Offsetting costs with Government grants

Fuller Landau team • October 31, 2017

Grants can be very beneficial to the bottom line of a company, as they provide contemporaneous funding that can offset costs of upcoming innovative projects. In this article, we will review the availability of several grant programs specific to the Real Estate and Construction industry in Canada.

Applying for Government Grants

What you need to know:

  1. Virtually all grants have a capped budget, and the funding body will always receive more applications than they have funding for. Knowing when the funding is available – to ensure it aligns with the timing of your company’s projects – will increase your chances of receiving a grant. Applying for grants should be an ongoing and planned process.
  2. All government grants must be applied for well in advance of the start of the project. Applicants must be ready with sufficient planning for the projects in order to address the funding criteria. Funding will not be provided for work already completed or expenses already paid.
  3. Many grant programs favour Small- to Medium-Sized businesses (SMEs) with under 500 employees. Some programs target specific industries or geographical areas. It may be difficult to stay up-to-date on all program rules and deadlines, so businesses need to have a resource for identifying the available and relevant funding options.

Government Grants that Apply to the Real Estate & Construction Industry

Real Estate and Construction companies can take advantage of funding opportunities designed for innovation, training, marketing, export development, and capital expenditure projects, however, “green” initiatives seem to be most relevant for companies in the industry.

The main, relevant grant programs that currently provide funding include:

Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) Program

  • Offsets costs for innovative mass timber buildings with 10 or more storeys.
  • Supports activities in design development, construction drawings, monitoring costs, research associated with the use of wood, including but not limited to salaries and benefits, consulting services, travel expenses, shipping and storage, data acquisition, and technical equipment.
  • Non-repayable contributions up to 100% with a project maximum of $5 million per project.

Save on Energy

  • Rebate program based on energy savings.
  • Save On Energy Incentives for New Home Builders: $500/$1,000 for EnerGuide 83/85, and/or prescriptive measures for lighting, A/C, home automation.

Smart Cities Challenge – Canada-wide competition

  • The Smart Cities Challenge will invest $300 million to encourage cities and their most creative minds to adopt new and innovative approaches to city-building and the digitalization of urban services.

Savings by Design for Residential Builders

  • Residential home builders can receive free access to green building experts and incentives to develop and build sustainable homes.
  • This Program offers residential builders expert guidance worth up to $25,000 and energy-saving rewards of up to $100,000 to design and build homes that achieve 25 percent better energy performance than the 2012 Ontario Building Code.

Savings by Design for Commercial Builders

  • This Program supports commercial builders with expertise and performance incentives by designing sustainability into new commercial construction projects.
  • It provides up to $60,000 in incentives including an integrated design process. This support allows builders to reduce the carbon footprint of the new facility.

RunItRight Program

  • Enbridge will fund $1,000 towards a facility investigation which identifies a list of recommended operational improvements to help you strive to achieve a minimum of 5% estimated annual natural gas savings.
  • Enbridge provides an Implementation Incentive of up to $8,000 for installing the recommended operational improvements.
  • Additional funding may be provided for using Enbridge’s Energy Management Information System (EMIS) for a period of 12 months, including energy management training for building managers and staff.

General Government Grants

Other grant programs that are open to companies across all industries include:

Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) Program

  • Covers up to 2/3 of the total training costs for any third-party training program for staff. $10,000 maximum per participant.
  • Must apply at least 1-2 months before training starts.

Strategic Innovation Fund

  • Covers 50% of total project costs for company expansion and growth, R&D, and attracting and retaining large-scale investments to Canada.
  • The program has a budget of $1.26 billion over five years, available to companies of all sizes, with the objective of increasing the number of high-paying jobs and project-related revenue.

Student Work-Integrated Learning Program (SWILP)

  • Creates accessible positions for Canadian work-term students in Business Technology Management, Computer Science, and Computer Systems Technology programs by funding a portion of student wages.
  • Covers 50% up to $5,000, or $7,000 for underrepresented groups.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Experience Awards

  • A cost-sharing program that offers companies access to talented natural sciences and engineering undergrad students for a work term.
  • Provides $4,500 of funding towards new hires.

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) Youth Employment Program

  • Provides financial assistance to innovative SMEs that hire a post-secondary science, engineering, technology and trade, business, or liberal arts graduate.
  • Covers 50% of salary up to $15,000 for any new recent graduate hire under the age of 30 – funding applies to R&D or environmental-related positions only.

Export Market Access Global Expansion Program

  • A $5 million initiative designed to help SMEs increase their access to global markets.
  • Covers 50% up to $30,000 per tradeshow, fair, or exhibition outside of Canada.
  • Companies must exhibit at the tradeshow event, or have a booth to


  • A five-year, $50 million program that provides direct financial assistance to SMEs that seek to develop new export opportunities and markets.
  • Covers 50% up to $100,000 of travel, market research, tradeshow, consulting, and legal costs to enter a new market outside of Canada.

Applying for grants can be a time-consuming and complex process, and companies are advised to obtain professional guidance in order to generate the best results. Careful thought should be given to ensuring that obtaining government assistance is closely aligned to the company’s strategy. Applying for grants just to obtain “free money” is not an effective strategy. However, when a company has specific growth and expansion plans underway, government grants can be an invaluable resource for offsetting costs and maximizing cash flow.

For over thirty years, RDP Associates Inc. has helped companies in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States procure over half a billion dollars in government grants and R&D tax credits. For more information on any of the programs listed above, visit


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