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Accessing Government Funding in Canada - Page 1: Canadian Government Grants and Loans

By Sharon Monahan. President, The Business Guide Inc. |

Page 1: Canadian Government grants and loans

Whether you agree with it or not, Canadian governments, at all levels, are actively involved in the business community. Each year they award hundreds of millions of dollars to small, medium and large enterprises in the hopes of stimulating local economies, fostering economic development and creating employment.

Among the private sector there generally seems to be two schools of thought on this subject and they are indeed at opposite ends of the spectrum. There are those who take great pride in proclaiming that they have accomplished everything on their own with no help from government. Others are more than willing to use government money repeatedly to finance their ventures. These two groups do not have to be mutually exclusive. One may take great pride in his or her accomplishments and avail of government financing to bring their plans to fruition.

Having spent fourteen years with the federal government in the realm of economic development, I have developed, assessed and contracted more funding proposals than I sometimes care to remember. As a taxpayer, only you may decide whether you agree with the principle of government involvement in private industry.

As a businessperson, however, let me tell you that you are missing a tremendous opportunity if you chose not to take advantage of the literally hundreds of millions of dollars made available by governments, to the business community, each year.

I have writen a series of articles on government funding. I have not tried to convince you why government should or should not be involved in financing private sector initiatives. Trust me. As long as there are geographic disparities in employment levels, industry downturns and generally high unemployment levels, governments will continue to be involved in economic development.

Each year governments award hundreds of millions of dollars to small, medium and large enterprises in the hopes of stimulating local economies, fostering economic development and creating employment.

How successful they have been is anyone's guess. Governments have never conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis of their labour market interventions. It is reasonably safe to assume however that they have had their share of successes as well as those they would prefer to forget.

As a businessperson this can spell opportunity for you and your business.

My articles demonstrate how you can make the most of this opportunity. You'll discover how you can get the money you need to start that business you've always wanted or to proceed with that planned expansion.

Based on my years of experience in the industry, I have ascertained that most people believe getting government funding is a three-step process:

  1. Finding out what programs are available and what costs they cover.

  2. Determining the eligibility criteria; and

  3. Submitting the proposal.

Step one alone can be a nightmare because there are so many ever changing programs, that one can never be sure if they are overlooking the one program that could make all the difference. Researching them can be time consuming and confusing as the information is usually fragmented and often outdated. That's one of the reasons why I developed "The Business Guide to Government Programs" website.

Steps two and three are obvious and necessary if you hope to obtain the money you need. What is not so obvious is that there is an important step missing here, the step that will have the most influence on whether or not your funding proposal is successful. I call it step 2.5 "Determining the Assessment Criteria".

The assessment criteria is what the economic development officer (each department seems to have a different name for this person), rates your proposal against when deciding whether it is worthy of funding. It includes things such as net economic benefit analysis, competitive impact statements, viability/sustainability analysis and a myriad of other things, all of, which play an important part in the final decision regarding your proposal.

Future articles will examine these criteria in more detail, outlining what to consider when developing proposals and what buzzwords bureaucrats love to see. I think you'll find these articles informative and I believe they will help you obtain the capital you need.

If you have a question on anything contained in one of my articles, just send me an email @ I'll do what I can to further clarify.

Page 1: Canadian Government grants and loans
Page 2: First Impressions Count
Page 3: Determining the Assessment Criteria
Page 4: Determining the Assessment Criteria (Part 2)
Page 5: More Assessment Criteria
Page 6: Know Your Environment

Page 1 of 6 Next page

Author Information

If you have any questions on the above or would like to consider government funding for your initiative, contact Sharon at or visit her online at

Sharon is president of The Business Guide Incorporated. She spent fourteen years with the federal government before leaving in 1998 to start "The Business Guide To Government Programs." In addition to writing for CANADAONE her articles have also appeared Business in Vancouver's Money Guide and various newspapers from St. John's to the Yukon.

Click here to visit her bio page.

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