIB for up to six months
  • All Ontario businesses are eligible
  • N/A

Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit 

Description Eligibility Application details
  • Proposed new 10% refundable Corporate Income Tax credit for capital investments 
  • A Canadian-controlled private corporation that makes qualifying investments that become available for use on or after March 25, 2020 in specified regions of Ontario would be eligible for the tax credit  
  • All Ontario businesses are eligible
  • N/A

Relief for Remote Northern Property Taxpayers

Description Eligibility Application details
  • Ontario is giving taxpayers (individuals and businesses) in unincorporated areas more time to pay each of the four 2020 Provincial Land Tax installments 
  • Taxpayers will have 90 extra days to pay without incurring interest or penalties 
  • All Ontario businesses are eligible
  • N/A

Food and Agribusiness: Supporting Agri-Food Sector Supply Chain 

Description Eligibility Application details
  • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $1 million in new funding to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership 
  • This program would help primary agriculture, food processing companies, and grocery retail to recruit and train workers
  • All Ontario businesses are eligible if they need to be connected with agri-workers
  • N/A 

Food and Agribusiness: Agri-food e-Business

Description Eligibility Application details
  • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online 
  • The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership 
  • Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence 
  • Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects 
  • All Ontario businesses that operate in Ontario’s agri-sector are eligible
  • N/A

City of Toronto BusinessTO

Description Eligibility Application details
  • The City of Toronto has launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to provide virtual one-on-one support to Toronto businesses in all sectors, including not-for-profit, creative/cultural, manufacturing, technology, retail, hospitality, tourism, main street businesses and consulting services 
  • The centre will help businesses apply for government support programs such as: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program, Canada’s Work-Sharing Program, and Canada’s Emergency Business Account Program  
  • All businesses based in Toronto are eligible
  • N/A

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